Planning for semester two

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Time waits for no-one and working at an academic institution we started planning for semester two while semester one was just beginning.

For those of us working on the Books Right Here Right Now project (#BRHRN), this meant that in October 2014 we were already thinking about additional pilot projects that would run from January 2015.

There were three main drivers for this:

  • To gather further evidence to support project recommendations, particularly in terms of student usage of the e-books
  • To maintain the visibility and impetus of the project
  • To offer pilots as a potential “carrot” to schools and individual academics as part of our wider academic consultations

Once funding was secured from the Library’s content budget, the process of identifying suitable titles began.

To add more value to the project and broaden our evidence base, we decided that candidates for participation in semester two pilots would need to be either a school or discipline – or publisher – that we had not already worked with in previous pilots.

Interestingly, it appears that the increased visibility and momentum of our project has led to some encouraging developments in terms of the Library’s negotiations with publishers. Publishers are no doubt seeing our involvement in student text acquisition as another potential revenue source, while we believe that academics are becoming increasingly aware of the role and value of the Library in this area through our ongoing programme of academic engagement.

As a result, publishers who were previously unwilling to work with us are starting to come on board and we are having more success in terms of negotiating new pricing models. We are also beginning to be included in discussions about potential deals that previously involved only the schools and publishers.

As a result of all this activity, the following developments are taking place in semester two:

  • We are running nine additional pilots, providing approximately 2000 more of our students with their own e-book
  • Disciplines newly involved in the pilots include Nursing, Physics, Materials and Chemical Engineering
  • All but one of the pilots are using the VitalSource platform to provide the text directly through Blackboard, the students’ virtual learning environment

We will be studying the usage figures closely and collecting feedback from students and academic staff in a number of ways. As with the semester one pilots, we’ll report back on how things are going here… so keep your eyes peeled for updates!

photo credit: calendar clock via photopin (license)

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