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This Chalk Talk will not be subscription-based: August 16, 2012



Who: SUL and Coordinate Library Staff
When: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 2:30 - 4 PM
Where: Green Library, IC Classroom

Join us for a rousing reading-group style discussion on the topic of e-books in academic libraries. We'll talk about some of the current big issues surrounding e-books, such as licensing and ownership models, preservation, patron convenience (or inconvenience), financial questions, and selection.

Most of our texts are recent blog posts (so they're not too long, and are lively reading), but there are some meatier offerings as well.

Paul Zarins and James Jacobs will start the discussion out, but we count on active participation by all.

Primary readings:

1) Steve Coffman: "The Decline and Fall of the Library Empire"
(This article is a bit long, and not all about our topic of the day, so we recommend focusing on the last two sections, "Ebooks" and "The Electric Library".)

"...[L]et’s turn our attention to ebooks — our most recent electronic fascination and something many of the self-styled library digiterati are already hailing as a sort of 'Great White Hope' that will restore our relevance in a digital world.... [D]espite a current fascination with them, the long-term prospects for ebooks in libraries don’t look good."

2) Barbara Fister: "Do Librarians Work Hard Enough?"
(We recommend reading both the main text and the comments.)

This is a direct response to the above article by Coffman.

3) HighWire Press 2009 Librarian eBook Survey
(We recommend the Executive Summary and the Discussion beginning on p. 22, both written by SUL's own Michael Newman; then go back to the data as needed.)

Extra Credit (but still highly recommended):

4) Brett Bonfield: "Ebook Cargo Cult"

"Libraries created the present crisis in scholarly publishing, and we are creating a similar crisis now with our approach to ebooks.... [A] sensible long-term plan for acquiring ebooks may be the most pressing issue in American libraries today"

5) Barbara Fister: "The Revolution Will Not Be Subscription-Based"
(Once again, we recommend both main text and comments, many of which are by Fister herself.)

6) Sarah Houghton: "I’m breaking up with eBooks (and you can too)"

Caveat lector: This is a rather irreverent and very skeptical view of e-books -- but we think it's a fun read with some very serious thinking behind it.

SUL Chalk Talks are sponsored by the Digital Initiatives Group (DIG) and are held monthly, normally on third Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. Join us!

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by Glen Worthey

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