The current situation of e-books in academic and public libraries in Sweden
2013 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
The arrival of e-books in Swedish libraries has been influenced by the ideas of provisions of equal access to all media and all Swedish citizens as well as by librarians’ wish to provide best service to their users within the library’s area of responsibility. They saw this new resource and service in the light of fulfilling their specific function in a democratic society that is usually expressed in Sweden as mediation (or transfer) of knowledge and culture to all. This is a common foundation, on which new media and information resources (including e-books) are incorporated into Swedish academic and public libraries.
Apart from this common basis we see other similarities in work with e-books in both types of libraries, but also a number of differences. Most of them relate to the situation of libraries within their respective context and in relation to their specific role.
Academic libraries are quite influential players in the global scholarly communication and supporters of both research and study processes. As such they are embedded in mainly international market of scientific information and scholarly materials. They have significant resources provided by parent universities for acquisition and a wide choice of commercially available material from different producers and vendors. They are organized into a national library consortium that has increased negotiation power. Thus, they have more freedom to experiment with a variety of business and pricing models offered on the international market. They also have high competence in the area of publishing and often play a role of a publisher themselves. Their involvement in research process and in open access initiatives puts them in a position to provide expertise to researchers in publishing and intellectual property areas.
Public libraries are part of local cultural and educational landscape. As such they depend on the production of media and content in national languages that helps to cater to the needs and demands of the local population. They also are customers on a relatively small market of publishing, entertainment and education-related materials that help to fulfil their function in the enlightenment of the people. As public libraries offer open and free-of-charge access to their resources to the totality of the population in a particular territory, eventually covering the whole country, they are regarded as a disruptive player in the market economy. This perceived threat from public libraries was reborn in the emerging market of e-books.
Despite these differences both academic and public libraries face similar challenges and problems in management of their collections, creating metadata, and providing access to them. So far, no such solutions that could satisfy all involved parties have been found.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
e-books, academic libraries, public libraries, Sweden, Library and Information science
Research subject Library and Information Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-7167Local ID: 2320/13341OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-7167DiVA: diva2:887875
International Conference - Publishing Trends and Contexts 6 - 7 December 2013, Pula, Croatia