KSU to expand its e-book collection

Andrew Schiller

This summer, 86 colleges and institutions across Ohio will finally have access to a large and ever-growing database of electronic books — one that will probably surpass 8,000 volumes by the end of the year.

“This is not the first deal we’re doing directly with the publisher. It’s unique because it’s the biggest one,” said Tom Klingler, assistant dean of technical services for Libraries and Media Services.

In the past five years Kent State’s library system has usually bought about 500 books each year, mostly from Springer Publishing, Klingler said. Now Kent State will pay $29,000 each year for about 3,000 e-books from Springer instead of paying $42,000 each year to get 500.

“Six times the books for two-thirds of the price,” Klingler said.

OhioLINK’s existing Electronic Book Center will be the access point for the e-book database. At first, the collection will be at about 5,300 e-books, Klingler said, and the center will receive about 3,000 new e-books each year with a big shipment of records coming in every three months.

“We probably will end up having paper copies of some of the ’05s and ’06s that we get electronically,” he said, “but what we want to do then is stop buying the paper copies.”

“Just in the past two weeks we’ve been getting hints from downtown Columbus that Ohio-LINK might have to cut a million bucks of content in the next year,” he said. “All of the sudden it makes a big difference whether we own the stuff or are subscribing to it year by year.”

The Electronic Book Center Web site, which is targeted to be done by July 1, will switch over to a different open-source interface, said Anita Cook, head of systems at OhioLINK.

“We’re gonna be building what we call the e-book center with a multitude of collections,” she said. “There are certainly a lot of other publishers that we are negotiating with. I expect there will be more (deals) before the end of the year.”

By having permanent ownership of e-book collections, Kent State and other libraries are also able to have more control over a single interface, Klingler said.

“What we’ve built for you guys now is nine collections of e-books, and they all look and work differently because they’re out at all of these different sites,” he said. “We want to load this stuff so that it doesn’t matter (where we get it from). It’s in one place and looks the same and works the same.”

Contact libraries and information reporter Andrew Schiller at [email protected].