Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ebooks are Here...

There is always a lot of talk about ebooks in libraries.  My biggest frustration has been the restrictions if its DRM (Digital Rights Movement) or the one copy - one patron checkout model pushed by many librarians themselves. My litmus test for ebooks is they come with the least restrictions possible.

The most common model is one patron - one copy that is used by the OverDrive service. This type of system makes little sense to me. If I have a physical book at 567.76 there is no other copy for me to loan out, but that is not the case with an ebook, each use is technically another copy. A system like OverDrive which has ebooks but over 200 patron holds made little sense.

Follett, where we purchase our print books, has two different models for ebooks; single use and unlimited.  Single use is very much like OverDrive with their one patron - one copy model. The big problem for Schenk in this regard is what if you wanted to use the ebook for instructional purposes. What if you wanted to teach with the book, and also have students with their own copy on a netbook. The single use model would require us to purchase a copy for each potential user which could get very expensive and difficult to predict.

Last year I began purchasing Follett's unlimited (multi-user and simultaneous access) ebooks. This will allow multiple teachers or students at Schenk to access a particular ebook at the same time. If you are logged on you can add notes and create highlights which will be saved in your Library Catalog account not the book itself.  In fact, if you search for ebooks in the library catalog all you have to do is click the title and select Read the Book in the upper right hand corner.

All of the Unlimited books from Follett are non-fiction focused. This follows nicely with the greater emphasis MMSD is putting on non-fiction. The books will be able to be read on the lab computers, projectors, netbooks, and IPads.

As a side note, all teacher logins have been changed for consistency. The Library Catalog log on is now the same as Novell and Gmail. The password information in the video is out of date.