I recently attended an ebooks workshop focusing on developing a tool as part of KB+ which would provide ebook decision support, providing useful information on ebook platforms to support purchasing decisions and helpdesk queries. This work follows on from the ebook jisc co-design project and provided an opportunity to comment and provide feedback on this potential support tool,
From the report, anecdotal evidence, surveys etc. it was clear that the selection, provision, delivery and management of ebooks for libraries comes with a number of challenges. The ebook report refers to them as ‘pain points’ examples include being bound by DRM, inability to print, download etc. It was also interesting to hear what new challenges were beginning to rise such as how data migrates in changes of platforms, improving navigation to content etc.
The focus of this workshop related to collating the appropriate data for evaluating the available platforms. University of Hull had created a useful spreadsheet noting different criteria across a number of ebooks platforms, for example what devices is the platform compatible with, does it work with speech recognition software etc. The Northern Collaboration have also done work along the same lines, building on all this work and in discussion with other institutions the team were able to put together a prototype of a potential tool using the foundation of KB+/GOKb. This tool allowed you to either filter by category to see a list of platform that match your requirement or alternatively identify a package/platform and then view its criteria.
During the workshop there was a lot of discussion on what type of data would be useful to collect and who should be responsible for collating the data.
It was encouraging to see that the core foundations KB+ was built on, such as collaboration, sharing information and de-duplicating efforts, continues to be used in this new ebook development. There was also some positive feedback during the workshop on KB+’s approach with regards to being able to gather together common issues and talk to the publishers/vendors on behalf of the community.
I left the workshop with a better understanding of how collating and sharing this information on a national scale not only helps institutions in saving time and resource but also in terms of analysing the data and identify what improvements are needed in this landscape.