E-books in Academic Libraries: Challenges for Discovery and Access

Walters, William H.
June 2013
Serials Review;Jun2013, Vol. 39 Issue 2, p97
Academic Journal
Abstract: This paper examines the recent literature on the presentation of e-books in college and university libraries, focusing on three mechanisms for discovery and access: e-book vendors' interfaces, library catalogs (OPACs), and resource discovery tools (RDTs). If libraries rely on vendors' interfaces, patrons must search on multiple platforms, many of which have limited and idiosyncratic search mechanisms. The most common strategy for discovery and access—including e-books in the library catalog—brings its own set of challenges, including limited availability of records, lack of standardization, difficulties managing the addition and removal of titles, and the generally low quality of vendor-supplied records. Likewise, libraries that use resource discovery tools face another set of difficulties: incomplete coverage, reliance on metadata from external sources, problems with subject headings and authority control, difficulties with guest-user access, and continuing dependence on vendors' platforms for access to full text.


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