Friday, September 10, 2010

eBooks in the Summar Library

I don't  yet have an eReader but I am considering one of the new Kindles that cost only $139.  I want this Kindle primarily for reading journal articles for research and work. When I read a novel there is nothing better than old fashioned books to throw in your bag and take to a park or a coffee shop for some quality reading time. Still, I think eBooks, just like online journal articles, will be a major part of academic research in libraries. In an article published in Library Journal Eric Hellman argues that, "the survival of libraries will depend on their ability to take advantage of ebook technologies to deliver new kinds of value." There are already a vast number of important academic books available for download through Google Books and Project Gutenberg. Will libraries find a way to collect monographs and make the text searchable?  While the eBook market has been growing to private users on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles, eBooks have not been as successful, particular in Academic Libraries. Here is an article that you might find interesting about that topic:

Publishers Join Forces to Sell E-Books to Libraries

The article argues that E-book readers are just as well suited to scholarly books as they are to the popular fiction like the latest Jane-Austen-meets-zombie literary sensation. While JSTOR and Project Muse, two well used scholarly journal databases, may be looking at providing access to digital books in the future. Let's take a look at what is available NOW! as far as eBooks through the Summar Library.
Currently we provide access to to digital books through four sources. NetLibrary is very important because we provide close to 60,000 titles through NetLibrary and the topics are the most broad. NetLibrary is a function of OCLC which is the centralized authority of online library holdings. NetLibrary is listed on our Databases A-Z page and you could search all of the content from their site. (If you are off campus you will prompted for username and password). These titles will also show up if you do a search through our catalog. In the catalog the record will look like this:

If you click on the title there will be a link to NetLibrary and again if you are off campus you will have to log in. If you have do have an eReader like a Kindle you will NOT be able to download the eBooks and are only able to read the titles using a web browser. You may however print up to 60 pages but keep in mind that you do have a printing limit. This means that the best thing to do is read the important parts of the book on your computer screen and print a few key pages or take notes. NetLibrary will allow you to cut and paste but keep in mind not to plagiarize. Here is a great guide to avoiding plagiarism provided by Purdue University.


We have far fewer titles through Ebrary, only 100 titles mostly in Education and Psychology. Ebrary's user interface is quite usable and attractive. You can access Ebrary through our databases and Ebrary titles will also appear in our online catalog. Most of Ebrary's titles are related to the education field. Ebrary allows the user to: 

  1. Conduct a search – Use simple or advanced.
  2. Open a document – Click on the title name or jacket.
  3. Explore the document – Navigate to search terms, search the document for key words, jump to relevant chapters, flip through pages.
  4. Highlight text and take notes – Create a bookshelf (if needed) to save and organize your research.
  5. Use InfoTools – Link out to other online resources to expand your research.
  6. Print pages, and copy and paste text – ebrary provides automatic citations with a URL hyperlink back to the source.
  7. Manage, archive and share research – Organize your bookshelf and email folders to peers.
Many of the same limitations that exists withe NetLibrary exists with Ebrary. The user cannot print more than 60 pages and the items cannot be downloaded to a PDF. This will create problems as more and more users wish to install academic eBooks on an eReader.  There is however a downloadable software called eBrary Reader that is accessible through the eBrary interface, just look for the blue button. This may be used on an iPad but is not compatible with a Kindle or Nook. One of the nicest functions of eBrary is the copy and paste function will automatically provide a citation for you if you paste the item into your paper. I love this, it will keep researchers safe from plagiarism and make life easier.


Ovid Resources can be found on the Databases A-Z page but then when Ovid pulls up you must select the box Books@Ovid. By finding a selection and performing a print preview one could print selections of these books to a PDF but not the entire text. Since most of the title that we hold are in the health sciences field and are highly technical most of these titles will be better used by taking notes rather than downloading the entire text anyway. We hold a limited number of eBooks through Ovid.

ATLA Historical Monographs Collection 1& 2

This collection was just added this summer and will prove to be one of the most useful resources for Christian Studies or anyone interested in theology. Provided by the American Theological Association and hosted by EBSCO "this collection presents more than 15,000 titles from 13th Century through the 1893 World Parliament of Religions. The historical time period of the collection reflects upon a time of great doctrinal, social, and organizational change. The collection includes many volumes in Aramaic, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and other languages besides English, documenting the recovery of languages used during the biblical era and provides an in-depth view of the way that interest in, and knowledge of, biblical languages emerged during the nineteenth century, an important foundation for today’s study and understanding of biblical languages. Series 2 consists of nearly 15,000 titles published from 1894 through 1923. It presents a comprehensive picture of religion in America at the turn of the century. Subjects addressed include the conflict between religion and science, the growing interest in Eastern religions and other world religions, and significant shifts in the religious identification of Americans".

There are many advantages to this powerful theological collection. Over 30,000 of searchable theological works and in my opinion EBSCO is the most functional and user friendly interface out there. It is easy to search and to use the citation functions. I also found that you can instantly download 50 pages from these text to a PDF document, making it easy to upload it to the eReader or iPad of your choice and take it home for good.


eBooks have a future in academic libraries and their use will grow. To what extent largely depends on publishers, digitizations projects and the development of user friendly software to read and make notes from the monographs. At the Summar Library we will continue to look into how eBooks can enhance the services to the scholarly community at Union.

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