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Jay Bhatt: Informing Library Users About Availability of Individual Online Books

:: Jay Bhatt at Drexel posted the following on a number of discussion groups this morning:

On a recent post in ELDNET-L, Kate Thomes posted an interesting question on ebooks. My question more deals with how do we inform our users about their online availability. More specifically single individual online reference works such as the Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering.

Issue 1:

Users normally go to their university's electronic resources web page and then access electronic books such as engnetbase, knovel, etc. Each ebook within these colllections is most likely linked in the online catalog. Since collections such Knovel and ENGnetBASE are also linked from eresources page, users may access them directly without going to the online catalog.

My question is: Do users take advantage of the online catalog to find ebooks? How do we increase their usage so that it is easier to make renewal decision? It is impractical to include a growing collection individual ebooks in eresources pages such as http://www.library.drexel.edu/resources/engineer.html where we can try to have a separate page listing each individual encyclopedia, for example. It is time consuming and labor intensive on the other users have a tendency to go through alphabetical listing of long ejournal title lists and accessing the title they want.

Recently, I posted tips to our students and faculty on how to find individual online handbooks and encyclopedias.

For example,

Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology [electronic resource] / executive editor, Jacqueline I. Kroschwitz ; editor, Mary Howe-Grant
Encyclopedia of polymer science and technology [electronic resource] / editorial board, Herman F. Mark ... [et al.] ; editor-in-chief, Jacqueline I. Kroschwitz.

Issue 2:

Collection such as Referex from elsevier does not have a separate link to access; users will need to go to engineering village2 and then find a tab for ebook search. The tab does not include the name Referex. This sometimes is very confusing to students. How do they know that 'ebook search' refers to 'Referex'?

I still have not received a satisfactory answer from any vendors in terms of what books they are making available online. Please refer to Randy Reichardt's blog entrya nd then go to http://www.montague.com/review/knovel.htm
item #5 (Engineering information productivity tools)

For example, Wiley publishes number of print and electronic books. What percent of those print books are also available online? What percent of all elsevier books are available in Referex? We get books through our approval plan and I need to check each every book to make sure it is not available online. If available online, I do not want to add print copy in most cases. I have not found many duplicates so far.

I will really appreciate any feedback on this.



Jay Bhatt
Information Services Librarian (Engineering)
Hagerty Library, Drexel University
TEL 215-895-1873
FAX 215-895-2070
EMAIL bhattjj AT drexel DOT edu

Engineering Assistance page:

Engineering Resources Blog

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