The other day, I went to a great presentation for Lauinger staff about electronic books given by Mark Winek and Ed Keller. Mark is the Electronic Resources Librarian here at Georgetown, and Ed is a multimedia specialist at Gelardin. For reason I won’t get into here, e-books are not necessarily that intuitive to use, but I will outline some of the things they discussed that may help you if you are finding the process of reading Lauinger e-books a bit confusing.
There is a guide to e-books that Mark and Ed have created, and it is a handy place to start. You’ll quickly see the wide variety of collections available on it, and then under “Using E-books,” you’ll get some step-by-step instructions on how to use particular collections. The key is have the needed software in place before you begin downloading, and to that end, at least theoretically, every e-book website should list their software requirements. For example, for some sites such as Digitalia, you need little more than a pdf reader. But for EBSCOhost e-books, it is a bit more involved, as you can check in the “Using E-books” section. Mark and Ed will be expanding this guide as the e-book world becomes ever more complex these days, especially for academic libraries.
Many academic e-book providers may ask you to create your own account before you start downloading (it may also be optional, such as in the case of Digitalia.) I recommend this in order to keep track of your own titles within a particular collection, and you don’t have to go back and hunt down the book every time you want to read it.
Every provider has their own parameters for their e-books, and so things like accessibility, the amount time you can “check out” a book, the software required, and the ability to print can vary widely. I know that NISO is working on some standards for these kinds of issues, so I hope things will be easier in the future. In the meantime, it requires a bit of patience, but yes, you can read e-books on your mobile device. Just ask us for help if you need it! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can either see what I can do, or if it’s more complex than I’m able to handle, I’ll send you to the right person.
Side note: I tried to read The Scarlet Letter on my first smartphone, but, well, that was not so fun with a single paragraph taking up several tiny screens. To this day, I still have not read it.
Have a good week!