The author would normally try and report on this one, but the seats available to this conference were snapped up weeks ago.
With good reason – eTextbooks are becoming part of the higher education – along with all the issues of accessibility, cost, platform choice, and adoption. In hopes of providing some guidance along this landscape, the eTextbook UnConference is taking part in Champaign this week, beginning today and ending tomorrow. The UnConference contends that methods for solving the various issues with eTextbooks have taken place separately, and that higher education as a whole could benefit from looking at the issues as a whole.
Libraries are specifically mentioned among the interest groups, as “library personnel working on providing etexts and ebooks and supporting their use.” The recent report from the Pew Research Center, “Libraries, Patrons, and E-books,” concentrated mostly on public libraries. An important result to take from the study, however, is that there is an increased demand for e-books, access to e-book readers, and requests for e-book reader assistance. Another important point? Many people still aren’t aware of the e-book service in their home libraries. Again, while this report focuses on e-books in public libraries, are students at UIUC aware of the enormous e-book collection they have access to? Are they uniformly literate in the use of such collections as HathiTrust? Do they have access to e-books, or does this make it more difficult?
The author doesn’t have the answers, but if anyone reading this gets to attend the conference, she asks that they contact her at email@example.com. You can also follow along with the conference via Twitter at #etext.