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I was interested to hear that Elsevier have agreed to provide their content to Discovery solution providers (Summon here and EBSCO here) as the gaps in content with these type of solutions is one of the big issues for users and librarians. We’ve even had people comparing the new EBSCO Discovery solution we’ve implemented unfavourably with the previous federated search tool simply because of the less-comprehensive content coverage. I’ve been surprised how much resistence there seems to be from publishers to adding their metadata into discovery systems.
I think it’s odd that publishers would want to keep their content out of these systems. They clearly see it as somehow compromising their commercial advantage and no doubt there’s some competitive element where publishers see the systems that are being pushed by content aggregators/publishers as not being in their interests. But I do find it strange that publishers seem to consider metadata about their journals to be part of the content rather than just being the signpost to the content. It seems to me that metadata is a piece of advertising. You want to push your metadata and links to as many places as possible don’t you? Wouldn’t you want your content to be visible?
It strikes me that from a library perspective content that isn’t accessible through our Discovery interface isn’t visible to the majority of our users. They tell us constantly that access to electronic library resources is confusing. While higher level students and researchers are comfortable with using publisher interfaces the majority of undergraduates seem to be searching for a ‘google-like’ experience that is simple to use and connects them to everything that is relevant to them. If you are a publisher, you sell content to a library and your content isn’t in the Discovery solution that your library uses… then your content isn’t discoverable alongside other publishers content. If it isn’t discoverable it isn’t going to be used as much as it could be. And with budgets now being stretched in libraries then decisions are going to be based on how content is being used. Put baldly, if your content isn’t in the discovery service then your content has less value to the library, so we’d be expecting to pay less and we’d be more likely to think that actually, we might have to do without those journals.
Well, I’ve had my Kindle for about six months now and the use of an ipad for slightly less. So, time for a bit of reflection on how I’m using them, pros and cons and likes and dislikes, and whether it has changed my behaviour.
I’ve bought about a dozen books for the Kindle. I’m still buying print books, but actually I think I’m buying less print books from Amazon, although I still buy books in the high street, driven by the ubiquitous 3 for 2 or half price hardbacks. I do try to see which is cheapest as the Kindle version isn’t always the cheapest option. I like the fact that if you do buy books on the Kindle they appear really quickly, so maybe that is why I’m not ordering print books online and waiting for delivery?
Although I’ve got the 3G version of the Kindle I find I rarely use the browser. It’s OK if you’ve no option but not a great user experience as navigation is clumsy and speed slow. I’m tending to use the Kindle on the bus, or if I’m going somewhere out of reach of wifi. Then I might use the browser for something like www.kintweet.com But the keyboard is really too small and clumsy to use with having to use the SYM for anything that isn’t a letter of the alphabet. Now I’m using an ipad I find I’m rarely using the Kindle at home as I’m tending to use the ipad.
I’m glad I got the 3G version though as it does mean that books you are reading sync to the latest point if you’ve been reading them on another device. I’ve got the Kindle software loaded on the ipad and PC to sync all the books in my collection so I can read them wherever I am and whatever device is to hand. So I’ve settled down to largely use the ebook reader to read ebooks, hmm.. no great surprise then, but I think my use is affected by having access to an ipad.
I’m using an ipad provided through work. It’s the first Apple device I’ve used for any length of time and I’m pretty impressed with it as a day to day tool. Whereas I used to take my laptop around with me at work I now tend to take the ipad. There are some limitations and frustrations, mainly to do with not being able to get into our main document mangement system on the ipad (although theorectically it might be possible to browse the folders with one of the network apps you can get). Not being able to edit MS Office documents is a bit limiting. I find I generally end up putting documents into dropbox and taking notes in the notes feature and then emailing them.
I find that the ipad connects to wifi networks at both work and home fine. The speed the device starts up is impressive and the ease of setting up email account access make it an easier tool to access email. Much quicker then Outlook Web Access.
It’s obviously a good web browser platform although not sure why it seems to have a limit of 9 browser “tabs”. I don’t much like the itunes and apps store lists of apps tools they seem to have a really poor user interface which seems designed to make if difficult to find anything in a logical way. Typing on the device itself isn’t the best experience but is OK. Using the ipad for web browsing does point out quite how many sites either don’t work well on this type of tablet or force you to go to a mobile version of the site with limited functionality or rely heavily on flash.
Would I buy an ipad myself? Probably not at the current price. If I’d bought an original ipad I’m not sure I’d want to buy an ipad2. But a tablet that could edit MS Office documents without having to go through converting them with different packages, that was multiuser, multitasking and could access networks would be a pretty useful tool.