Faculty in the Applied and Pure Sciences May Have Limited Experience with E-books
A Review of:
Bierman, J., Ortega, L., & Rupp-Serrano, K. (2010). E-book usage in pure and applied sciences. Science & technology libraries, 29(1-2), 69-91. https://doi.org/10.1080/01942620903579393
Objective – To determine the usage of and attitudes toward e-books among faculty in the applied and pure sciences.
Design – Online survey and in-person interviews.
Setting – A large public university in the United States.
Subjects – 11 faculty members.
Methods – Participants completed an 11-item survey covering demographic data and questions about electronic book experience and preferences. This was followed up by an in-person interview with the researchers. The interviews were structured into three sections: opening questions about e-book usage, an interactive demonstration and discussion of two preselected e-books, and final follow-up questions. Interviews followed a general script of prepared questions, but also encouraged open discussion and dialogue.
Main Results – Most participants in the study reported limited experience with e-books and only 3 of the 11 participants reported using library-purchased e-books in their research and instruction. Participants noted ease of access and searchability as key advantages of e-books. Concerns included the belief that reading and learning is more difficult on a desktop computer, as well as concerns about the stability and reliability of e-book access. Participants also felt negatively about the necessity to create a new login profile and password to access e-books. The study found no difference in the way faculty in pure and applied sciences approached e-books.
Conclusion – The authors determine that e-books will likely become more commonly used in academia. Users want e-books that are easy to use and customizable. In addition, the authors conclude that librarians need to understand their patrons’ needs as e-book users and proactively promote and market their e-book collections.
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