Monday, 17 January 2011

eBooks pages

eBooks pages are a bit of a problem, aren't they?  Ideally eBooks would all be catalogued in the normal way and people would find them whenever searching the Library catalogue.  There would also be an option in that catalogue to restrict the search to only full text electronic items that could be easily accessed from home.  Here at Cambridge, this just isn't going to happen in the short term - collections change too rapidly and cataloger's time too limited for our OPAC to hold a comprehensive list - so we need to have an eBooks web page.

The problem is that the page quite quickly gets too wordy or is misleading. Our users can access all eBooks in some collections but only some in others - I want a simple yet accurate way of letting our readers know what we have.

In search of inspiration, I have checked the eBooks pages of some other university libraries (in rough order as they appear under a Google search for "University Library UK")

Oxford  - list of eBooks with short description of holdings.  Grouped by subject.

Glasgow say to search the library catalogue; their eBooks must all be catalogued - good for them!

York have everything in their catalogue but also lists major collections and has a link to a source of free eBooks.

Liverpool list their collections with text to indicate whether people can access all collections or just part of it.  They also have "key resources" links at the side using easily recognisable product logos.

University of London say to search the catalogue.

Sheffield - each ebook title is listed individually and can be accessed by subject or from an A-Z list.

The OU have a  browsable list of publisher's sites with a detailed description of contents and holdings.  Like us, some, but not all titles are in the Library catalogue.

For the record ours it at

We have come to no conclusions yet, but watch this space....