eBooks decisions

Back in the day I was involved with this Jisc project on the Challenge of eBooks  in academic institutions. There was a great team, pulling together expertise across Libraries, Publishing and academic practice domains to look at Consumption, Creation and Curation. I really liked the infographic approach!

It’s old now, 2012, but I found myself looking back at it recently.

At my institution we’ve started to look at how we organise ourselves to select, procure, integrate and support e-books and their associated digital content. It became clear early on that there’s often not a clear line between whats an e-book and what’s a digital resource, or what’s a Library decision and what’s an IT decision.

Speaking to a publisher recently I thought it might be useful to share a grid that we put together about who cares about what. This is very much a working draft and I’m not sure what our next steps are to make sense of this space but I’m happy to share it.

eBook Considerations

Authors: Amber Thomas, with Lynne Bayley, Russell Boyatt and Kerry Pinny, (c) University of Warwick

IMPORTANCE: High / Medium (otherwise it’s Low or none!)

  Depts Library ITS Procurement
Subject coverage H H    
Academic user experience


H   H  
Student user experience H M H  
Support (within dept)


M   H  
Support model for adoption and integration support (potential economies of scale)


M   H  
Licensing cost (and potential for pooled costs)


H     H
Licensing model


  H M M
User accounts/access model


  H H  
Usage monitoring model (and whether a VLE integration changes that)


  H H M
Integration options (deep links, book links, whole service links, sustainability)


H M H  
interoperability with Talis Aspire


Integration technology approach (LTI, webservices/API… other)


Information security  


  H M

Authors: Amber Thomas, with Lynne Bayley, Russell Boyatt and Kerry Pinny, (c) University of Warwick

I think our challenge is working out what order to ask the questions in, so that if there is an integration blocker we know before we pay for the product, or that if there is a data security issue we know before we integrate it, or that if there is a pricing breakpoint that makes bulk purchase much better Value for Money, we know in time to sound out the other departments about the scope of the purchase. Which comes first?

I’m fairly new to this so I’d be very interested to hear from other large HE institutions with devolved decision-making how you make these decisions.



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