CCL-EAR Chair's Report

By Steve Hunt, CCL-EAR Committee Chair

If your college has a computer science or business applications programs and you are looking for zero textbook cost (ZTC) resources for your students then you may be interested in recent changes in the Safari Tech Books database.  The publisher of much of the content, O’Reilly Press, is now providing access directly to their ebook content though they are still using Proquest as their subscription agent. With this change came some other significant changes in their policies.  They now allow unlimited simultaneous users for titles.  They have greatly increased the number of e-books available, to almost 50,000 titles. They also will allow downloading and offline use of e-books.  The catch is that you can only download and read offline if you use their app, which is available for iOS and Android.  While the reading experience on a phone is less than ideal, an iPad makes for a good ebook platform and its nice to be able to download and read offline.  O’Reilly is new to the database market and is still having some issues supporting this product but they are responsive to support requests.

The EAR committee sent out a survey to California community college deans and directors in May on use of electronic resources in their library.  The goal of the survey was to help guide the work of the committee and get feedback on how we’re doing.  We received 36 responses to the survey, a response rate of 31%.  We had hoped for a better response rate but everyone is busy this year with LSP and other projects.  The results of the survey will be reviewed closely by the committee and have been provided to the CCL Board. I would like to share some highlights with you from the survey results.

The first question was whether those responding would be in favor of more consortium-wide purchases of electronic resources such as the Ebsco statewide buy.  This was overwhelmingly supported, by 97% of respondents.  Comments mentioned that we should emphasize resources that work well with Alma and Primo.

We asked if libraries supported ZTC through the acquisition of ebooks, 50% said they did and 50% said they did not.  Comments noted that for some libraries, no additional funding was allocated for buying e-textbooks. Others noted that while they do not collect e-books specifically for ZTC use, it is hard to track if they are being used for that purpose.

When asked about their purchase of streaming video products, 41% have access to Kanopy, 85% subscribe to Films on Demand, 17% to Alexander Street Press, 12% to SWANK and 6% to Ambrose.  When asked about problems or concerns related to streaming video products, those mentioned most frequently include “too expensive”  for all products but especially Kanopy (87% of Kanopy sites indicated this was a problem.)  For Films on Demand, complaints included that it was not used by faculty enough (26%) and that titles were removed too often (31%)  Several respondents commented that many Films on Demand titles are very dated.

We asked if libraries used any course resource list management products such as Leganto, Ebsco Curriculum Builder or Talis Aspire. Currently, 89% of respondents do not use any of these products. We asked how libraries provide off-campus access to their databases. Over 69% wrote that they use EZproxy for this purpose, 8% use database vendor provided authentication methods, and 14% use Innovative Interfaces WAM product.

Lastly, we asked some questions about the work of the EAR committee.  69% of respondents said the reviews created by the EAR committee are Important or Very Important in helping them decide what resources to acquire, and almost all respondents are satisfied with the work of the EAR committee. We plan to do another survey in the Spring and hope to improve the work of the EAR committee based on the feedback we have received.

CCL-EAR is looking for librarians!  Serving on the EAR Committee is a great opportunity to help select electronic resources for all California community colleges and to network with your colleagues from across the state.  Please contact CCL President Leslie Tirapelle if you would be interested in serving on this important committee.