Thursday, October 27, 2011

The E-Book Renaissance: Exploring the Possibilities Exposed by Digital Books, by Sue Vazakas

Baltimore, October 24-25, 2011
This conference was presented by NISO (National Information Standards Organization) and was moderated by Todd Carpenter, its managing director.

As you see on the agenda, speakers included reps from libraries, publishers, the National Federation for the Blind, and corporations.

I heard some great ideas and informative panel discussions. Here are some highlights:

Jamie LaRue, Director of Douglas County (CO) Public Libs:
  • TREND: Self-publishing. LaRue wrote a book. The publisher charged $40 per book and he made $4 per. If he had self-published, it would have sold for $9.99 and he would have made $7 per.
  • At the end of 2010, 2.7 million books were self-published. But is anyone collecting them? And are they discoverable if no one is cataloging them? Smashwords is "crosswalking metadata to MARC so that LaRue's libraries could catalog it.
  • TREND: Used E-books. Donated books help literacy -- they go to schools, churches, soldiers, etc. But you can't donate an e-book; no such thing as a "used" e-book. There needs to be a secondary market.
  • TREND: A New System. How do you *display* an e-book? Jamie is using VUfind to make books more "physical." Here are institutions who are using this.
Ideas for Being PARTNERS with:
  • Newspapers: Local news coverage is disappearing. What if a library paid a local paper to do a series of 20 stories on something like the economic situation in the county? Ref librarians would add metadata, and review and enrich the stories with sidebars or charts. Then the stories would be dual-published on a news site *and* the library's site.
  • Publishers: What if libraries put "BUY" links in their records and had the FT available?
  • Authors: [audience: we don't have time to deal with this, and authors generally can't copy-edit, etc.] LaRue: Let's pull together the traditional functions of a publisher; e.g., here's how to start writing a book, here's a list of local copy-editors, a list of local writer workshops. Then the library would catalog all of them as well as provide the FT (pubs would need to give us the files), but only *buy* the ones that sell.
It was great to hear these ideas (speaking of the future scenarios workshop that MSEL had on 10/26/11).
PANEL with Project MUSE, Temple U. Press, and Springer

  • University presses are aggregators, and are taking what the publishers give them. Right now the presses are followers, not leaders.
  • Springer recently announced a huge backfile digitization project. Back to the 1840s, many in German, other various complexities. Authors of scholarly monographs will be happy to get another shot at the marketplace.
  • Temple speaker said that their print/e- sales are 50-50% (and LaRue had said that novelist Eric Larson's sales were also 50-50%).
  • Panelists agreed that "rights" problems did affect their choice of which books to digitize; e.g., some images were hideously expensive.
  • People think it costs LESS to publish e-books, but that's only if you cut out the services (e.g., creating files, copy-editing, marketing).
  • Muse just got an $83,000 grant to do a SWOT analysis of patron-driven acquisition.
PANEL with eBrary, EBL, EBSCObooks, Ingram, JSTOR
  • The panelists discussed the complexities of discovery/metadata, standards (e.g., EPUB3, COUNTER), product development, mobile devices
  • JSTOR's e-books platform launches in June 2012, with 25 presses
  • EBL will integrate with WorldCat and update our holdings if we wish
  • JSTOR said sales show mostly fiction being used on e-devices; watch the stats carefully
  • Ingram developed an impressive e-text server, but nobody bought the books. They created an e-textbook with embedded video and marked it 75% off, but *still* no one bought it. Textbooks are being bought in print.

Important Conference Take-away's

  • Posting online is NOT publishing!
  • Good metadata INCREASE sales!
  • A college-aged girl was told by the college recruiter that "a lot of your readings will be digital, so make sure that you get a good printer!" [this statement was retweeted numerous times]
  • Neither Amazon nor B&N cares a bit about making their devices accessible. Apple does a better job, and even allows reading in Braille for the deaf-blind.
  • 30% of faculties now only recommend, not require, a textbook
  • About 47% of people would wait a year for the e-version rather than buy a hardback of any genre
I have more notes -- if you're interested, please let me know.

Better late than never: ACRL 2011

ACRL conference in Philadelphia, March 30 - April 2, 2011

Chris Patterson and I attended the ACRL conference and presented a poster entitled, "Making the Connection: Conducting Virtual Focus Groups with Distance Adult Learners." It was a success! Many people were curious to hear about how we held these focus groups with students located all over the world and how we manually analyzed the results.

I also hosted a roundtable: "Assessing Services for Non-Traditional Populations: How to Best Reach Our Users at a Distance", which included 6 participants and a lively discussion!

ACRL is always a dynamic conference and we learned a lot to take back to our colleagues.
Here are some highlights:
  • Reframing information literacy as metaliteracy
  • Focusing on Hispanic students-fastest growing population, game changers:
  • Shifting to more point of need assistance. For example, database tutorials in the database description, not on a separate tutorials page. Put in strategic places in blackboard as well.
  • Convincing students we are real- create more personalized content including intro videos, images, etc.
  • TungleMe- tool that can be used to let users schedule virtual office consultations
  • Research at one panel showed that undergrads do not think at the discipline level and therefore are not fully utilizing or noticing subject guides. They need a course name in order to make the connection.
  • Adopt a system for assessment management-organize data by outcome, not by silo (i.e. the assessment). It will then be in one place when you get the call about the value of the library for student learning.