Why the project?
- Short loan collections, that comprise of key course texts are always under pressure. To help relieve that pressure, librarians wish to provide electronic access to these course texts in the form of e-books.
- E-book publishers are nervous about making course texts available as e-books (free at the point of use) through the library as they do not want to cannibalize their print sales to students and lose revenue
- Working out what would be a realistic and affordable price for such e-books to be made available through the library and under what licensing terms and conditions is difficult without market research
- The ‘unknown’ was breading lots of assertions that had no evidence behind them and thus an inertia to move forward
In 2007 JISC Collections, with JISC funding, set up the Observatory project to undertake the necessary market research to help publishers, e-book aggregators and libraries make informed decisions that would be based on evidence rather than assumptions.
- To licence a collection of e-books that are highly relevant to UK HE course taught students in four discipline areas: Business and Management Studies,Engineering, Medicine,Media Studies
- To evaluate the use of the course text e-books though deep log analysis and analyse the impact of the free at the point of use course text e-books upon publisher, aggregator and library processes
- To transfer knowledge acquired in the project to publishers, aggregators and libraries to help stimulate a course text e-books market that has appropriate business and licensing models