Tag Archives: E-book readers

Tech Sharecase, 4 March 2011

Janey Chao, Lisa Ellis, Stephen Francoeur, Harold Gee, Joseph Hartnett, Jin Ma, Rita Ormsby, Michael Waldman, Kevin Wolff

We had a wide-ranging discussion of ebooks and ebook readers:

  • HarperCollins limiting ebook checkouts on titles in OverDrive to 26 times
  • Video by public librarians identifying HarperCollins print titles that have circulated
    HarperCollins 26+ checkouts

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/Je90XRRrruM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

  • criteria we have in mind when we are considering adding an ebook to the library collection:
    • # of simultaneous users
    • is it a license  or a purchase (with hosting fees)
  • the kinds of titles where an ebook might make sense:
    • reference books
    • heavily circulated titles (such as Malcolm X’s autobiography)
    • frequently stolen or lost titles
    • technical books
    • manuals and handbooks
    • test prep books
    • books on hot button topics
    • poetry and short story collections
    • literature anthologies
  • Sarah Glassmeyer’s blog post (“HCOD, eBook User Bill of Rights and Math“) about whether a boycott of Harper would have any noticeable affect
  • ebrary is working on a service that would let users download titles
  • Arthur’s blog post about e textbooks
  • Flatworld Knowledge
  • another CIS class will use the Kindles this spring
  • putting public domain works used in the Great Works class on a reader
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Student Demand for E-Textbook Formats

An instructor for a Winter session course has adopted a textbook that is also available from the publisher in several e-formats. I want to work with students in the course who are interested in using e-readers to learn from their experience so that we can design services to support wider adoption. I asked the 75 students who have already registered for the course the question below. So far, 54 students have responded:

I want my textbook to be (check all that apply):

1. An e-book loaded onto my iPad, SonyReader, Entourage Edge, or Kno. = 11 (20% of the respondents chose this format)

2. A PDF file that I would read on my computer or laptop. = 34 (63%)

3. An e-book loaded onto my Kindle. = 10 (19%)

4. A group of Web pages that I can access from my computer or laptop. = 27 (50%)

5. ONLY a printed, paper book. (Do not check this if you checked any of the above.) = 15 (28%)

I am disappointed that more than one-quarter of the respondents want no e-book option at all. The large number of responses in favor of PDF could indicate an interest in simply printing out out the book using the student printing allocation. I am pleased by the variety of formats that at least some students were willing to use. There is probably enough interest for us to work with the class. If that occurs I will share more information about the course and how the e-book will be used.

Update: Based on the responses to the survey the BCTC will run a test with this class to determine what technical support from us is needed for students to work with textbooks in these digital formats. We will also document their experience working with them. Today the students will receive a message from me indicating that on the first day of class they will get a code to access all the digital formats at no charge, including the ancillaries to the textbook. They will also be able to purchase a print copy of the textbook from the Baruch College bookstore or directly from the publisher at the list price.

Update: At the end of the Winter session we administered a survey to the 84 students who completed the course.  Here are the key findings:

  • One-third of the students opted to use only digital formats and reported not printing any pages from the textbook.
  • 55% of the students required no assistance with downloading and using the digital content.  The students who did require assistance rated the support from BCTC and publisher very highly.
  • Three-quarters of the students reported that this experience increased their interest in using an e-textbook in their other courses.   18% said that it  had no effect.  Several students reported that their interest decreased, but their answers to other questions indicates that they did not use the digital formats.
  • The average  number of formats used by students was 1.86 out of a possible 5 formats, including print. The highest number reported was 4.  Students used the formats for different purposes and different situations.  For example, PDF or Kindle when on a subway and or when Web access was not available.
  • Students liked: accessibility, convenience, ancillaries (flashcards, quizzes), not having to carry and risk losing a textbook, using chapters at a time, and helping the environment.
  • Students disliked: not being able to annotate, the absence of an active table of contents in one format, download time for PDF files, not being able to load onto a smartphone, and eye strain.
  • The free access to the digital files in this project contributed greatly to the positive experience.

Anticipated vs. Actual Use of Formats

Prior to the start of classes we measured interest among the students by polling them about their anticipated use of each format (see above, n=54).  We repeated that question in the exit survey (n=84) and the students’ reported use of formats is compared with their anticipated use below.

1. An e-book loaded onto my iPad, SonyReader, Entourage Edge, or Kno. = (20% anticipated vs. 5% actual)

2. A PDF file that I would read on my computer or laptop. = (63% anticipated vs. 66% actual)

3. An e-book loaded onto my Kindle. = (19% anticipated vs. 6% actual)

4. A group of Web pages that I can access from my computer or laptop. = (50% anticipated vs. 30% actual)

5. ONLY a printed, paper book. (Do not check this if you checked any of the above.) = (28% anticipated vs. 11% actual)

The publisher reported 32 downloads of the textbook in ePub format (38%) and 22 downloads of .mobi files (26%).

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Tech Sharecase, 4 June 2010

Arthur Downing, Ellen Kaufman, Robert Drzewicki, Stephen Francoeur,  Ryan Phillips

We briefly discussed Kobo, a competitor to the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. A comparison chart provided at the Kobo web site charts Kobo’s features amongst its competitors.

Information Aesthetics
We then discussed the blog Information Aesthetics. This blog seeks out and presents projects that display information and data in creative ways. Some examples discussed were information arcs, the bible cross reference visualization project and a wheel of nutrition that displays portion sizes on dinner plates.

The conversation moved towards other ways of displaying information and the tools used to do so. Microsoft was mentioned given the fact that Excel 2010 is going to incorporate Spark Lines. We then took at look at Google Motion Charts that can be used in iGoogle and Google Docs. A few of us were introduced to motion charts through Hans Rosling’s Wealth & Health of Nations Motion Chart and his TED Talk . Also shown was the Wall Street Journal’s market sector maps for stock performance.

A couple of other web sites were mentioned: 1) Many Eyes a site for sharing data visualization and 2) InfoChimps for downloading all sorts of data sets.

Also touched upon was the Netflix prize. This was a $1 million contest for accurate predictions of movie ratings based on Netflix user movie preferences. The prize was awarded last September and a new contest was announced.

The conversation then moved to the current and future state of student printing, some of the issues and possible solutions. We also discussed the use of GoogleDocs on campus.

Lastly, we talked about the Boston, MA, public media outlet WGBH’s Open Vault–their online media archive and library.  Roy Tennant’s covered Open Vault in a recent Library Journal blog entry.

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