The importance of being eBooks

Although academic eBooks have been around for years, current circumstances have meant that they have very suddenly become more important than ever. Reduced access to physical collections and distance learning have resulted in eBooks becoming an ever-more vital format. Earlier in the year, during lockdown in particular, our acquisitions team wrote about how things had rapidly changed for them with ordering items to support research, teaching & learning at the university.

Even well before the Covid pandemic we have seen over the last few years how increasingly accessing a key text in e-format has become the favoured option amongst taught students in some subjects. And as a result, for some time now we have been purchasing our key texts in electronic format to meet that demand, where possible.

The current circumstances have meant that many of our users are just beginning to experience exactly what institutional eBooks are, what they can offer – and what they can’t!

Earlier this year, we delivered some sessions aimed at our academic staff, intended to introduce eBooks – how they worked, what the advantages were and some guidance on the limitations. The sessions were well attended, and the feedback was very pleasing. The sessions also taught a lot about where we could target future user education efforts. Rather than just running the sessions again (although a repeat of the session is planned), we instead decided to record some of the information in 5 short videos, alongside some more detailed information on eBooks. The videos cover:

  • What eBooks are
  • How to access them
  • Issues with concurrent usage
  • The advantages of eBooks
  • Tips and challenges
The eBooks page in our Research Skills guide

This information can all be found in our new Research Skills guide under the ‘Basics’ tab. The intention is, over time, to create a suite of similar introductions to other general library resources or services. Watch out for a post in the near future providing an overview of what else you can find in this guide.

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