Two-year project will give £600k boost to HE sector’s use of e-books
Jisc is calling on the publishers of e-books to help develop an ‘e-book observatory’ which for the first time will gather much-needed evidence on the use of a greatly under-used but potentially enormously important resource.
A recent report on e-books in the HE community found that the use of e-books has been ‘slow to develop’ in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>UK but that there was ‘considerable enthusiasm’ for e-books in higher education. It also found that a major national initiative was needed in order to stimulate the tak'The project is all about stimulating change and exploring the possibilities of e-books to make core texts available to as many students as possible.'e-up of e-books by students and stimulate the national e-books market.
The report, written by The Higher Education Consultancy Group and published in October of last year, also found that one of the major barriers to the take-up of e-books was the lack of knowledge on the part of publishers, librarians and academics of the precise ways in which e-books can be used by students.
Part of the Jisc national e-books observatory project, Jisc’s call to publishers is therefore inviting proposals for making a critical mass of e-books available for a period of two years in order to analyse in depth the use of those resources in four key subject areas – Business and Management, Medicine, Engineering and Media Studies. Funding to publishers will mitigate the risk of revenue loss caused by the possible impact on print sales.
In return Jisc is to fund a deep-log analysis study to discover the precise ways in which the core e-books made available by publishers are used. Web questionnaires will follow up this level of analysis and return a wealth of qualitative information to give a rich and invaluable picture of user behaviour. This information will in turn give publishers a considerable evidence base to help inform their decisions about the construction of e-books, their promotion to the community, to suggest how disciplinary differences might impact on their use and how universities could support their use.
This evidence base will also be of immense importance to university lecturers and librarians in their efforts to make available core reading list e-books that support HE taught course students.
Lorraine Estelle, CEO of Jisc Collections, said: ‘e-Books have enormous potential in education but the barriers to their use have in the past presented major challenges to their uptake. We think this project will address these challenges head-on and give us the information we need to make a major impact in this area. The project is all about stimulating change and exploring the possibilities of e-books to make core texts available to as many students as possible. Librarians, students and lecturers all have a lot to gain from this work, but publishers have perhaps most to gain. We look forward to their proposals and to working with them on this exciting project.’
For the invitation to tender and further information on the national e-books observatory project, please go to: Jisc e-Books project