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HighWire Presents Findings from eBooks Librarian Survey

HighWire Presents Findings from eBooks Librarian Survey


HighWire Press, a division of the Stanford University Libraries, 
has released the full results of a Fall 2009 survey of librarians 
on their attitudes and practices related to ebooks.

The survey was conducted as part of HighWire's ongoing 
exploration of the fast-growing scholarly ebook market. The 
results and accompanying analysis draw together the input of 138 
librarians from 13 countries. The responses underscore the 
significant growth librarians expect in ebook acquisitions and 
point to their current preferences and possible trends in this 
evolving area.

The survey data was analyzed by Michael Newman, Stanford 
University's Head Biology Librarian, and the report presents his 
perspective on what his librarian colleagues had to say about 
ebooks. The report espouses some familiar and consistent themes:

- Simplicity and ease of use seem more important than 
sophisticated end-user features.
- Users tend to discover ebooks through both the library catalog 
and search engines.
- While users prefer PDFs, format preference will likely change 
as technology changes.
- DRM seems to hinder ebook use for library patrons; ability to 
print is essential.
- The most popular business model for librarians is purchase with 
perpetual access.

In the spirit of "evidenced-based publishing," HighWire is taking 
steps to test and validate assumptions about the ebooks 
marketplace as part of their continuing service to the HighWire 
community of publishers. For years, HighWire has thoughtfully 
produced the online versions of books and reference works 
alongside its extensive journals program. With the number and 
diversity of requests for ebook hosting growing significantly, 
the need for data -- particularly on how ebooks are being used by 
researchers and scholars, and how librarians manage the 
collection development and acquisitions process -- has never been 

"We don't think there's enough concrete information out there to 
advise our publishing partners as they form their strategies in 
ebook publishing," says HighWire's Director, John Sack. "Many 
have tried a number of different distribution avenues and are now 
looking to have more hands-on control of their ebooks programs. 
We are working to help them find the best means of doing that."

HighWire is also conducting one-on-one interviews with students 
and faculty to determine their needs and expectations. Through a 
series of interviews, surveys and data collection activities 
throughout 2010, HighWire will continue to help their scholarly 
publisher customers understand the evolving needs of libraries 
and individual readers.

The full report, can be found here: 

*About HighWire * http://highwire.stanford.edu
HighWire facilitates the digital dissemination of high-impact, 
peer-reviewed content. Working in partnership with independent 
scholarly publishers, societies, associations, and university 
presses, HighWire's premier ePublishing platform hosts the 
definitive electronic versions of leading journals, reference 
works, books, conference proceedings and more. Not only do 
publishers benefit from HighWire's outstanding technical 
expertise, work ethos and hands-on support services, they also 
gain the economies of scale of working in a unique collegial 
networking environment. As a not-for-profit division of Stanford 
University libraries, HighWire plays a multi-faceted role in the 
online publishing world, providing services to librarians and 
readers, as well as to its community of scholarly publishers.

Bonnie Zavon,
Public Relations
HighWire | Stanford University