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How students use e-books - reading or referring?

Noorhidawati, A. and Gibb, F. (2008) How students use e-books - reading or referring? Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, 13 (2). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1394-6234

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Abstract

This paper reports a study on students' perceptions and reactions towards e-books in Higher Education (HE). During this study a Web survey and a follow-up study were conducted using students from University of Strathclyde as a sample population. The Web survey revealed that there were three different types of e-book use in an academic setting: (a) fact finding; (b) finding relevant content; and (c) extended reading. The most popular reason for using e-books was for "finding relevant content" which indicated that e-books were not read in their entirety but instead were consulted or used for reference purpose. The Web survey finding was then confirmed by the follow-up study. This study is valuable for designing a better e-book features in which they should be designed according to what purpose the e-books are used for (i.e. for reference purpose or extended reading or both). If the e-books are intended to be used for reference purpose, the features might include practical searching and browsing features, whereas if the e-books are designed for extended reading they should be provided with features that are conducive for on-screen reading such as a good layout design and navigation tools.