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Think Mobile: Ebook Collections

Lisa Thomas (L) and Holly Tomren (R)

Lisa Thomas, from Southern Connecticut State University, and Holly Tomren, from University of California, Irvine Libraries, gave a joint presentation on e-books in libraries.  Now that e-book readers have become more common people are trying to download them to their devices, with varying degrees of success.  Libraries have not moved past their old routines, requiring the user to come to the library, or declining to loan an e-book because “it is checked out”, even though it’s on their website.  Lisa and Holly have developed a poster illustrating the 6 features of e-book collections (see photo below):

Mobile E-book Considerations

Selection
Consider format, use and compatibility, mobile devices, apps and platforms, and publishers and packages.  The M-Libraries page on the Library Success blog has lots of good information.  Many devices are not set up for institutional purchasing.

Acquisition
It is difficult to implement point-of-need purchasing; best practices must be established.  Priority processing in institutions can be very slow, and many libraries are missing the opportunity to build e-book collections because of outmoded technical processing.  Libraries must find a way to purchase an e-book at the time of the user’s request and still comply with licensing agreements, which may limit the usage to only a single option.

Cataloging
Provide access points; consider record options and national standards. Identify metadata needs, and adapt the catalog display to reflect the availability of a mobile version of a title.  If your library circulates the device, consider whether each device should be shown separately in the catalog so the user will know which one is checked out.  There are no MARC codes to represent mobile devices, so locally developed codes will have to be used.

Access
It is important to understand how to access e-book collections using mobile devices.  Some devices can access much more of the e-book collection than others, which influences selection decisions.

Preservation
Be concerned about e-book preservation arrangements and share expertise about format obsolescence and data migration issues.  Consider the LOCKSS and Portico programs for preservation.  Preservation becomes important when we realize the rapid appearance and disappearance of mobile devices

Management
Teach staff and users about managing these resources over time.  Plan for advancements, and incorporate mobile into data management systems and policies (see the California Digital Library’s policy for an example).

Conclusions/Next Steps
Develop mobile collections as well as services, with the mobile reader in mind.  Know and prioritize local users’ needs.  Make sure you are considering the end user and what they can do with your collections.  Recognize that mobile is growing and even taking over.

 

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