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The state of scholarly e-books today and tomorrow: Marie Turek, Swets

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E-books play an increasingly important role in research libraries. We ask people from across the industry for their perspective on scholarly e-books today

Marie Turek, product manager, e-books and Mendeley at Swets

There can be quite a bit of variety between publishers, and restrictions in functionality vary enormously. Some suppliers have no DRM but some really restrict it. For some aggregators, DRM is almost on a title-by-title basis. While they’d like to give the illusion of one DRM for all, they are separate contracts and this might not be totally obvious to the end user.

The choice of going directly to publishers versus aggregators depends on the type of institution and the institution’s needs. If you are looking for something very specific you can get more information direct from publishers.

We have customers who do both. Some purchase through aggregators on a weekly basis, while some just use aggregators once or twice a year for bigger amounts.

Interest in patron-driven acquisition (PDA) is still regional. There is more interest in the Americas and less in Europe, for example. It’s about the demands from inside the institution; if there is no drive to change from the inside there will be is resistance to change.

In the beginning of e-books people tried to mimic the journal model but people now realise that e-books are not used in the same way. I see differences in the ways people search e-books. It’s about finding information, changing metadata and being interconnected with other tools. Discovery is very important.

We are also talking about open-source materials and how to incorporate them into the SwetsWise platform. We like open-source material. It helps get people’s feet wet. We work with some suppliers who recognise that open courseware is important and we also see its importance through Mendeley. Students would benefit from something like this as well.