E-book usage amongst academic librarians in South Africa

31 Jan 2013

The purpose of this study completed in 2010 was to investigate the use of e-books amongst academic librarians; in particular which e-books are available to academic librarians, why they choose this format, what impact e-books have on librarians’ professional practice and what the usage patterns of e-books are amongst academic librarians. A web-based questionnaire was distributed on the LIASA mailing list. The results reflect a more gradual trend towards e-book adoption. There is still a preference for print or a “bit of both” – print and electronic. This is because of the high costs of e-books using the subscription model as the predominant e-book acquisition model and the lack of sufficient e-books in all subject fields. E-books are used for “browsing for information” and are selected for functionalities such as having the ability to search the document, anytime access and automatic citation. Major problems identified with e-books are: the cost of the equipment to read e-book formats; the cost of the e-books, especially if the subscription purchasing model is used; the lack of reliability of the Internet; and the lack of training in the use of e-books.