HighWire Presents Findings from eBooks Librarian Survey

by | Mar 8, 2010 | 0 comments

HighWire Press, a division of the Stanford University Libraries, has released the full results of a Fall 2009 survey of librarians on their attitudes and practices related to ebooks.

The survey was conducted as part of HighWire’s ongoing exploration of the fast-growing scholarly ebook market. The results and accompanying analysis draw together the input of 138 librarians from 13 countries. The responses underscore the significant growth librarians expect in ebook acquisitions and point to their current preferences and possible trends in this evolving area.

The survey data was analyzed by Michael Newman, Stanford University’s Head Biology Librarian, and the report presents his perspective on what his librarian colleagues had to say about ebooks. The report espouses some familiar and consistent themes:

  • Simplicity and ease of use seem more important than sophisticated end-user features.
  • Users tend to discover ebooks through both the library catalog and search engines. 
  • While users prefer PDFs, format preference will likely change as technology changes.
  • DRM seems to hinder ebook use for library patrons; ability to print is essential.
  • The most popular business model for librarians is purchase with perpetual access.

In the spirit of “evidenced-based publishing,” HighWire is taking steps to test and validate assumptions about the ebooks marketplace as part of their continuing service to the HighWire community of publishers. For years, HighWire has thoughtfully produced the online versions of books and reference works alongside its extensive journals program. With the number and diversity of requests for ebook hosting growing significantly, the need for data — particularly on how ebooks are being used by researchers and scholars, and how librarians manage the collection development and acquisitions process — has never been greater.

HighWire is also conducting one-on-one interviews with students and faculty to determine their needs and expectations. Through a series of interviews, surveys and data collection activities throughout 2010, HighWire will continue to help their scholarly publisher customers understand the evolving needs of libraries and individual readers.

The full report, can be found here: http://highwire.stanford.edu/PR/HighWireEBookSurvey2010.pdf

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