Christina's LIS Rant
Thursday, June 07, 2007
  sla2007: ebooks on steroids
Ebooks on Steroids
Panelists: reps from ProQuest/CSA (Safari), Knovel, ebrary, Springer

What are the pricing models (tiers or ?)
What are the pricing models (booklike one time purchase, journal type subscription)

Ebrary, subscribe to one or collection or all books. Now have a perpetual access buy a copy model working with YBP and others to buy (have both individual access, and 150% multiple user access)

Springer – subject collections, fte + research intensity (tiers), perpetual access. When you sub you get that year’s editions

Printing, cutting/pasting, page viewing

Safari – chapter level, can post up to 2 sections for classroom use, prefer professors link in.
Knovel – unlimited printing, cutting pasting, page viewing for authorized users, want to encourage use, but… they’ve experimented with other DRM solutions and have abandoned them. In the next 90 days they will be watermarking all of the content. Working on rebuilding backend system to protect the system better against systematic downloads (hm?)
Springer – ILL and educational information. No restrictions on printing, simultaneous users. Can put some part of a book onto an online course.
Ebrary – balancing needs of publishers with what’s reasonable. Have to maintain internet access. Looking for bots. They pre-identify proxy servers so they don’t (now) get identified as bots. Can print up to 20 pages. If you copy and paste, you get the citation and link back. Can copy one page at a time. (I’m pretty confused by his discussion, because he started to say that you have to stay online and then ended by talking about printing)

Are special readers required? What usage information is available.
Springer – just released usage. Administrators can download COUNTER compliant, book report 2 (downloads by chapter). PDF version, no additional software.
Ebrary – plug-in. they’re developing a java based client. They say it’s not bad in practice. Page views as well
Safari – doesn’t require plugin. The new video content will require a quicktime plugin. Not fully counter compliant, downloads by book and turnaways. Looking into SUSHI.
Knovel – myriad of plugins, but the ones that are standard with the browsers most people have. PDF, java, flash, there have been interoperability problems, but their technical services department has been able to work with customers to fix them. Usage stats – offering option of fully counter compliant report next (quarter?). You won’t have to take the counter compliant report. They deliver data outside of books, so there will still be supplementary reports on how people are interacting with equations, graphs.

How have you become bigger better faster?
Ebrary – own reader, info tools to integrate other subscription electronic resources. Extensive suite of APIs. Blackboard plugin. Pass through authentication. Highlighting and annotation feature, saved to your bookshelf. Professors share these bookshelves with students.
Springer – via shear volume (17K) both English and German. Adding 3,200 books a year. Springer.com/marc – MARC records are created on the fly as books are produced so the first MARC record that will appear will be theirs.
Safari – better search to find the answer you need, searching for code fragments, limit to programming language, see results with kwic by book or section.
Knovel – narrow focus on applied scientists and engineers. Focused on engineering (pump finds you pump, not a woman’s shoe). Detailed parametric search. Search optimization for engineering. 80-20 rule – fewer titles, but the most important titles and those are selected by usage, customer requests, and expert selectors. Can extract numbers, use solvers, interpolate a curve, unit converters. Mathematica is now driving the math on the site (wow). Subject matter experts get help from engineers and chemists.

Questions from the audience:
If a staff member wants to cut and paste something into a course, do they have to write and get permission?
Knovel- follow license.
Safari – not required to write in, license sets how much can be posted as long as that’s followed
Ebrary – coursepacks are republished. Fair use for small amounts (a paragraph).
Springer – within the educational environment

Perpetuity – what happens if your company merges or goes away?
Ebrary – you own the content separate from the interface
Springer – we can give you copies to locally load.
Safari – no perpetual access. ProQuest is working with LOCKSS.
Knovel – no perpetual access because their interface is very important to their model.

Problem, when a book is available on an ebook platform gets adopted for a class? Students may want to download the textbook chapter by chapter instead of buying the book.
Knovel – we don’t have textbooks (answer from audience yes, we’ve adopted some knovel books). Follow license, but not designed for that.
Safari – as long as their following the license rules, it’s acceptable but it’s not intended to replace a class book.
Ebrary – not for primary text in a course, ok for supporting info for a course.
Springer – no problem with that. She thinks the whole DRM issue is still hazy. This particular issue has not been completely resolved.

What would you like to see more in the publishing field, our people are looking for disassembling the text and data mining it?
Ebrary – we built an example of what can be done. There are other ways to do it. That’s why we built the APIs so you can use your own search engine, own viewer or other unanticipated uses. We have the hooks already for analysis and “we don’t charge much more for that access” (?)
Safari – probably talk on an individual basis as they have in the past with various PhD candidates for historical or analysis over time.
Knovel – would like to talk off line. The whole idea is to bring the data to life so that people can use it to solve problems. Use is most important.
Springer – Google indexes all of our content. We will work with you independently, too.

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Hi - saw the hm? on systematic downloads and wanted to comment. We have seen (and continue to see) two types of behavior that need attention in "protecting" content:

1 - Users generally have no knowledge of copyright or fair use so actions that infringe these rights are generally innocent. We believe a program of education (e.g., digital watermarking) is the most effective and user centric way of working with people who, after all, are members of the community we are working hard to serve.

2 - Systematic or "non-human" use - we see bots come into Knovel periodically. In these instances someone has made a concious decision to "rip-off" content. We have always guarded against this behavior. Technology has improved dramatically to ensure that we immediately address this behavior without penalizing the vast majority of users with oppressive solutions. We also recognize that our system must support continuous updating of this technology so we are making changes to ensure that our content partners are fully protected in a manner that is seemless to our users.


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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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