Future of Reference Publishing – Panel Summary

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference John Barnes, Rolf Janke, Sue Polanka, Michael Ross, Casper Grothwohl

For those of you unable to attend the ALA Panel – The Future of Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, there is a summary of the program available on Booklist Online.

We encourage comments, questions, and discussion on the blog.

The Evolution of the Reference EBook

At ALA Annual in Anaheim ABC-CLIO hosted focus groups for academic reference librarians to discuss the changing face of electronic reference books and hear what they had to say about what they hoped to see for the future of these products.

Here are the items we discussed and the general feedback we received. We encourage all readers of the No Shelf Required blog to post comments or questions – we want to hear what you have to say too!

Is print reference still viable?
It was generally agreed that print reference is still viable. Whether or not the librarian would purchase the print version depended upon the subject of the title and if their budget prohibited purchasing the electronic version. However, nearly half of the 20 attendees said they are no longer buying print reference at all.

What comes first, the book or the eBook?
As stated above, most answered that they would purchase the eBook and not the print, so the question for them was moot. Others stated that they would be inclined to purchase an eBook version of a title prior to the release of a completed print version if subsquent updates were provided and the final print version would be available within 12 – 24 months.  The original release of the eBook version would have less content than the print, but both versions would be identical by the time of print publication.

Important Features

  • Unlimited simultaneous usage & remote access
  • Export to citation programs
  • NO plug-ins
  • Open to Google and federated searching – access to all eBook platforms through one search engine

Ordering

  • Make ordering easier by offering eBooks via the usual print distributors

Purchase vs. Subscribe
Continue reading

What do you want from us? Reference Publishers want to know.

The last question asked during the ALA panel was asked by panelist, Michael Ross from Encyclopaedia Britannica.  He wanted to know from the librarians in the audience, “what do you want from us?”

Librarians were not shy in extending several responses:

§  I need to make my purchasing decision based on reviews. So, I need to find reviews and awards information easier on a publishers site, to determine and justify my purchase decision

§  More creative pricing models – to support many sizes and needs of institutions (ie. 2 simultaneous users, own, subscribe, collections)

§  Reference sources are duplicated too much. We have dozens of articles with same information. Can you all publish unique things?

§ Consistency in search protocols across platforms – boolean, truncation, plurals, default search, etc (better yet, how about one single platform, SP)

Librarians, what else is on your wish list for reference publishers?  Place your comments here so our panelists can see them.

A View From the Top Panel at ALA

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference

Here’s a snapshot from the ALA Presentation – A View from the Top.

Left to right:

John Barnes, Gale/Cengage, Rolf Janke, Sage, Sue Polanka, WSU, Michael Ross, Britannica, Casper Grathwohl, Oxford

To start the session, each of the panelists was asked:

Will we have reference in 10-15 years?  If so, what will it look like?

Their responses were:

John Barnes – Yes, but in a different form – digital and more interactive.  The transformation is already happening. The first step is to get our collections online, which we are doing now.  This might help to ease the “if it isn’t online it doesn’t exist” philosophy of researchers

Rolf Janke – Yes, but google and other web based vendors might share the stage with us. 5 years ago google was a threat, now they are partners.

Michael Ross  – Yes, but the vocabulary will change. We won’t have collections or series, ‘search’ will become ‘find,’ and there will be more birthing of products online.  Reference will need to become unbound – in a more transparent environment that address the needs of a variety of people.

Casper Grathwohl – We are not dying, we are knowledge factories. All of us, including Wikipedia, have a place in the environment. The information is there, we need to determine how to define it and add value to it, and there is no lack of ideas on which direction to go.

Free Digital Texts (Audio, live music, and moving images too) – Internet Archive

From the Internet Archive site:  The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public. Text Archives are:  Free to read, download, print, and enjoy. Some have restrictions on bulk re-use and commercial use, please see the collection or the sponsor of a book.  By providing near-unrestricted access to these texts, we hope to encourage widespread use of texts in new contexts by people who might not have used them before. Nearly 1/2 a million texts are available for a free download, including titles from Project Gutenberg.

New report – ebook use by libraries

For purchase – new report on ebook use  by libraries.

Data in the report is based on a survey of 75 academic, public and special libraries. Data is broken out by library budget size, for US and non-US libraries and for academic and non-academic libraries. The report presents more than 300 tables of data on e-book use by libraries, as well as analysis and commentary. Librarians detail their plans on how they plan to develop their e-book collections, what they think of e-book readers and software, and which e-book aggregators and publishers appeal to them most and why

Other issues covered include: library production of e-books and collection digitization, e- book collection information literacy efforts, use of e-books in course reserves and inter- library loan, e-book pricing and inflation issues, acquisition sources and strategies for e- books and other issues of concern to libraries and book publishers.

For more information please click on:
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/product/e50cee/library_use_of_ebooks_200809

A blog discussing the news and issues surrounding eBooks, for librarians and publishers.