As the Liaison Librarian for Pharmacy, I am keen to ensure that the library collection meets the needs of our Pharmacy students. However, these are large cohorts, and it is not possible to provide a copy for each student. To meet the demand for core textbooks, we have therefore invested in significantly expanding our Pharmacy e-book collection over the past few years. We have acquired an electronic version for each book on the students’ reading lists for which there is one available.
However, usage statistics have shown that these are not heavily used. In a research project that I will be carrying out in the upcoming academic year, I will investigate the barriers to e-books usage, and discuss the ways in which these may be overcome. I believe e-books offer a number of significant advantages, and I am hoping to make students more aware of them by promoting e-books and demonstrating how to make the most of them.
Did you know, for example, that you can bookmark pages, add your own notes to e-books and save them, and that you can directly copy or export the reference to your bibliography? You can also go straight into chapters and subchapters from a clickable table of contents, and you can search for words in the texts, so that you can locate that half-remembered quote much more quickly. Furthermore, most publishers allow you to download and print part of the book, and some e-books are accessible through e-book readers and other mobile devices.
And of course, you don’t have to come to the library to read an e-book – they are available off-campus as well. All e-books that the library has purchased can be found on the library catalogue, Enterprise. Narrow down your search to “access: online” and “format: book” to view all e-books that match your search.
I am interested to hear what your experiences with e-books are. Have you used them? What features did you like or dislike? How does reading an e-book compare to reading a print copy? If you haven’t used an e-book yet, are there any particular reasons why you haven’t?
Liaison Librarian for Pharmacy, Mathematics and Statistics
University of Reading Library