Tuesday, October 21, 2014

E-Books at SLCC Libraries


Electronic books now far outnumber print books at SLCC Libraries. This reversal is part of a national trend in academic libraries: a shift from owning books to leasing them. The model is similar to what subscription services like Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon offer consumers. In this case, the library is the subscriber; it pays so SLCC students, faculty, and staff can have access to resources that aren’t freely available.

Finding E-books at SLCC

E-books can be searched right from the library’s main web page in the default “One Search” box.

E-books can be read on the Library’s web site or downloaded as PDF or HTML files for viewing on a home computer, e-reader, tablet, or smart phone. SLCC Library users are prompted to set up a username and password by EBSCO after selecting the download option, but the book rental is paid for by the college.

FAQ about E-Books

Question: Do e-books have a due date or expiration?
Yes. The checkout period is 7 days but renewals are unlimited.

Question: Is there a limit to how many e-books I can download?
For a small number of e-books EBSCO limits the number of simultaneous downloads, but most have unlimited downloads.

Question: Why do I have to create a username and password with EBSCO to download an e-book onto my device?
EBSCO monitors checkouts for e-books with download limitations and also collects statistics for marketing and business development

E-books: the good, the bad, and the…

Scholarly writers praise (see article here) e-books’ unlimited capacity to include commentary, video, art, interactive maps, and links to related content.

 Instant, on demand access anywhere with an internet connection
  • Mobility and chiropractic value: one or dozens fit in your pocket
  • Searchable using keywords
  • Can be read in total darkness
  • Can be backed up to prevent loss or damage
  • Fonts can be enlarged or changed
  • Text can be read aloud for those in need
  • Non-text multimedia and widgets (image galleries, interactive models, data, video and audio files) can be embedded in the text
  • Many available for free online
  • Make it possible for authors to inexpensively publish and distribute their own work

Educators in the humanities have expressed concern (see article here) about the potential adverse effects of e-books on “deep reading” and critical reflection.

  • Require a device, and therefore electricity, to be read
  • Necesitate e-readers, which become electronic waste
  • Difficult to share, i.e., transfer from one device to another, due to copyright restrictions
  • More like rentals than actual purchases
  • Cannot be resold
  • Rarely owned and preserved by public institutions
  • Privacy: usage may be monitored or tracked by providers
  • Difficult to “mark up” with combination of graphical and textual notations
  • Pages cannot be “felt” or “smelled”
  • Do not increase in monetary value and are not collectible
  • Do not beautify your home or office

If you have decided that e-books are for you and find yourself needing a bit of help, contact a reference librarian at 801-957-4610.