Multidisciplinary ebook collections notes

Multidisciplinary ebook collections notes

Foreign-language eBooks in Multidisciplinary Collection

Facilitator: Kathleen Kasten, Stony Brook University

Participants: Sam Dunlap (USC San Diego), Dick Hacken (Brigham Young University), Gordon Anderson (U of Minnesota), Ann Snoeyenbos (Project MUSE), Rebecca Malek-Wiley (Tulane), Maira Bundza (Western Michigan U), Monika Schneider (Harrassowitz), Steve Strother (EBSCO), Mara Egherman (EBSCO)

When evaluating an eBook package, is the presence of a significant number of non-English titles a pro or con to acquiring the package?

  • German and Scandinavian scholars would rather have print books
  • Who gets to evaluate or decide? Usually happens at a higher level, though liaisons weigh in.

Are there places that do a lot of research in languages other than English?

  • USC San Diego – not in European languages – focus on CJK and Latin American
  • Tulane – still interested in languages, but print preferred

Does the subject of the non-English titles matter?

  • Stony Brook – STEM focus
  • EBSCO offers collections by some topics and there are “collections” by all topics where librarians can choose from a certain list. They also offer custom collections – can ask for a specific topic in a specific language and have librarians at EBSCO who could create a collection.

In which languages are you buying the most?

  • BYU – Spanish
  • U of MN – French, but one of the changes has been pre-modern studies and now interested in pre-1800 materials, mostly in English, but buying foreign languages
  • Tulane – Spanish and Portuguese – more older materials in German
  • Stony Brook – very small German program
  • USC San Diego – bought a lot of foreign language materials in philosophy, but no longer; interest in Spanish from Spanish Civil War to present
  • Harrassowitz has materials mostly in German, but in English published in central and northern Europe

Book format

  • USC – Philosophy wanted everything from Cambridge U Press, didn’t care if print or eBook. Their request form includes format.
  • BYU – Since shelves are filling, they are moving to more eBooks. A few profs still ask for print, but encourage to get eBook.
  • Can write in approval plan profiles that e-preferred.
  • Tulane – Some departments are e-preferred, especially those that have moved away from the central campus and library is not convenient.
  • Stony Brook – Also has e-book preference, but not for other languages.

Do you purchase non-scholarly books in foreign languages as recreation content?

  • BYU – If someone asks for something fun in a language, looks up popular novels or sometimes can buy from the children’s collection budget.
  • Tulane – Courses about French popular culture needed popular novels, looked for prizewinners.

Other problems with foreign language eBooks

  • Problem with licensing with foreign publishers
  • Conference proceedings and essays would be preferable in e-format, but the licensing may be too expensive

Faculty responses to eBooks

  • U MN – still having a hard time getting many faculty engaged with the library, who don’t think of us beyond the print collection
  • USC – New faculty working with blogs and other formats like eBooks
  • Project MUSE – gets feedback that printing chapters is an “easy way of getting photocopying done”
  • Tulane – works with Classics and even the younger faculty prefer print, maybe it is the eBook interfaces that they don’t like
  • Some may order eBook for student use to save students money
  • Rewriting syllabi to use books that are owned by library in e-format – should not have to make students buy them – this was not so much about textbooks, but literature and disciplines that use multiple books
  • Tulane – Recently created a Digital Scholarship department for more engagement with faculty and students, expects this will this increase the use of eBooks.
  • BYU – Loves PDA – user decides whether they want it or not.
  • Stoney Brook – some profs asking for both – print for themselves, eBook for the students

What features do people like on eBooks?

  • Ability to print chapters
  • EBSCO – Printing chapters was the most used feature, but added downloading chapters and now that is most popular. The key is adding an easy to find button.
  • Project MUSE – When chapters are download they have a nonsense file name, so it is tedious to rename the files.


  • Is language level important in foreign language materials? People use Google Translate
  • Project MUSE – feels searching in foreign languages still not working well enough, especially with diacritics.
  • Germany can no longer can sell a print and eBook for one price – VAT is different on eBooks and print – 19% & 7% in Germany, in England 20% and 0%. An EU problem that has stymied growth in eBooks there. It is really about music recordings, but don’t understand the difference.
  • Serendipity – can’t browse the stacks with eBooks, but if we buy an eBook package with foreign language materials, people may stumble upon them.
  • Serendipity is used by faculty to complain about moving books to storage, but so few of them actually browse the collection anymore.
  • What about a large foreign language eBook package?
  • Vendors pull records from OCLC and add English language MARC records
  • Harrassowitz is providing MARC records and cataloging in English, Casalini does the same

Submitted by Maira Bundza