Evaluating packages notes

Evaluating and selecting E-Book collections.
Moderator: Heidi Madden


A list of 46 e-book collections was presented by the moderator, Heidi Madden, as a starting point for the discussion. Link to the list (and comments) on Google Docs provided at end of document.

Moderator presentation:

“eBook colleciton is defined as containing current scholarly monographs on an eBook platform provided by European or international vendors (excluding subscription digital libraries of primary sources, such as Early European Books Online, or authors’ works in a set of series); resources with a membership model, like HathiTrust; Public Domain digital libraries, like Gallica, or Open Access platforms, like the Directory of Open Access Books.” Some collections have been bought up by others (Routledge now part of Taylor&Francis), but most are separate.

The starting questions were presented by the moderator, followed by discussion.

  • What tools do you use to find and research new eBook collections? CRL E-desiderata is a helpful selection took, but it only covers a very small slice. Spreadsheets could be a starting point for selectors in building assessment of e-books. ProjectMuse Books is integrated with approval plans.
  • What is the role of eBook collections in your collection development policies? Do you use e-books for DDA (for example: Wiley DDA with 20000 e-books)? Ebook vendors would often only contact Acquisitions (vs. selector), so selectors need to understand what Acquisitions are doing and work closely together. Evaluating the package differs from firm orders for print. Eresources evaluation often done in conjunction with print resources, and coordinated with users, as the content is important. At some institutions, DDA is used for e-books (buy if clicked by patron). Some institutions rely on ProQuest tools for DDA acquisitions “one-on-one”. With DDA, “money goes fast”, depending on budgeting system, i.e. budget can be a consideration.
  • Does your library have a policy for “renting” (i.e. paying a yearly fee with continously refreshed content; where older content disappears and is replaced with new content) versus buying eBooks? No for most participants; these decisions are made by Head of Acquisitions, not individual selectors. Some rent eBooks which cover current contents (Global Affairs). Rent might be an option for libraries with no approval plans. It was noted that renting requires notification of package upgrades. Heidi noted that in the big list, not all vendors allow firm orders or rent. In the list, Numérique Premium (#30) is a new platform that allows rent of e-books; however, there is no interaction between print (from publisher vendors) and e-books.
  • Does your library usually get a price based on FTE, or based on actual number of users (based on enrollment and faculty/student/staff count)? No discussion.
  • Does your library receive e-books on approval? Usually, there are no approval plans for eBooks, as these packages tend to be multidisciplinary. Acquisitions do not know what’s coming in these packages. There is some pressure to spend year-end leftover. Practice varies by faculty: faculty requests for reference and linguistic materials, as well as multiple-use resources (class assignments, literary criticism) are sometimes received on approval.

General Discussion:

Most eBook collections are separate, though some have been bought up by others (Routledge now a member of T&F group). Eresources ease of use varies by vendor (pdf vs. smoother formats). Package size varies: Wiley Online Library front list offers about 200,000 titles, and some institutions blocked the print for titles received as eBooks. Primary consortia participation is explored. Some libraries have e-preferred acquisitions. Collection development can be seen as disrupted (no orders on slip), and its future uncertain, especially as administrators may not encourage spending time on cd. From the publisher’s perspective, it would be helpful to know what is driving the market for eBooks. A publisher’s representative pointed out that libraries are now asking vendors for suggestions on publications in the humanities. Some participants saw eBook bundles as beneficial, allowing a library to go “straight from zero to thousands”, offering a good selection for a range of subjects; at the same time, the intended audience for packages is not often clearly defined. Other participants pointed out that eBook packages had similarities to e-journal bundles thad led to the “serials crisis” (selectors loss of control over selection and pricing, and publisher charging increasingly high prices). ILL is also a concern: what are the implications for eBooks when it comes to ILL, who would have the copy to loan?

Facilitator follow-up: List of databases on Google Docs.

“Do you have additions for the list below? Send additions or comments to heidi.madden@duke.edu “

Submitted by Lana Soglasnova