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Ebook readers : separating the hype from the reality

Huthwaite, Ann, Cleary, Colleen E., Sinnamon, Brendan, Sondergeld, Peter, & McClintock, Alex (2011) Ebook readers : separating the hype from the reality. In Proceedings of 2011 ALIA Information Online Conference & Exhibition, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre.

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Abstract

Academic libraries have been acquiring ebooks for their collections for a number of years, but the uptake by some users has been curtailed by the limitations of screen reading on a traditional PC or laptop. Ebook readers promise to take us into a new phase of ebook development. Innovations include: wireless connectivity, electronic paper, increased battery life, and customisable displays. The recent rapid take-up of ebook readers in the United States, particularly Amazon’s Kindle, suggests that they may about to gain mass-market acceptance. A bewildering number of ebook readers are being promoted by companies eager to gain market share. In addition, each month seems to bring a new ebook reader or a new model of an existing device. Library administrators are faced with the challenge of separating the hype from the reality and deciding when the time is right to invest in and support these new technologies.

The Library at QUT, in particular the QUT Library Ebook Reference Group (ERG) has been closely following developments in ebooks and ebook reader technologies. During mid 2010 QUT Library undertook a trial of a range of ebook readers available to Australian consumers. Each of the ebook readers acquired was evaluated by members of the QUT Library ERG and two student focus groups. Major criteria for evaluation included usability, functionality, accessibility and compatibility with QUT Library’s existing ebook collection. The two student focus groups evaluated the ebook readers mostly according to the criteria of usability and functionality. This paper will discuss these evaluations and outline a recommendation about which type (or types) of ebook readers could be acquired and made available for lending to students.

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ID Code: 41132
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: ebooks, ebook readers
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Division of Technology, Information and Learning Support
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 please contact the authors
Deposited On: 07 Apr 2011 11:11
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2011 07:12

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