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Students' attitudes towards e-books in a Scottish higher education institute : part 1 - web survey

Abdullah, Noorhidawati and Gibb, Forbes (2008) Students' attitudes towards e-books in a Scottish higher education institute : part 1 - web survey. Library Review, 57 (8). pp. 593-605. ISSN 0024-2535

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to present the first part of three inter-related studies investigating the use and usability of e-books in higher education based on experiments conducted at the University of Strathclyde. A self-selected sampling method was employed from undergraduate and postgraduate instructional students registered with the University of Strathclyde for academic year 2005/2006. An announcement email was posted to the student web portal for a period of three weeks inviting them to participate in the survey. This survey found that e-book awareness and the level of e-book usage amongst students was lower than anticipated: 57 per cent of students were not aware of the availability of e-books from the library and 60 per cent of them had not used an e-book. Non-users commented that e-books were not widely advertised or promoted. Despite the low levels of e-book awareness and usage non-e-book users indicated their desire to learn more about e-books. This survey was dependent on self-selection and, therefore, there was no central control over the sample profile (e.g. gender, level of studies, academic discipline); hence, generalisation of the results should be treated with caution. This survey is beneficial in terms of obtaining a better understanding of e-book usage among students and the reasons why students do, and do not, use e-books. The findings should be of value to academic libraries in terms of emphasising the need to increase e-book awareness and usage amongst students. The findings should be of value to academic libraries in terms of emphasising the need to increase e-book awareness and usage amongst students.