Best practices for integrating e-books in academic libraries

Über academic librarian, Denise Koufogiannakis, from the University of Alberta Library, has started a new collections information blog: Last week, while reading Husted et al on e-books in health libraries, I came across this literature review on e-books:

Blummer B, Kenton J. Best practices for integrating e-books in academic libraries: a literature review from 2005 to present. Collection Management. 2012;37(2):65-97.

  • The article examines the literature from 2005 to present and best practices for acquiring, cataloguing, maintaining and promoting e-books; academic library practices include implementing trials, considering institutional requirements, providing e-books in library catalogues, monitoring usage and utilizing the library web site for promotion
  • Clearly, Library Journal’s 2011 survey testifies to e-books’ popularity in academic libraries
  • While e-books are popular for quick lookup….deep reading remains “print focused”;  students using e-books suggest that libraries are engaging in a “forced adoption”
  • Surveys at University of Illinois reveal students prefer print but see advantages of e; College of Mount St. Joseph indicates more than half (50%) opt for print when available (Gregory 2008)
  • Other research confirms strong preference for print for “reading whole book or extensive sections” (Foote& Rupp-Serrano 2010) due to a “lack of e-book ease of use; incompatibilty; unrealistic pricing, restrictive access; limited discovery; interlibrary lending options”
  • Ithaka faculty survey concluded a majority of 3,000+ respondents (faculty, students) did not use e-books for research or teaching (Schonfeld and Housewright 2010, 23)
  • “…it remains essential librarians adopt best practices in acquiring, cataloging, maintaining, and promoting e-books to foster their integration and use in library collections. Librarians should also seek to enhance the attraction of these resources to users by lobbying e-book providers for changes in the design and delivery of these resources…”
  • Many of the researchers concluded that e-books would not replace print books but would offer new research tools for the academic environment


  1. Miller R. Dramatic growth: LJ’s second annual ebook survey. Library Journal.  October 2011
  2. Taylor A. E-books from MyiLibrary at the University of Worcester: a case study. Program: Electronic Library & Information Systems. 2007;41(3): 217–226.
  3. Shelburne WA. E-book usage in an academic library: user attitudes and behaviors. Library Collections, Acquisitions, & Technical Services. 2009;33(2–3):59–72.
  4. Gregory CL. But I want a real book: an investigation of undergraduates’ usage and attitudes toward electronic books. Reference & User Services Quarterly. 2008;47(3):266–273.
  5. Foote JD, Rupp-Serrano K. Exploring e-book usage among faculty and graduate students in the geosciences: results of a small survey and focus group approach. Science & Technology Libraries. 2010;29(3): 216–234.

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