LIS Students' Perceptions toward the Assimilation of E-Books in the Library: An Exploratory Analysis
Aharony, Noa, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science
The present study explores LIS students' perceptions toward the assimilation of e-books in the library. The research was conducted during the summer semester of the 2010 academic year in Israel and 144 students participated in the research. The study used three questionnaires: a personal details questionnaire, students' perceptions towards e-books assimilation in the library, and a cognitive appraisal questionnaire. The main findings suggest that LIS students have positive perceptions regarding the assimilation of e-books in the library. They are aware of the change and possible effect it may have on library collections, budget, and policy. Those students who have higher perceptions towards the assimilation of e-books in the library are more challenged by this phenomenon. Older students feel challenged to experience, learn and assimilate e-books more than younger students. This study highlights LIS students' perceptions towards e-books and is relevant for librarians, information scientists and LIS educators, helping them better understand, assimilate and explore the phenomenon of e-books in libraries.
Keywords: e-books, LIS students' perceptions, exploratory analysis
Historians of the electronic book track its origins back to Vannevar Bush's concept of the Memex. They claim that Andries van Dam coined the term "Electronic Book" in 1967 as he was working with his students on the Hypertext Editing System (HEP), which enabled text to be read on a computer screen (Ardito, 2000). In 1968, Alan Kay presented the Dynabook device, which was similar to a laptop computer with a graphical user interface. In 1971, Project Gutenberg was launched to provide access to public domain titles freely available on the Internet. In 1996, Brewster Kahle founded the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization intended to preserve web pages and other content to prevent the internet from "disappearing."
In the late 1990's when Internet use became popular, some publishers and vendors considered hosting and selling ebooks. In 1999, NetLibrary offered more than 2,000 e-books to libraries, and in 2000 and 2001 Questia and ebrary entered the marketplace with various access models. In 2004 two new e-book providers, E-book Library (EBL) and MyiLibrary, were launched, followed by Google's announcement of its Print Library Project in cooperation with the New York Public Library, the University of Michigan, Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford. This project allows searching digitized collections from those libraries using Google Book Search. Users can view and download entire books no longer protected by copyright, and can view information about and access limited portions of digitized books still under copyright. Different publishers, such as Elsevier, Oxford University Press, Springer, and Taylor & Francis, developed in-house e-book publishing enterprises that provided them the opportunity to host and sell e-books directly to libraries (Connaway & Wicht, 2007).
As the e-book phenomenon becomes more widespread in our information world, it is worth examining its presence in the library landscape. Various studies have focused on e-books in general and the impact of e-books on the academy, but this study presents an as-yet-unexplored dimension: LIS students' perceptions on the assimilation of e-books in libraries. The current study refers to the e-books definition in an inclusive way and aims to explore whether LIS students are familiar with these new technological innovations. Do they understand the power of e-books? Are they ready to adopt new applications in the library?
The three primary research questions are:
1. How do LIS students perceive the assimilation of e-books in the libraries?
2. Are students' perceptions towards the assimilation of e-books in the libraries influenced by their personality characteristic of cognitive appraisal [where cognitive appraisal refers to the individual's evaluation of the significance of events on his or her well-being, and the individual's efforts in coping in thought and action to manage specific demands]? …