Posted by: bluesyemre | July 20, 2013

Influence of Discovery Search Tools on Science and Engineering e-books Usage

e-book concept

What impact do discovery tools have on the use of science and engineering e-book collections? This collaborative study compares usage data at four Canadian academic libraries (McGill University, University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University and University of Toronto) to determine whether or not discovery tools, such as Summon or WorldCat Local, increase usage of science and engineering e-books. The paper, presented at the Engineering Libraries Division of the American Society for Engineering Education conference last month, evaluates usage of major science and engineering e-book packages such as Wiley Online Library, Synthesis Digital Library, Springer Link, Knovel and Books 24×7. Findings are mixed and show that there are large variations in use by institution due to local implementation decisions, changes to discovery tools over time and other factors. However, it also seems that full-text indexing of e-book collections (e.g. Wiley and Springer) correlates with higher e-book usage.

This leads us to the following recommendations for e-book vendors:

  • make e-books full-text indexable so they better “compete for space” in discovery engine results that have vast amounts of articles;
  • provide COUNTER-compliant statistics so libraries can make evidence-based comparisons. Since library budgets are tight, having statistical data readily available may mean the difference between a resource being renewed or discontinued.

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