Tag Archives: E-books

Should E-book Reissues of Long Out of Print Books Have Updated Info

An interesting story in the New York Times today discusses the e-book reissue of A.M. Rosenthal’s 1964 book on the Kitty Genovese case, Thirty-Eight WitnessesAt question is whether the e-book should include a disclaimer indicating that many of the claims made in the book have been seriously undermined by research over the years. A quote that got my attention was:

The book, which went in and out of print over the decades, also kept the case alive for generations of students studying “Genovese Syndrome,” a description of why onlookers turn away from bad events and the diffusion of responsibility.

I’m thinking that I might use this as a point of discussion in my LIB 3040 class this semester.

Kaufman, Leslie. “Releasing Old Nonfiction Books When Facts Have Changed.” The New York Times 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 31 Jan. 2013.

h/t Margaret Smith at NYU’s Bobst Library

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Tech Sharecase, 9 March 2012

Food & Technology

In celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the Oreo®, we enjoyed Oreos with our brown bag lunches. This lead to a discussion about the
technology used in manufacturing products like Oreos. The Food Network show Unwrapped was mentioned as they explore “the test kitchens and the secrets behind lunch box treats, soda pop, movie candy, and more.” We also searched the website of the reference publication How Products are Made for Oreos, to no avail. However, M&Ms®  are included in the publication.

The conversation steered toward different technologies and a UPS documentary about the company workings in Louisville, KY.  The NYPL conveyor belt system was mentioned. The following NYTimes article has a write up and includes video: “That Mighty Sorting Machine Is Certainly One for the Books.”

Coutts Oasis

We also discussed eBooks and Coutts Oasis incluidng searching publications, picking edition preference by cloth, paper and myilibrary Coutts. We also discussed the capability to add slip and e-slip plans to your Coutts profile by defning your subject area.  Users who set up this option will recieve notifications for new titles in the defined subject area.

Lastly, we named the other resources we use for making title selections including  Amazon, WorldCat, book reviews, faculty suggestions et cetera.

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Essential Reading on Dealing with the Move to Digital

The Education Advisory Board recently released an insightful and provocative slide deck from a presentation that looked at the issues academic libraries are dealing with as they work through the process of moving deeper into digital collections: Redefining the Academic Library: Managing the Migration to Digital Information Services.

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E-Textbook Use in CIS 9000

As a larger-scale follow up to the e-textbook project with the PSY 1000 class in January 2011, we arranged for the use of an e-textbook in four sections of  CIS 9000 (Information Systems for Managers) in spring 2011 (n = 182).  We followed the same procedures as the PSY 1000 project: students were offered the option of downloading any and all formats of the textbook from the publisher’s site at no cost.   Students were asked to complete the same survey instrument that we used for PSY 1000.  Below are some preliminary data and a complete report will follow.  In the discussion of e-books at the last Tech Sharecase, I heard comments that students are not ready to use e-textbooks at Baruch.  The data from last January and this spring would seem to contradict a generalization on this issue.  There are incentives (e.g., financial) that will persuade students to use an e-textbook.  Once they use one, the great majority report that the format was at least a welcome supplement to print use and in a large number of cases it was an acceptable sole format for use.

Which of the following formats of your course textbook did you use? (Multiple responses allowed)

1. An e-book that I loaded onto my iPad, SonyReader, Entourage Edge, or Kno. = 16 (9%)

2. A PDF file that I read on my computer or laptop. = 103 (57%)

3.  An e-book that I loaded onto my Kindle. = 14 (8%)

4.  A group of Web pages that I accessed from my computer or laptop. = 47 (26%)

5.  None of the above. I only used a paper copy of the book that I bought from the publisher/bookstore or printed out by myself. = 19 (10%)

Did you print all or part of the textbook from the PDF version or from the web site?

Yes = 34%

No = 66%

Based on your experience with the e-textbook in this course, how interested are you in using an e-textbook in your other courses?

1.  I am now more interested in using an e-textbook in my courses. = 64%

2.  I am now less interested in using an e-textbook in my courses. = 8%

3.  My level of interest has not changed since I took this course. = 28%

The students’ written comments on the survey are especially helpful in understanding their perception of the role for e-textbooks at this time and how the library may facilitate the adoption of e-textbooks. More to follow.

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Kevin Kelly on e-books

Kevin Kelly, author of  What Technology Wants, just posted his thoughts on “What Books Will Become” on his blog The Technium. He talks about what the book might look like (movie-books) and what form their containers might take (ebook readers that fold like newspapers).  He also muses on a future Wikipedia-like world of networked books.

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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

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  • 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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Ebooks Across CUNY

The latest issue of CUNY Matters (spring 2011) has a story featuring ebook initiatives at Lehman, John Jay, and Baruch.

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Tech Sharecase, 18 February 2011

Frank Donnelly, Stephen Francoeur, Ellen Kaufman, Rita Ormsby, Ryan Phillips, Linda Rath

How Much Information
We watched this video featuring Martin Hilbert, a researcher at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism who recently co-published a paper in Science that estimated how much information we can store and compute. We also listed to an interview with Hilbert that was done on the journal’s podcast. The overwhelming scale of information available can be seen in this press release’s overview of the paper’s findings:

Looking at both digital memory and analog devices, the researchers calculate that humankind is able to store at least 295 exabytes of information. (Yes, that’s a number with 20 zeroes in it.)

Put another way, if a single star is a bit of information, that’s a galaxy of information for every person in the world. But it’s still less than 1 percent of the information stored in all the DNA molecules of a human being.

2002 could be considered the beginning of the digital age, the first year worldwide digital storage capacity overtook total analog capacity. As of 2007, almost 94 percent of our memory is in digital form.

In 2007, humankind successfully sent 1.9 zettabytes of information through broadcast technology such as televisions and GPS. That’s equivalent to every person in the world reading 174 newspapers every day.

On two-way communications technology, such as cell phones, humankind shared 65 exabytes of information through telecommunications in 2007, the equivalent of every person in the world communicating the contents of six newspapers every day.

In 2007, all the general-purpose computers in the world computed 6.4 x 10^18 instructions per second, in the same general order of magnitude as the number of nerve impulses executed by a single human brain. Doing these instructions by hand would take 2,200 times the period since the Big Bang.

From 1986 to 2007, the period of time examined in the study, worldwide computing capacity grew 58 percent a year, 10 times faster than the United States’ gross domestic product.

Telecommunications grew 28 percent annually and storage capacity grew 23 percent a year.

We also took a quick look back at a well known study from 2003 by Peter Lyman and Hal Varian about how much information existed.

Art Project
We took a spin through Art Project, a new service from Google that uses its Street View technology to map out the interiors of art museums around the world (such as the Frick Collection) and that lets you zoom in incredibly close to art in those institutions (see, for example, Rembrandt’s “The Nightwatch” at the Rijksmuseum).

We talked about who owns copyright for works of art held in museum after reading this copyright notice on the FAQ page for the Art Project website:

Why are some areas or specific paintings in the museum Street View imagery blurred?

Some of the paintings and features captured with Street View were required to be blurred by the museums for reasons pertaining to copyrights.

We talked briefly about patron-driven acquisition of ebooks and about how services like Portico will allow us to access ebook content that we’ve licensed even if the provider goes out of business. Since Mike Waldman was unable to attend today’s Tech Sharecase, we agreed to hold off until a later meeting any discussion of the criteria that a librarian might use when deciding which format to purchase a specific book: ebook vs. hardcover vs. paper.

We took a look at how book records in the catalog for Johns Hopkins University connect to various web services that enhance the information normally available in a record: a search box for Amazon’s Search Inside the Book service, links to ebook versions that are freely available at Hathi Trust, Google Books, and much more. These enhanced records are powered by a piece of open source middleware called Umlaut.

A second edition of Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment was also a subject of discussion, as the author, David Bordwell, was selling the PDF directly after the university press that published the first edition let the book go out of print.

We poked around in SSRN, a repository of papers in the social sciences, to see how it ranked Baruch among other business schools whose faculty have contributed oft-downloaded papers.

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Where Are Ebooks Leading Us?

While many of us have been looking at this ebook service or that ebook reader, I think it’s worth taking the long view sometimes of what paths ebooks may be leading us down. The not so sunny path that some foresee is best detailed in Eric Hellman’s post, “2010 Summary: Libraries are Still Screwed.”

In his post, Hellman points to a provocative presentation (available in a pair of videos on YouTube) by Eli Neuburger of the Ann Arbor District Library that was given at last year’s online conference, Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point. If you don’t have time to read the post by Hellman, at least watch the two videos (embedded below).

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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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