Students’ Reactions towards e-Books in a University Library Collection
This paper reports on a study of e-Book usage amongst students with a university library collection. The main objectives of this study were to: (i) investigate how easy or difficult students found it to use e-Books by giving them the opportunity to interact with e-Books in a real environment (NetLibrary); (ii) examine if any differences in the rating of ease of use existed between students that had or had not used an e-Book before the survey; (iii) measure students’ preferences between e-Books or printed books given several scenarios; (iv) explore students’ preferences with respect to additional e-Book features which might be incorporated within an online library catalogue to assist them to find relevant books. The respondents were selected by systematic random approach from a list of previous web survey respondents who had agreed beforehand to participate in this study. A total of 18 participants consisting of undergraduate and postgraduate instructional students registered for academic year 2005/6 completed the study. The findings indicated that in general students found that interacting with e-Books in the collection was very easy. Students indicated that their preferred book formats varied depending on the context. In general students were positive about incorporating certain additional e-Book features into the online library catalogue. Despite their positive reaction and attitudes towards e-Books, students commented that e-Books needed to be promoted more strongly and that there were limitations with respect to their use.
Keywords: e-Books, Electronic Books, User Studies, University Library
Dr Noorhidawati Abdullah
Research Student, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Strathclyde
Prof. Forbes Gibb
Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Strathclyde