Bibliotheek Gedrags- en Maatschappijwetenschappen

Library of Behavioural and Social Sciences

The E-book working group held five meetings during 2011. The main purpose of the meetings was to share knowledge and inform each other about the various aspects of online e-books.

The following points were discussed at the meetings:

  • Orientation on the various e-book platforms: A distinction is made between publisher platforms and DRM platforms.
  • Our preference is to order e-books on the publisher platforms, because there are hardly any restrictions in terms of print and download facilities. We order individual titles from a number of publisher platforms: (Cambridge Books Online); Elsevier e-books (Science Direct); Wiley/Blackwell e-books (Wiley Online Library); Walter De Gruyter e-books (De Gruyter Reference Global).
  • The DRM platforms (DRM = Digital Rights Management) all have specific conditions relating to price, multiple simultaneous users, readability and the permitted number of pages that can be printed and downloaded. We order books from DRM platforms if they are not (yet) available from the publisher platform (ebrary, MyiLibrary). A separate group of DRM platforms uses the credit-point system, whereby a certain number of credit points is paid for a book – usually one point per day. The advantage of this model is that more than one user can consult the book at the same time (EBL, Dawsonera).
  • The advantages and disadvantages of each platform have been thoroughly assessed. This information is essential in order to select the most appropriate platform for the required books. It should be emphasized that we prefer to order from a publisher platform, but if the title is not available we order it from a DRM platform.
  • The ordering procedure for e-books: the advantages and disadvantages of the platform types and experiences with ordering e-books were discussed in detail.
  • EBL and its possibilities. One of the meetings focused on EBL. Each book purchased has 325 credit points per year. A one-day loan costs one point per borrower. The books can be borrowed by more than one reader at the same time. The book can be read online and downloaded as a PDF file. EBL offers the option of PDA (patron-driven acquisition). If required, the full EBL list is made available to patrons, and the collection is built on the basis of their borrowing history and suggestions for acquisitions. We were allowed to make use of this option by way of a trial.
  • Trial with handhelds at the Faculty of Behavioural & Social Sciences: In order to assess user experiences with handhelds (devices for reading e-books), a trial is being prepared at the Faculty. Experiences with downloadable books from EBL will be an important aspect of the trial, in addition to experiences with books in PDF format from other publishers.

Which other subjects are included in the programme?

  • Drawing up an overview of characteristics of various platforms and posting it on BINT, the Library intranet.
  • In connection with the previous point: how to inform users in an effective and efficient way about the possibilities offered by the platforms.
  • Appoint a focus group for e-book use to deal in greater depth with the various aspects of the user experience.
  • Develop the trial with PDA, preferably with a publisher platform such as Brill, Cambridge or Springer. Several scenarios are possible, but this basically involves the publisher making an e-book list available for a specified period. The most-used books from the list will ultimately be purchased for a pre-agreed sum.
  • Evaluation of e-book use with the help of usage statistics.
  • Trials with new packages/platforms.
  • What are the experiences with e-book packages for which we hold a licence? (including Brill Classical Studies, ebrary History & Political Science, Palgrave Connect Political & International Studies, Oxford Handbooks, Cambridge Companions, Thieme e-book Library).

Alie Bijker