Week 4 Beginning 11th July 2011
I (Ken) have been interviewing librarians, publishers and vendors.
Whilst the basic principles of demand driven acquisitions of ebooks have been established for some time the practice is still new to many institutions and the details of how it operates differ. Institutions use various means to 'throttle back' (insatiable?) demand--limiting, in various ways, the collection that is discoverable, moderating requests etc.

The OPAC still seems to be a (the) key discovery tool fro ebook --but there are several alternatives, -Google, the ebook platforms, publishers platforms, reading lists and of course the new generation of library Discovery tools. All use and display different metadata. Metadata is seen as important for discovery and for evaluation-has a particular role in search precision. There is a sense that Tables of contents, synopsis, chapter headings, abstracts are important in enabling users to decide whether they want/need the resource. It will be interesting to validate this with users themselves in due course, the the project timing does make this hard. Of course the ability to browse the text itself (without triggering a purchase) is a useful facility and of course PDA models may allow for such browsing.

Just as an aside I was talking to a publisher about the development of 'richer' ebooks. I have been impressed with the Faber (T S Elliot) Wasteland 'app' (it's not positioned as an ebook). I bought it after reading about it in the Sunday Times a coupel fo weeks ago. I love it. You can view the poem manuscript, view (study) notes on the text and there is a video performance of the poem. The publisher thought this kind of approach for ebooks in HE was a long way off. Apps are still very expensive to produce, they need to be cheap to the consumer (at £7.99 it's seen as an expensive app) and so need a bigger market than HE can sustain. Hmm....