In Fall 2016 the library initiated a new resource acquisition model with the purchase of selected course readings in electronic format and making them available to students at no cost. This new library initiative is in support of the UHCC strategic goal to implement OER to replace most textbooks by 2021.
The project started by identifying the books students were required to purchase for their classes. The process involved scanning the bookstore’s Fall 2016 Textbook List and selecting the non-textbook course readings.
- Why did we ignore traditional textbooks? Libraries cannot purchase textbooks as e-books with campus-wide electronic access or share the access codes.
The 80 non-textbook titles were then searched for by library staff in our Voyager library catalog. We discovered 6 titles which were already available electronically in one of our existing e-book collections. We informed faculty of the immediate availability of these titles.
The next step was to check our e-book vendors to identify titles we could purchase. At the same time, we started a new e-book service called Overdrive partly in support of this project. We identified 18 titles that we could purchase as e-books. The majority of the publishers did not provide an option for unlimited user access (our ideal) so we were left to purchase individual copies of each title. In the end, we purchased a total of 18 titles (or 53 copies) for $1,685.
- But the title is available in the Kindle store. Why can’t the library just purchase a copy? Yes, titles may be available in one of several e-book stores for individual purchase but it wouldn’t work for the library. Individual purchases are tied to a single user account and access cannot be shared. We must purchase e-books which can be made available to all authenticated Leeward users. Overdrive is our e-book platform that supports both the Kindle format and UH user authentication. However, Overdrive focuses on non-academic titles so we cannot rely on it exclusively.
As you can see, this was not a straightforward process nor is every single title available as an e-book. Even the titles we could purchase limited access to 3-5 concurrent users or had a one copy/one user restriction. These are publisher imposed limits. The Online Course Reserves project is only a partial solution to the problem of student access to course materials.
We plan to continue this project into the new year. If you would like the library to purchase an e-book to support your course, please submit your request using the online Course Reserves Purchase Request Form. If the e-book is available, we will purchase up to 5 copies and let you know when they are available to your students.
To order print titles use our Book/ Periodical/ AV Purchase Request Form.