Notes from the #Medlibs Chat

Last Thursday (August 30, 2012) the #medlibs chat on Twitter discussed issues around ebooks.  The full transcript can be found here: 

We had a few new people join us in the discussion and some lurked, and we were glad to have them.  I want to thank everyone who participated, not only was it a great chat but you all made my job as moderator easy.

So what was discussed about ebooks?

  1. Findability – Most people reported this to be a big problem.  Some are using libguides to direct people to subject books. Some are cataloging them.  Others are doing web lists (either home grown or through EBSCO or Serials Solutions).  It seems that many are doing a combination of approaches that are sort of piecemeal and as @mscully66 mentioned “it’s inefficient as all get out!”
  2. Usability – There was a bit of a disagreement whether findability impacted usability or whether usability was its own issue.  Some said if they can’t find it they can’t use it, while others like @RyloLH think “usability is it’s own issues.” Regardless of whether findability is a part of usability, everybody could agree that ebooks are not user friendly.  Many mentioned the confusing packages like Dynamed/Skyscape, user confusion over single user licensing vs unlimited access, and inability to download.  @CarolinaFan1982 believes  the download process as usage barrier, he thinks the “download process needs to be more like it is for books I get from the pub. library, relatively easy”
  3. Portability and Devices -CarolinaFan1982’s tweet segued nice to ebook portability and devices.  It seems the biggest issue was multiple platforms causing the problems.  Patrons don’t know what book is on what platform and if it can be downloaded from that platform and if so in what format.
  4. PDA (Patron Demand Acquisition) – I erroneously labeled PDA as Purchase on Demand Access (what can I say it was 9:40pm and the Cleveland Browns were playing in the background.) Lots of people mentioned they were experimenting or beginning to start trials on PDA.  I think the best tweet during this discussion was changing the name PDA to DDA. @jannabeth tweeted “DDA = demand driven acquisition. We decided PDA had too many alternate meanings!” Many of us like using DDA instead of PDA.
  5. Usage – We finally discussed usage of ebooks.  A few discussed getting the usage stats on packages but not individual titles.  There was some interest in knowing the usage stats for individual titles within the larger packages.  

All in all it was a very interesting discussion.  I want to thank @eagledawg for giving me the opportunity to moderate, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  I was just more nervous that I would forget so I set every reminder and alert possible so I could remember.   In fact I became so engrossed in the discussion that I lost my husband for a brief period of time.  Long story, but I found him again.

If participating in the #medlibs chats sounds interesting, we will be doing it again next Thursday 9/6 (and every Thursday) at 9pm est.  Join us!