Students' attitudes towards e-books in a Scottish higher education institute. Part 2: Analysis of e-book usage

Abdullah, N. and Gibb, F. (2008) Students' attitudes towards e-books in a Scottish higher education institute. Part 2: Analysis of e-book usage. Library Review, 57 (9). pp. 676-689. ISSN 0024-2535

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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present the second 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. Design/methodology/approach - The research discussed here involved two analyses: an analysis of two e-book collections in the libraries of the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow and an analysis of a follow-up study to a web survey into user interactions with e-books in one of the library's collections. Findings - The follow-up study found that in general students found that interacting with e-books in the library collection was easy. Students indicated that their preferred book formats varied depending on the context of their information need. 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. Research limitations/implications - The study presented here was a small-scale study based only on e-book collections from one supplier (NetLibrary) and involved only 18 respondents. While this is considered sufficient based on the discount usability testing concept, generalisation of the results should be made with caution. Practical implications - The findings should be of value to academic libraries in terms of improving e-book collection management. This study highlights current attitudes of students towards e-book in terms of how they interact with them, the features they value and their preferences between e-books and paper books in a university library. Originality/value - This paper provides useful information on students' attitudes towards e-books.