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					THE NETLIBRARY PROJECT: BRINGING E-BOOKS TO THE LIBRARY NETWORK SEPTEMBER 17, 2002 Deirdre Shanley (IMF Fiscal Library, member of the Bank-Fund Library Network) Email : Tel: 202-623-8702

Background: In September 2001, a Bank-Fund Library Network "e-Book team" was formed and tasked with selecting and deploying a broad range of e-books to Bank and Fund staff. The Library Network had already enjoyed considerable success with our deployment of e-Journals, e-Working Papers and electronic Tables-of-Contents services. Indeed these had been so successful that, in some cases, the electronic versions appeared to be rapidly replacing the printed products. With enthusiasm fuelled by naivity on my part, I volunteered to head the team and sought volunteers from Bank and Fund Libraries. The other members of the team, representing a range of subject and technical expertise from our Library Network, consisted of Greta Ober-Beauchesne, Marina Tyapkina, Elena Maslyukova, Maryam Dehnadi and Hassan Kanaan all of whom volunteered with good will and remained cheerful throughout, what seems in retrospect, a very long year. We are now at the implementation stage having persevered through a very volatile 12 months in the e-Book industry. The Process: We began by gathering reliable information on key players in the e-Book industry. Our goal was to select an e-Book aggregator service with a target corporate/academic audience rather than a collection supported by individual publishers or aggregators with a primary focus in one field only, e.g., Information Technology. We wrestled initially with an acceptable and flexible definition for an e-Book and settled on a fairly loose definition of "a book published in digital form and available via selected access points to our Library Network clients at Headquarters and in the field”. An important consideration was that we should make every effort for our colleagues in the field, especially those in developing countries, to enjoy equal access to our e-Book collection. This precluded, to a great extent, e-Book services heavily reliant on dedicated e-Book reading devices. Our next step was to make a good faith effort to examine the plethora of e-Book services which were springing up in ever increasing abundance resulting in a rapidly changing and very confusing playing field. We combed through the literature, conferred with colleagues who were early adopters of e-Books from the corporate, government and academic library worlds, sought advice by phone and e-mail from information/library industry consultants


and attempted to come up with a shortlist of viable and reasonably stable E-book aggregator services to meet the needs of our clients. Maryam Dehnadi and Elena Maslyukova attended the NISO/NIST (National Information Standards Organization) Ebooks conference which focused on the maturing e-book landscape and returned to the team with a wealth of information. In performing due diligence on our selection of a suitable E-book provider, we looked at a number of providers including the following: (some of these companies are now defunct and some have survived) : Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books 24x7, Earthweb, E-brary, Ebsco, Fatbrain, IQ Destination, IT Knowledge, netLibrary, Questia, and Rowecom. In addition to looking at content and access issues, we looked at the financials of our finalists with a view to selecting a company that was likely to remain in business for a reasonable amount of time. At that point, we realized that applying the criterion of solid financials might be difficult to impose in the current E-book environment. Selection of netLibrary: Our final selection of netLibrary was based primarily on breadth of content over many subject/sectoral areas needed by Bank and Fund staff, including Business, Reference, Economics, Knowledge Management, Finance and Banking, International Finance, Capital Markets, Risk Management, IT, and Telecommunications. This relative subject strength is supported by a reasonably broad publisher list of interest to our institutions. Several University Presses are included in addition to publishers such as Brookings, Earthscan and St. Martins. Some of the other contenders had far greater strength in a discrete area, the best example being the IT sector but netLibrary had the best representative coverage to suit our needs. We were also attracted by the strong service support orientation of the company and their flexible approach to access of the e-Books themselves, allowing browse and checkout features. Collections are authenticated to IP addresses and account set-up for users is relatively simple. User accounts allow patrons to add notes and bookmarks to e-Books and maintain a list of their favorite e-Books. netLibrary also offers a usage tracking mechanism, free marketing materials, e.g., Quick Start guides for our clients, bookmarks, and posters. Our netLibrary site is also branded with our Library Network logo and name which fosters product integration and intelligent branding so that the purchasing library takes ownership of the netLibrary e-Books and is perceived as the e-Book provider in the eyes of the user. Obstacles: Immediately upon our decision to select netLibrary, the company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the work of our e-book team stalled. Our team was inundated with helpful e-mails from colleagues repeating the news that netLibrary was in serious trouble, the e-Book industry was virtually dead and who wanted to read an electronic book in the first place. Our general reaction to this news was to step back and consider our options. At this point, we made some good decisions which helped to guide our actions in what had become an extraordinarily volatile environment. Elena Maslyukova arranged a conference call for our team with a Gartner Group analyst with experience in the e-Book arena. The analyst


offered intelligent advice and through a dialogue with our team members, he helped us work through our options. We also communicated with consultants from Outsell, an Information Services Consulting Company, who also provided good advice based on careful analysis of the market and our relative position in that market . Greta OberBeauschene solicited advice from Lois A. Ireland at Freddie Mac Library and Susan Fingerman, editor of Business Information Alert. Susan has conducted surveys on libraries using e-books (not only NetLibrary). She has interviewed many Librarians on their use of e-books and has written articles on the subject. We believe that she is in the process of conducting another updated survey and writing another article that will appear in Business Information Alert. Hassan Kanaan and I contacted netLibrary to see if we could get any more information on where they were headed following the announcement of their financial difficulties. Final Decision and Implementation: Ultimately, we decided to stick with netLibrary in the hope that they would be rescued from bankruptcy since we felt that their product, service and customer base were solid enough to regain market footing. Our decision turned out to be a reasonable one with the announcement that netLibrary had been bought by OCLC in January 2002. This gave us the green light to proceed. We arranged for an onsite netLibrary presentation to our Library Network colleagues, negotiated a contract, selected books using the TitleSelect function on the netLibrary Webpage by calling on the expertise of subject specialists throughout our Library Network, including the fields of international finance, law, environment, agriculture, economics. We focused on quality rather than quantity with the goal of selecting the types of seminal or reference works where readers need to have quick access to relatively short chunks of text, key chapters etc. We selected and received OCLC MARC records for 515 individual titles which will provide our core collection to be deployed via three main access points, our JOLIS Online Catalog where, under the guidance of our Cataloging and Systems teams, the netLibrary e-Books will be identified by item type, holding location and aggregator note, the second access point is via the Worldcat option on OCLC's FirstSearch Service and the third option is directly via the netLibrary site. Our users can opt to checkout an e-Book for a specified period of time, renew a book or simply browse and print portions of a book in pdf without having to check it out. At this point in the process, we found it worthwhile to look at how other libraries using the SIRSI system had rolled out their netLibrary collections. Marina Tyapkina arranged a conference call with Steve Hunt and a cataloguing expert from Santa Monica College Library, a SIRSI/netLibrary customer on June 17, 2002. This yielded valuable information and helped us to look out for pitfalls in our integration and roll-out plans. Next Steps and Short-Term future: We plan to test and heavily market the service in October and November of this year with the support of our Library Network marketing team. Future challenges lie in effectively promoting the service to our clients, ensuring that our subscription to the service continues to be funded and that our collection continues to grow, to refine a workable selection and payment mechanism for the e-Book environment and to work with netLibrary on improving the currency of the collection. We envision that we will use netLibrary as an aggregator service over the next few years


but will supplement our e-Book offerings via individual publishers such as Kluwer and we will, of course, maintain our existing e-Book collections via SourceOecd, World Bank and IMF publications Reference: Hawkins, D.T. Electronic Books: Reports of their Death have been exaggerated in Online, July/August 2002, pp42-.


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