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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: New Library World, Volume 111, Issue 9/10
Competition comes for Amazon and Apple as Google starts selling e-books. Launched this summer, Google will sell digital copy that people can read in their browser or other devices. Oxford University Press Vie-President, Evan Svhnittman, told the Wall Street Journal: “This is an electronic product that consumers can get anywhere as long as they have a Google account2. In their article, Herlihy & Yi consider e-books in libraries in terms of how currency affects use. Their research involves five years of usage data from two e-book packages. They recognise that various factors can influence whether or not students use a particular package, but they conclude that the currency of materials in their study had a clear impact on usage.
A recent study from Sconul (Society of College, National & University Libraries), culminating in a business case (http://tinyurl.com3535174), reports a “strong and widespread interest in shared services, strongly focused on the licensing and management of electronic resources – linked to a strong sense of cost benefits”. Thus, shared services could be a lifeline for libraries, improving the service but saving money. The article from Wolverton & Heiselt focuses on a different aspect of service – the role of community service in academic libraries in USA. They discuss models and also details of different programs, pointing out that community service has never been more important particularly given current economic conditions.
A survey from Cengage Learning (http://bit.ly/crn6rVH) turns the myth about a whole generation of digital natives on its head. The survey reports that while today’s college students are immersed and fluent in social media, consumer electronics and video games, they are not nearly as proficient when it comes to using digital tools in a classroom setting. Gordon, in her article, focuses on the millennial generation in the library workplace. The issues discussed are leadership, training and work-life balance, which is considered to be crucial, in the context of recruitment and retention of millennials.
Unison is balloting in Southampton, UK, where the council wants to replace six full-time library staff with volunteers in 2010-2011. This means that one branch would be fully run by volunteers. There is anger over the perception that volunteers can replace staff with professional skills – with the consequence of a worsening of service to the public. Far from using volunteers, a case study regarding a task force’s efforts to change the degree requirements for librarian positions at a large US university is the topic of the article from Burtis et al. Concluding that in an increasingly globalized job market, academic libraries can maximise flexibility and diversity in hiring by allowing for applicants with foreign degrees, they include practical guidelines
Economists Online, a new economics subject repository was developed by Nereus, the international consortium of academic research libraries with strengths in economics. It is cross-searchable, multilingual portal (www.economistsonline.org), which makes material freely available. The collaborative networked information environment is the topic of Vrana’s article which presents research results from scientists and teaching staff at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science in Zagreb (Croatia) regarding changes they experienced during the use of ICT in scientific communication. He concludes that whilst involved in this environment, participants still need assistance, which can come from librarians, to assess the value of the new and emerging technology.
CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals) launched Update Digital, the first multi-media edition of its journal Library & Information Update, earlier this year, and some issues of Update are now being produced in digital format only. The idea was to start moving more actively into the digital space, and CILIP is continuing to experiment in ways that exploit digital functionality. In his article, Zimerman considers the transition of periodicals between print and electronic status and how libraries will have to decide, based on budget, what is affordable in terms of periodicals. He concludes that the most obvious way to cut periodical costs is to eliminate print copies when an alternative, digital form exists.