Friday, June 24, 2011

New Player on the Ebook Field

Library Journal writes that Library Ideas announced at ALA Annual 2011 that it is in entering the e-book field with Freading which is inspired by their product Freegal.  It will be based on a pay-per-use service.  This is, of course, nothing new.  It has been used by journal publishers for many years now, and yes, even by e-book vendors.  The difference is that these vendors and publishers tend to be used more in the academic libraries. 

I see the same pros and cons for the pay-per-use e-book model as the pay-per-view e-journal model.

1. It is patron driven acquisitions, and the library does not have to 'guess' what the patron wants.
2. The library is able to offer a larger catalog of titles including more esoteric titles that might not normally be available to users due to cost limitations.
3. It is a seamless transaction to the user.
4. In case of the e-books (this is a moot point with e-journals) the user does not have to wait for a title to be 'checked-in.'

1. If it is a popular title, the pay-per-use cost can exceed the actual purchase price of the title.  This would not be a cost effective method for libraries to obtain material from major fiction publishers.
2. This is a leasing model - a very short term lease.  Because of that there is no option of perpetual access.  After reading through an Overdrive contract, it does not appear that they offer perpetual access either though the titles are purchased.  There are e-books vendors such as ebrary that do offer it.  Perpetual access is continued access to a purchased title even after the subscription has expired.  This is a frequent sticking point on negotiations for e-journal subscriptions.

What would be a good model is pay-per-use with the option to purchase is the pay-per-use cost exceeds the purchase price with an option for perpetual access and ILL.  That would be ideal for libraries.  For publishers...maybe?  I am sure that I am missing both pros and cons.  Do you have any additions?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thing 1 cpd23

23 Things for Professional Development or cdp23 is a free program for the professional development of librarians.  Each week will feature one or two new 'Things' to explore.  The first week includes creating a blog post and exploring why you are participating in the program.

I am participating in the program as I am always searching for professional development opportunities.  As many librarians I am a life-long learner, and I am excited by this opportunity.  More important however is the chance to recharge myself.  The library world is changing.  I find that very exciting to be part of that.  Not all librarians feel that way.  It can be frustrating to constantly run into brick walls.  Not all change is good, nor should we change for the sake of changing, but we must keep moving forward.  We need to get past the point where people ask if there are still librarians.  Networking with others and learning new 'Things' is how I remember that these are not brick walls, but challenges which can be exciting to overcome.

There are still librarians?

I was at the doctor's office yesterday, and the doctor asked me the expected question of what do you do at work.  In the best tradition of Evie from the movie Mummy, I replied "I am a librarian."  (I did this normally without the drunken theatrics though I was sorely tempted.)  She looked at me quite surprised and (I hope) spoke before she thought, "They still have librarians?"

I do believe that my mouth fell open.  I could hear a voice in my head shrieking, "They still have librarians?  They still have LIBRARIANS?  They still HAVE LIBRARIANS?"  with each iteration becoming louder and louder.  She then twisted the knife a bit deeper and asked, "Doesn't everyone get everything from the internet?"  (Hordes of flies could have flown into my mouth at this point.)  And this is suppose to be an educated individual!  Then with a sheepish look she said, "Of course I know there are librarians.  I have friends that go to the library."  I believe that it was time to close my mouth.

She cannot be entirely to blame.  I had forgotten the Boy Scout Motto 'Be Prepared.'  The fact that I was a Girl Scout was no excuse.  I was not prepared for someone that I saw as a highly educated individual to be so woefully, well, uneducated.  Why this surprised me I do not know.  When I worked in academia, we were always have to justify the need for librarians to other faculty.  After all, why should we cut the Journal of I-must-have-to-do-my-research-and-cost-more-than-my-car when we could get rid of a librarian?  Perhaps I should have quoted the Librarian Avengers and explain why they should fall on their knees and worship us. 

Oh well, the next time I will be prepared.  For now, I am going to find a new doctor.