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RE: $1million at U Texas/Austin on E-Books?

Dennis Dillon sends the following message:

Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 19:34:20 -0600
From: Dennis Dillon <dillon@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu>
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: $1million at U Texas/Austin on E-Books?

The actual quote from the New York Times (Print: 12/09/99 page C1 -- or on
the web at
is a bit more accurate: "With a $1 million budget for digital materials,
the University of Texas is preparing to increase it's 6,000-title
collection of digital books."

The University of Texas at Austin partcipates in two netLibrary consortia;
one through AMIGOS in which we currently share access to 6,000 titles
along with approximately 60 other public, community college, and
univerisity libraries in the Southwest; and The University of Texas System
composed of 9 academic institutions and 6 medical/health institutions
which has subitted 3 orders to netLibrary -- one for 503 titles, one for
179 titles and one for 28 titles.

The University of Texas System consortium has also purchased access to
Early English books Online - 96,000 titles covering most of the printed
materials published in the English language from 1475 to 1700, and the
Past Master's Philospohy texts from Intelex.

The UT-Austin library web site is pretty busy, receiving over 7 million
visitors a month this year and while the student/faculty usage of e-books
is definately not in the same league as as their usage of Academic
Universe or Dow Jones, it is higher than we had expected - especially
since we do not yet have our e-book titles in the OPAC and have not yet
done any promotion..  We are taking a wait and see attitude in regard to
e-books, but we have been pleasantly surprised at the usage to date, which
is heavier than we would have predicted.

We are not ready to draw any conclusions about e-books yet, but our
statistics tell us that these books are receiving a surprising amount of
usage.  We don't know who is using the books or why -- all we are sure of
is that this is something new for us -- and that it seems to be attracting
a surprising amount of attention from users, librarians, and publishers
(my first three calls the morning the NY Times article came out were from
publshers wanting more information). j Based on early results, we are
indeed considering the purchase more e-books -- especially in those areas
that support the University of Texas System distance education efforts.  
The combined efforts of the Texas System libraries to meet the needs of
these students may be seen at:
<http://www.lib.utsystem.edu/telecampus.html>, while information on The
University of Texas Telecampus itself may be found at:

If anyone wants more information on any of these efforts, please give me a
call, send e-mail, come by the UT-Austin library when you're at Midwinter,
Austin is just up the road -- or even drop by my house and we can talk
about it over a beer (as long as it's Lone Star).

--Dennis Dillon
Collections and inforamtion Resources
The University of Texas at Austin
Fax 512/405-4347
Ann Okerson wrote:

> According to the New York Times (12/09/99) and Edupage (12/10/99) citing
> the NY Times, the University of Texas at Austin is soon to spend $1million
> on licensing electronic books.  We didn't know there were that many to
> be licensed out there, do dear readers, do tell us what sources exist
> apart from netLibrary.com?
> The Moderators
> ____________________
> Although skepticism remains as to whether readers will embrace
> digital books, interest in the electronic format is growing, with
> young people leading the trend.  The University of Texas at
> Austin plans to spend $1 million to increase its current
> collection of 6,000 electronic books.  Students are checking out
> the university's digital books at astonishing rates, says
> librarian Dennis Dillon.  "Usually a book has a one-third chance
> of being checked out," Dillon says.  "So to have some title
> checked out 25 times in two months--that's shocking."  Companies
> such as Microsoft are preparing for a wave of digital reading,
> predicting that electronic books will overtake print books within
> 10 years.  Meanwhile, traditional publishers such as Random House
> are skeptical about the new format but are still moving to
> digitize all of their titles.  Startups such as netLibrary, which
> sells electronic books to libraries, are working to draw readers
> by offering a large selection of titles.  However, in order to
> get publishers to sell titles, these companies need to prove that
> sufficient demand exists for the digital format.
> (New York Times 12/09/00)