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On Friday, Feb. 18th, a group of ZSR colleagues and I took in a webinar put on by ASERL member libraries discussing their experiences with e-Readers. Speakers included Nancy Gibbs from Duke U., Millie Jackson and Beth Holley from University of Alabama, Eleanor Cook from ECU, and Valerie Boulus from Florida International U. The webinar was organized by John Burger.

Valerie Boulus started the talk by discussing the general specifications of the e-Reader devices, such as the Kindle. She then moved on to talking about specific devices and their features. Kindle v. 3, Nook v. 1, Nook Color v. 1, Sony Readers. She also discussed file formats for the devices, as well as Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Nancy Gibbs discussed Duke’s implementation of an e-Reader program. They began in fall 2009, spent around $20,000 for devices and content. They tried to put high demand titles on the devices, and provide multiple copies of the content on a number of their devices, as they could put e-Books on multiple devices at one point. She did not speak to the copyright issues this raises with licensing the ebooks, however.

Alabama started their program in fall of 2009 as well. Obtained funding through fundraiser, and purchased only Kindles. Their different libraries selected original content, then let their patrons request additional titles, excluding textbooks. Spent Approx. $2000 in content last FY. They do not consider the e-reader titles as part of the collection development since the program is a pilot program at this point. Don’t feel the e-format is stable enough. Alabama adds titles to each of their kindles individually, and manages new purchases through a spreadsheet.

Back to Duke, they replicate content across all devices instead of breaking it up based on content. Also have a suggestion email for patrons. Can put content on 6 kindles a piece, as many nooks as you want. Discussed money savings, no discussion of legality. I hope for their sake that no book publishers were on this webinar! The talk moved onto the nuts and bolts of adding titles to the devices, as well as problems relating to content on the devices such as titles disappearing off devices thanks to Amazon.

Eleanor Cook from ECU began her portion discussing the sales tax issue with e-books, though WFU operates differently than most other schools in this regard, according to Lauren C.

Unfortunately I had to leave at this point in the talk, though it was certainly interesting to hear other’s experiences with some of the issues we have encountered here at ZSR with similar technologies.