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Students' reactions towards e-books in a University library collection

Abdullah, Noorhidawati and Gibb, F. (2009) Students' reactions towards e-books in a University library collection. International Journal of the Book, 5 (1). pp. 107-112. ISSN 1447-9516

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Abstract

This paper reports on a study of e-book usage amongst students with an 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 an operational environment; (ii) determine whether any differences existed in ease of use ratings between students that had and had not used an e-book before the survey; (iii) investigate which e-book features users valued in terms of shelf browsing and content browsing; (iv) measure students' preferences between e-books or printed books given several scenarios; (v) establish whether any differences existed in terms of book format preferences between students that had and had not used an e-book before the survey; (vi) explore students' perceptions and impressions regarding specific features, such as browsable and searchable book indexes and table of contents, in an online library catalogue. The respondents were selected using a systematic random approach from a list of respondents from a previous web survey who had agreed beforehand to participate in this study. A total of 18 participants consisting of undergraduate and postgraduate instructional students 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 an online library catalogue. Despite their positive reactions 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.