Understanding and Measuring Ebook Packages: Purchasing Patterns and Usage

by | Nov 9, 2018 | 0 comments

Weijing Yuan, Eva Jurcyk, John Vickery

(L-R) Weijing Yuan, Eva Jurcyk, John Vickery

Weijing Yuan, Head, Licensing and eResource Acquisitions, University of Toronto, said that the University of Toronto is building a comprehensive monograph collection and transitioning from print to electronic, which is taking a long time. They wanted to know how users choose between print and electronic when both are offered.

Print to Electronic Transition

They bought a large collection of eBooks from Taylor & Francis. and gave subject selection staff the ability to decide whether to continue to purchase titles in print. Here are some of the criteria they used:

Selection criteria

Eva Jurcyk, Electronic Resources Librarian, University of Toronto, discussed the questions asked of selectors. The number of titles purchased in print has declined from 2198 in 2014 to 772 in 2017. Some subjects had a sharp reduction because selectors in those areas were more aggressive in reducing the number of purchases. Others had lesser declines. Some subject areas circulate very well in print because eBooks are inadequate for them: users may prefer print because they need the visuals (i.e. architecture). Economics, history, business, and literature had low print usage. Modest usage of print collection should not suggest they are not being used by the community. Only ~12% of books were used in both print and electronic format. In general, the selectors are doing a good job. The data was useful in making necessary adjustments.

Limitations of this study:Limitations

Lessons learned

Next steps

John Vickery, Analytics Coordinator and Collections & Research Librarian for Social Sciences, North Carolina State University Libraries, showed Python code samples that generate reports of data on Elsevier eBook packages purchased at North Carolina State. The code is available on GitHub—click here. The goal of this work is to analyze usage at the package level to inform future updating decisions.

Don Hawkins blogs about conferences for Information Today and Against The Grain. He also maintains the Conference Calendar on the Information Today website and is the Editor of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage, published by Information Today in 2013, and Co-Editor of Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits, published by Information Today in 2016. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked in the information industry for over 45 years.

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