User experience notes

User experience notes


Ebooks and the User Experience

Is there user demand for foreign-language ebooks? If so, which subject areas and languages?

  • Some librarians prefer buying reference books as an e-resource because they just aren’t being used physically in the library.
  • Demand also comes from management, where they aggressively want to go to more e-book dominated collections. This is a problem in the humanities where e-book adoption isn’t as popular as it is in the math and sciences.
  • Faculty often dislikes having e-books: “When I get pushback from faculty I meekly buy the print”
  • Certain faculty is print no matter what. For other people, it’s a time issue.

How does the landscape of foreign-language ebooks compare to the English-language landscape? More complex? Less complex? More or less DRM-free? Do we know?

  • Accesibiltiy not always up to US standard. E.g. Collection was OCR’d but still not accessible to our standard.
  • A huge problem is perpetual access. You don’t always have perpetual access if publisher loses right to book
  • Digitalia: “We prefer subscription model because it is easier”
  • But that still leaves problem for libraries It is an Issue for library to budget for subscriptions and pay more and more for certain content.In effect, are you always renting the content?
  • U.S. copyright law protects right to retain things we own in print, but not so much for e-books.
  • Text mining ability also critical for DH researchers–Vendors don’t always allow this.

How will frontline reference and chat problems be handled for foreign-language ebooks and platforms?

  • E-book collection diagram from UW shows complexity for users (mostly it is used by librarians to navigate permissions when answering patron questions)
  • Platforms are atrocious: interfaces not user friendly, sometimes just PDFS
  • The issue is not just “is platform good or bad?” but that all platforms are different so it is hard to get used to toggling between them.
  • Troubleshooting is hugely complex. Users are not use to this level of technical platform troubleshooting and they often give up after one or two exchanges with tech support/ref desk.
  • You can’t blame users because it’s so complicated

What could be the possible cataloging/discovery issues with foreign-language ebooks?

  • Washington University in St. Louis purchased Digitalia. Records can be downloaded, but communication can break down in acquisitions/cataloging workflow (where there might not be the requisite language expertise). Thus discovery suffers
  • In e-book collections in general. Marc records provided aren’t always good / often no subject headings. And if cataloging record language isn’t english, American libraries can’t use them.
  • Vendor perspective: It’s difficult to adapt to each change in cataloging standards and constantly be providing the right records.
  • Student worker at Miami University suggested a publicity campaign for e-resources so students would no more about them, but this was never adopted because it is a lot of work!