Ebooks and Academic Libraries: Going Backwards into the Future

Dan D’Agostino, University of Toronto Libraries, and Joanne Lombardo, TPL
Convenor: Peter Ellinger

Research shows that ebooks and traditional computer screens are a poor fit. Is it any wonder then that the latest Ithaka survey of faculty shows library ebooks as having only marginal value to their teaching and research? Meanwhile the market for trade ebooks designed to be read on dedictated ereaders and smart phones continues to explode. Could the classic “disruptive technology” scenario be at play here, with academic libraries investing heavily in a format that will soon be obsolete? Is Google planning to fill the vacuum by offering faculty and students cheap, ebook “rentals” for mobile devices?  Though it’s likely to be a bumpy ride, libraries can survive the shift to mobile devices by being more forceful with publishers, and building up our expertise on all things mobile.

Dan D’Agostino is the Social Sciences Selector at the University of Toronto Library. He has an interest in how changes in technology and user behaviour have impacted academic libraries and is an occasional contributor to the Teleread blog.

Joanne Lombardo
I have worked for TPL since beginning as a page at age 13 and have held positions at many levels of public service. Among them, I was a dedicated children’s librarian and eventually became the Collection Coordinator for Children’s Materials. As electronic resources entered the collection development arena in the late ‘80’s my interest there began to grow and I assumed my current role [as TPL collection librarian for Electronics Materials] when the City of Toronto amalgamation took place. I love the challenging, innovative aspects of the developing E-environment, and see it as a vital element in today’s librarianship.

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One Response to Ebooks and Academic Libraries: Going Backwards into the Future

  1. Pingback: Digital Odyssey : Going Mobile : Friday, June 11th, Ryerson University | Digital Odyssey 2010 : Going Mobile

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