Kinlaw Library Passes e-Book Milestone

Asbury University’s Kinlaw Library has just added its 100,000th e-book to a collection that includes more than 130,000 printed books, as well, showing that its resources are not limited to what can be found on the shelves.

e-book%20interior.jpgWith books now existing in both physical and electronic states, university libraries face a rising issue in how to incorporate e-books into already established collections. Asbury started its e-book collection in Kinlaw Library in 2007 and had acquired about 20,000 titles in the first four years.

“We hovered around 20,000 till last year,” said Morgan Tracy, director of library services. “Then we got in on a deal where we’d get academic e-books, which added quite a few.”

The deal came through a subscription with EBSCO Publishing, a library consortium that allows leasing access to more than 80,000 e-books. EBSCO gave the electronic version of books already published from publishers such as Oxford and Taylor & Francis. EBSCO continues to add content periodically, so the subscription grows as well.

These academic e-books work like any of the books available for checkout in the library. “If you were to write a research paper, these e-books are what you’d use,” Tracy said. “For a paper, you just need some of the book, so you can use the search feature of the e-book for keywords or phrases. You can take a bit from each book instead of scanning through an entire one. It’s similar to getting journal articles online.”

Nearly all the newly acquired e-books have been published since 2000. Many of them are not public domain books and are available at any time for all students. This is a major benefit, said Doug Butler, head of technical services for Kinlaw Library. The e-books support Asbury’s traditional undergraduate student as well as the online and graduate students who aren’t on campus as often.

“The greatest difference e-books bring is the ability to access these things remotely,” Butler said. “It’s not the content; it’s the accessibility.”

This accessibility carries further as the e-books also do not require any specific devices for use. “The books are device-agnostic — no Kindle or tablet necessary,” said Jennifer Walz, head of research and distance services for Kinlaw. “They can be used with any computer connected to the Internet.”

Through the library portal on Asbury’s website, any person who is enrolled can access the e-books on his or her browser. The online reader automatically cites the book for the student, and Asbury is working on gaining the ability to highlight and leave notes within the text. The online reader also allows students to print limited portions of the book.

As e-book usage grows, Walz said the two platforms will continue to complement each other. “People are still not quite used to e-books,” she said. “But once you tell someone they are always available, they start to change. Publishers aren’t going to stop printing. Physical and electronic books are a ‘both/and,’ not an ‘either/or.’”

Tracy said that the use of the e-book enhances the student’s academic abilities. “We feel both types of material, physical and electronic, meet the needs of the student,” Tracy said. “Students now have access to two great types of resources.”

--by Will Houp '12

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