Thursday, December 08, 2005

E-books from Proquest Safari

E-books as a resource draw mixed responses. Loads of publishers are getting into the e-book game and new offers and packages are coming out frequently.

With most e-books, you're basically buying access, not ownership. That's the biggest mental hurdle to overcome for any e-product. Some publishers offer perpetual access after three or so years of subscription but still, you're relying on them to provide the product and not change their minds later on down the road. Scary thought. Then there's a lack of standardisation in format from each publisher. On the flip side, e-books can be accessed anywhere anytime - no placing a hold and waiting for a week, no negotiating tricky shelfmarks. And you can search by keyword across a number of books, as you might do for journal articles. Additionally e-books fit perfectly as reading list material within a VLE.

Recently we had a demo from Proquest Safari Techbooks. Safari have formed an alliance with computing publishers like O’Reilly & Associates, and The Pearson Technology Group (imprints include Addison-Wesley Professional, Adobe Press, Cisco Press, New Riders, Peachpit Press, Prentice Hall PTR, Que, and Sams). Clearly this is of most interest to Computer Science, as we do actually buy and use a lot of printed material from these publishers. It's now a matter of setting up a trial, and deciding whether we can/want to spend the money. And hope for some feedback...


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