Friday, June 10, 2011

Hidden Treasures: Electronic Books at UDC, part 1

The UDC Learning Resources Division has over 120,000 electronic book titles available. This figure represents the equivalent of about 25% of our print collection – and yet not a single one of these will be seen on our shelves! What kinds of books does this include? What are the benefits compared to a print book? How can you find and use them? These questions will be answered here in a two-part feature.

First, some definitions: these electronic books are viewable on your computer screen via a web browser. In many cases, they are not downloadable and must be read online through a live Internet connection. Like other LRD electronic resources, they are accessible for UDC users from anywhere with the Internet. In the future, we may see the option of checking out books from these collections onto personal e-readers (Nook, Kindle, iPad, etc.). If this is something that interests you, please contact me.

Benefits: Why are we collecting more and more electronic books? We do this so that faculty and students have improved access to important resources. Traditional print books can only be checked out during library hours and some titles (such as reference books) cannot leave the library at all. With an Internet connection and your activated UDC library card, our electronic books are available anywhere, anytime.

Finding information inside books is also easier. Print books might contain a table of contents and a single index of selected terms. With electronic books, you can search the complete full-text – and at the provider’s website you can search full-text across that collection, meaning in all the e-books we hold from that provider. In some ways it’s like having one single index that covers thousands of books. When you search, you won’t have to go to the page and hunt for where your term appears. Your search term will be highlighted and you can easily go to the previous and next occurrence of it in the book.

Electronic books have other advantages, too. Visually impaired patrons may benefit from the text-to-speech capability that e-books provide.

Collections: UDC has electronic books from many providers: Ebrary, EBSCO (formerly NetLibrary), Gale, Project Gutenberg, and more. Virtually every subject area is represented. We also have multi-volume reference works such as The Oxford English Dictionary  and Encyclopedia Britannica and reference suites from CQ Press and Salem Press. The powerful Credo Reference is a digital library of over 500 reference works, all cross-searchable.

Electronic books are added frequently, and sometimes unexpectedly. Just a few days ago, the National Academies Press  (a previous blog) made all of their publications – over 4,000 titles – freely available as downloadable PDF documents. With just a flick of a switch, these materials were all added to the UDC library. We also add the home page of the collections to our A to Z Resource List.

Now that you are aware of the size and scope of our electronic book holdings, you will want to check in next week when we cover how to discover and access these materials.

1 comment:

  1. Now that you are acquainted of the admeasurement and ambit of our cyberbanking book holdings, you will wish to analysis in next anniversary if we awning how to ascertain and admission these materials.

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