A study on student and staff awareness, acceptance and usage of e-books at two Queensland universities

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Borchert, Martin
Hunter, Alison
Macdonald, Debby
Tittel, Clare
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Emma Waygood


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Sydney, Australia


Aims Previous research on e-books has generally focused on business models and content delivery. This investigation, sponsored by the Queensland University Librarians Office of Cooperation (QULOC) aims to verify the quantitative and qualitative aspects of client awareness (or non-awareness), acceptance (or non-acceptance), usage levels (or non-use) and usage patterns of electronic books amongst students and staff at selected local universities. Results will inform library marketing, information literacy and collection development priorities. Methods Griffith University and University of Southern Queensland developed and made available online surveys via the institutions' library web sites and catalogues. Print versions of the survey were also distributed in libraries. Various e-book publishers were approached to provide deep log usage statistics. Responses to multiple choice and textual responses were quantitatively and qualitatively analysed. Results Over 2,200 students and staff responded and survey responses indicated a high level of awareness of ebooks amongst both staff and students, but relatively low usage, with the library catalogue being the major access point. Both students and staff generally liked ebooks and many had used ebooks in their subject area, but not within the context of resources for courses. Most preferred the library to purchase books in both print and electronic format with 24x7 access and ebook database searching being the most popular reasons for liking ebooks, while difficulty in reading from the screen for extended periods of time was the main reason for disliking ebooks. Few would read an entire ebook on the screen. Printing before reading was common. Usage log statistics from sample publishers were used to verify findings. Conclusion Results are discussed in the context of the available literature. Responses can be used in collection development to ensure ebooks are appropriately considered within collection development strategies and that ebooks are well received and used by clients.

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Information Online 2009

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© The Author(s) 2009. For information about this conference please refer to the publisher's website or contact the authors.

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