The purpose of this paper is to examine usage trends during the first four years of the implementation of the Springer Book Archives (SBA) at the University of Melbourne. The paper assesses the benefits of the SBA against perceptions at the time of purchase and seeks to evaluate the long-term value of the purchase.
The methodology included a literature search to identify issues in the adoption of large backlists of ebooks, examination of detailed usage data supplied in COUNTER complaint spreadsheets and tables by Springer, validating findings with librarians and academics and positing next steps.
Usage of ebooks, like other electronic resources, is difficult to predict. Resources expected to be used, may not be and vice versa. Access to large aggregations of electronic content creates new opportunities for teaching and research, additional economies and benefits, as well as unexpected outcomes.
Detailed data on user profiles were not available and an evaluation of user perceptions was not possible at this time.
The literature review suggests that this is the only published study of institutional usage of the SBA at this time.
The author wishes to acknowledge the Australian and international staff of Springer who provided data and support for the completion of this research and case study. The University of Melbourne Library staff are thanked for their effort in implementing the first site for this product in the Australian market and sharing an interest in the outcomes.
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