Monthly Archives: July 2015

Ebooks 2015: etextbooks, elearning, econtent

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The Ebooks 2015 conference was held at University College London (UCL) in May 2015 and featured talks from academic libraries, JISC and publishers, with case studies from both the UK and USA.

A number of speakers addressed the issue of universities and libraries producing their own e-textbooks,some of which came about through JISC-funded projects. Roger Tritton, interim Head of Projects at JISC Collections, outlined the advantages that e-books bring to universities in helping to address the key issues of reusability, accessibility, interoperability and durability.

Sarah Lippincott, Program Manager of the Library Publishing Coalition in the States, has been tracking similar developments in the USA, while Kate Pitcher from the State University of New York at Geneseo presented a case study for Open SUNY Textbooks.

Other interesting examples of e-book developments included the partnership between Proquest and Cengage Australia, in which the initial pilot made seven e-textbooks available and was so successful that Cengage released another 20 titles in 2015, including many first runs.

Andrejs Alferovs, Managing Director of Kortext, presented on “Widening Access to Digital Textbooks”, looking at how teachers and learners are using digital textbooks online or via download. He showed how various tools can enhance the experience of reading to note-taking and how the creative use of content and platforms will evolve to enhance interaction. He also demonstrated the ways in which e-book usage data can help understand learning processes and inform teaching practice.

Slides from all of the presentations are available on the UCL website.

Lisa Wood, University of Manchester Library

photo credit: Main Building via photopin (license)

Literature review findings: Discovery

This blog entry focuses on the findings of our literature review research, as discussed in an earlier post. The results of this research theme revealed some major benefits to students and academics at institutions using reading list systems, not least that the core principles of information literacy (to scope, gather, present and evaluate information) can all be demonstrated within a reading list. At some institutions reading list systems have been connected to a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and the VLE has become be the place where students go to get everything they need for their academic study.

This has been well-received by academics who state that such integration increases students’ engagement with their course reading. At the same time, it is also apparent that some reading lists are not realising their full potential, often because they are not being kept up to date by academics who believe the effort involved in maintaining reading lists is disproportionate to the benefits they bring to students.