As a medical librarian with limited time and money I can’t really attend the ALA annual meeting or the midwinter one. So I was quite excited to see that they were going to have a technology wrap up webinar. The webinar was yesterday and while I watched it I tried to tweet some of the things that might have been of interest to medical librarians.
I tried to keep up but I got a little side tracked when they started talking about new things with ILS companies and while I was able to follow ebook discussion, the concept of what 3M was doing with ebooks went right by me too. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on my faulty memory or tweets. The archive of the ALA Midwinter Tech Wrap Up is available at http://bit.ly/zFic6Q, it is about 1 hour long. For those of you who are interested in the slides only you can view them at http://bit.ly/wD9xeg (scroll down and click on each presenter to view their slides).
The things I found the most interesting…
I did find the MediaSurfer to be a really cool and interesting way to distribute library loaded iPads. Of course that was until I learned that the basic tower was $25,000, and that price DIDN’T include the iPads. Yea. Cheers. Thanks a lot. Moving on.
Big discussion about ebooks and lending and distributing them. Most discussions on vendors were geared towards public and some academic library companies, which is natural. I learned that EBSCO will not be charging any fees for their ebooks. According to Sue Polanka of No Shelf Required, EBSCO will not charge markups, set up fees, annual hosting, platform, access or maintenance fees, no Adobe Content Server subscription fees, no download fees and no fee for MARC records.
What was disconcerting as well as interesting was Sue’s discussion about ebook statistics. OverDrive reported in 2011 that they had 99 million visitors, 35 million check outs and 17 million holds. Ok at first glance you see impressive statistics for ebooks. But what Sue pointed out is that out of the 99 million visitors on 35 million and 17 million found books they wanted. Basically only about half of their visitors found the ebooks they wanted to either check them out or put a hold on them. Technically that number is probably less than half because some of those 17 million holds are also checkouts. When you look at the fact that only one half to one third of visitors found an ebook they were looking for (AND they are ebook distributor…these people are coming looking for ebooks) then that is kind of crummy.
That leads us right into Library Journal’s Patron Profiles from January 2012 which found that while ebook usage increased from 18% to 25% a whopping 23% were unsuccessfull download the book (so they didn’t check it out) and another 44% were unsuccessfull because the content was unavailable. There has got to be more availabe titles for these people and it has to get much easier for them to use.
The lack of ebook titles and ease of downloading is not a surprise and I think it is even worse in the medical library field. It seems that medical textbook publishers were once the innovators of ebooks, getting content online way before Kindle was a glimmer in Amazon’s eye. The books could be accessed online from a laptop or desktop and were nice to use when you were too far away from the library or the library was closed. However, medical text publishered were slow to move on from that distribution method and now are playing catch up.
It was a very good webinar to learn about new and emerging things in libraries even if it was a little slanted to the public and academic side of things. I highly recommend watching the archive to see if anything they mention might be of interest in your medical library.