E-books Webinar Q&A

Below are listed questions that were submitted during the NISO Webinar, "E-books: A Rapidly Evolving Marketplace." Presenters from this webinar: Tino Fleischer, Product Manager, Atypon Systems, Inc.; Anne Orens, Independent Consultant; and Sue Polanka, Head, Reference and Instruction, Paul Laurence Dunbar Library, Wright State University.

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions about this webinar or about library, publishing, and technical services standards and standards development. We also welcome suggestions for new standards, recommended practices, or areas where NISO should be engaged.

NISO E-books Webinar

Event Questions & Answers
August 12, 2009

  1. What's a DTD? In reference to creating an XML document.

  2. During the webinar, Todd (NISOís Managing Director) mentioned a recent proposal from the National Library of Medicine for NISO to work on a standard for journal markup, based on the NLM Tag Suite (commonly known as the NLM DTD). Where is the DTD proposal on the NISO website?

    Answer (NISO): You can find more information on the NLM proposal here: http://www.niso.org/standards/ballots/

  3. Is the NLM DTD intended as an access format, or as an archival format?

    Answer (NISO): The NLM DTD is a format that can be (and currently is being) used for both for access and preservation.

  4. Can you comment on the value of assigning persistent URLs to books and whether book publishers are currently linking their references to external content?

    Answer (Anne Orens): The benefits are similar to those enjoyed by journal publishers: reliable citations to the authoritative source, enhanced discoverability, and improved usability by the reader. Citations can be to other books or specific chapters by the same publisher, journal articles and other external content.

    A good introductory document by CrossRef, which is currently handling DOIs for books as well as journals is http://www.crossref.org/02publishers/dois_for_books.html

    Answer (Sue Polanka): This is critical for libraries.  Persistent URLís can be used in our catalogs, course management software, web pages, and other course related guides and/or emails.  It is an effective and efficient way to reach the end user.  If publishers are linking references to external content, itís usually within their own interface or titles.

  5. Not a question for an individual speaker, but maybe for the NISO administrators - what is the audience mix on this call - mostly publishers? librarians? bookstores/booksellers? or some of all of those groups?

    Answer (NISO): Over 80 sites registered to view this webinar. Just under half of the registering organizations were academic libraries; about 15% were vendors; another 15% were publishers; and about 10% were research centers. The remaining participants were from public libraries, national libraries, consortia, and consultancies. NISO serves each of these communities and aims to bring together these various perspectives on common issues.

  6. What type of books are we talking about? Academic, Professional, Popular...?

    Answer (Anne Orens): The focus for my talk is Academic and Professional books, although the principles remain the same for trade as well.

  7. What's ePDF?

    Answer (Anne Orens): PDF documents exist with varying degrees of web-readiness Ė with the most important capability being searchability. Other ways to make PDFs web-ready include bookmarks, text that enables cutting and pasting, and images that have been downsized as appropriate for web use (which cuts down on overall size), ePDF as a name was mentioned in the context of the Ingram Digital offering, but it basically means web-ready, and generally acceptable and usable by the distribution platforms.

  8. What are the studies that demonstrate that good enough is good enough? Can you provide citations?

    Answer (Anne Orens): The source of the use of free vs. paid information comes from a presentation by Chuck Richards/Outsell at the 2008 TMR/SSP meeting, reporting on amount of time spent gathering information. 53% of people will pay for mission critical or high risk information and 20% who buy information for daily decisions.

  9. Question about ebook sales: What percentage are reference (books people consult) vs. fiction & non-fiction (books people read)? That is, are patrons using ebooks for reference purposes, or do patrons prefer to read an entire book of fiction as an ebook?

    Answer (Anne Orens): The most complete source for that information is the Book Industry TRENDS 2009 (published by BISG in July 2009). This report, which is available free to members of BISG (the Book Industry Study Group - www.bisg.org), breaks out sales for each segment by format Ė and one of the formats is ebooks. This is the first year that TRENDS has pulled out e-books as its own category. See http://www.bisg.org/publications/product.php?p=13 for more information about this publication.

    For a more detailed look at OíReilly that provides some startling figures, you might want to look at the blog post at http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/02/state-of-the-computer-book-mar-24.html

  10. How do you think license requirements will be played out for non-packaged ebooks?

  11. Sue, what kind of MARC records would you prefer, MARC XML?

    Answer (Sue Polanka): No ONIX,  the MARC21 format is best, but MARCXML will also do. There is a quick translation between MARCXML and MARC.  The key is, donít send us bad data.  Follow the MARC record rules so we donít have to do this twice.

    Answer (Webinar Participant): One of the critical needs for libraries, with respect to MARC records, is consistent linking using a standard identifier, such as OCLC number, to enable us to integrate print and ebook versions.

  12. Could you expand on the comment regarding ISBN usage and the updated policy?

    Answer (Sue Polanka): I think this question refers to vendor neutral cataloging. Vendor neutral cataloging allows the ability to use the same MARC record for different versions of the ebook. For example, the same title available in EBL, ebrary, and NetLibrary could share the same MARC record. Prior to the vendor neutral cataloging decision from the LOC, each was to have their own record. 

  13. For Sue Polanka: What do you consider an equitable pricing arrangement for ILL for e-books?

    Answer (Sue Polanka): What are we paying for print ILL? Journal article ILL? Letís follow the same patterns with ebooks. Something for publishers to think about, many libraries make purchasing decisions based on the titles borrowed through ILL. Itís to your benefit to allow free/cheap ILL because we will analyze the usage data and purchase titles from these lists.

    Answer (Webinar Participant 1): I think the question is really asking whether libraries would pay a higher price for books that are ILL enabled - my answer is NO. We don't pay a premium for ILL for print books - we need ILL capability for ebooks.

    Answer (Webinar Participant 2): We also do not think there should be higher cost for ILL for ebook purchases.

    Answer (Webinar Participant 3): Consortial pricing would be an alternative to ILL pricing, enabling all members to share the cost and the access.

  14. Will e-book by part of Portico deal if publishers are Portico members?

  15. Preservation of eBooks: 1. Is this/should this be a publisher/vendor/user responsibility? 2. Can you address issues that we should be considering (about preservation) when purchasing?

  16. Are there any trends emerging on how e-book publishers/providers are working to ensure perpetual access?

  17. How does the divergent ways that publishers assign ISBN to ebooks affect purchase and retrieval? What role will the ISTC play in this picture?

  18. What is NCA?