eCOGSS – a collaborative ebook project

Rachel Fidock reports on an innovative ebook service developed by four secondary schools in the Goulburn Valley, Victoria.

Many school libraries across Australia are choosing to create ebook libraries – online libraries where students are able to borrow and read ebooks on their own devices. But how easy is it to create an ebook library, and would our students prefer physical books?

In the Goulburn Valley of Victoria, teacher librarian Helen Taylor, formerly of Shepparton High School, took up the challenge of creating an ebook library with a difference. The result is eCOGSS (eBooks City Of Greater Shepparton Schools) ebook lending facility, an online service that caters to not one, but four secondary schools in the region. Of the six secondary schools approached to be involved, Goulburn Valley Grammar SchoolMooroopna Secondary College, Shepparton High School and Wanganui Park Secondary College chose to take part (one non-government and three government schools).

Accommodating the needs of four schools in one service may seem like a daunting task, but as a consortium, the combined experience and ideas of the group proved to be a great advantage.

In the development stage, according to Helen Taylor, Library Managers from each school took the idea back to their administrators and IT departments as the project’s success depended on these groups. The project group chose Wheelers to provide the ebook lending platform due to their competitive pricing and willingness to accommodate their needs. Meetings on Skype with representatives from Wheelers, Library Managers and school administrators gave everyone the chance to discuss ideas and refine the group’s requirements.

Taylor believes that the model they developed – where each school has their own account, chooses their own books and pays for them – made the process of sharing a common elibrary highly successful. And by sharing resources, the schools were able to create a service where all ebooks are now available to all students, regardless of the school that paid for them – improving access and value for money. In March 2013, the eCOGSS ebook lending facility opened for business, with 8% of enrolled patrons borrowing more then one ebook.

Given the success of the project in terms of the schools involved, what do the students think of eCOGSS?

In early December 2013, Bright Ideas conducted a survey of 24 students ranging from years seven to nine, from Shepparton High and Mooroopna Secondary College, to determine if the students were using eCOGSS, if they preferred ebooks to physical books and what they thought the future of school libraries might be.

The survey results show that 54% of the students borrow from the eCOGSS ebook lending facility, while 13% prefer to get their ebooks elsewhere (Wattpad is a popular choice, especially given the amount of self-publishing which occurs on this platform).

54% of students preferred not to get their books online (17% were undecided). Some of their comments included:

  • I like paper books because you can find more out about them before you borrow.
  • I prefer books to technology.
  • The books in the library I can take home but the books online I can’t access at home.
  •  I find it really annoying having to set up your laptop and etc. just to read a book. I hate reading off a computer. It can’t be good for your eyes. And I like reading a paper book that you can take anywhere and is easy.

For those students who did prefer getting books online in the form of ebooks, some reasons were:

  • There is a wider range of books
  • It’s easier than going to a public library
  • It’s easier then carrying [books] around the school
  • You don’t have to carry them around and there are books here that are not in the library

Students were asked what they thought about the future of libraries and school libraries. Some of their comments are featured below:

  • There will be fancy scrolls that when you open them you can flick through pages like an ipad and everything will be stored on them (every thing!!!). [Student doesn’t use eCOGSS but reads Google Books]
  • I think libraries will be using technology and ebooks more than they do now. [Student doesn’t use eCOGSS but prefers to get books online
  • I think libraries will die out because of the internet and online reading. [Student doesn’t borrow from eCOGSS. Reads ebooks from Wattpad]
  • In all honesty I don’t think that libraries will change that much because there will always be people who like paper books.
  • I think they should stay the same. Maybe you can put in an order on-line to borrow it but then go pick it up and read a book not a text on a screen.
  • They won’t have libraries if people always use online.
  • Please continue helping us, finding books. Thank you. [Student doesn’t borrow ebooks]
  • I think it’s a great opportunities for readers to get a chance to do what they like. [Student doesn’t borrow ebooks]
  • Have a library and ebooks. [Student borrows ebooks from eCOGSS]
  • While it’s a good idea that books are easily obtained and read, nothing really beats a good old book. Though I do enjoy ebooks very much. [Student borrows ebooks from eCOGSS]

While it’s interesting to see the opinions of this group of students, only a small number were surveyed, so it would be interesting to see whether students in the broader community use their school elibraries in the same way. It’s also important to note that students’ like or dislike of elibraries ebooks often depends on their exposure to and abililty to access them. The evidence from this survey suggests that there are students using eCOGSS and some students prefer reading ebooks. However, the results also suggest many students prefer to read physical books.

It’s clear to see that eCOGSS ebook lending facility is a great example of how collaboration and partnership between schools and teacher librarians can lead to better library services across school communities and large geographical areas.

Getting ready for Resource Description and Access (RDA)

In the next issue of FYI Renate Beilharz explains all about RDA and the implications for school libraries. FYI editor Yso Ferguson gives us an outline of some of the resources and tips mentioned in Renate’s article.

Resource Description and Access (RDA) is a new standard of library cataloguing that is designed for the digital world. The RDA toolkit website describes the benefits of RDA as:

  • A structure based on the conceptual models of FRBR (functional requirements for bibliographic data) and FRAD (functional requirements for authority data) to help catalog users find the information they need more easily
  • A flexible framework for content description of digital resources that also serves the needs of libraries organizing traditional resources
  • A better fit with emerging database technologies, enabling institutions to introduce efficiencies in data capture and storage retrievals

In the next issue of FYI Renate Beilharz offers some tips for coming to grips with Resource Description and Access. The speed of the implementation depends on many factors. Important among these are:

  • What Library Management System (LMS) your library uses
  • Where your library’s cataloguing information comes from – it might be from SCIS or Libraries Australia or it might be original cataloguing

The main pieces of  advice to take away are:

  • You don’t need to panic as RDA and AACR records are compatible so you won’t have to retrospectively catalogue all old records. Expect to have both sorts of records in your catalogue for a long time.
  • For a general overview of what RDA record look like have a look at the RDA toolkit examples.
  • If you copy catalogue, you will need to find out what your record provider is doing about the introduction of RDA.
  • For schools using SCIS, RDA records will be introduced in May/June of this year.
  • More detailed information and explanation can be found by going to the SCIS blog
  • For schools using Libraries Australia , RDA records will begin in April 2013.
  • You can find out more by visiting the NLA’s Update on RDA implementation and Description of RDA
  • It is also a good idea to talk to your LMS provider to find out what they are doing to implement RDA.
  • Think about doing some training. There are various options. SLAV sponsored workshops will run in May and June. A list of commercial enterprises can be found through the Australian Committee on Cataloguing.
  •  Box Hill Institute is running some short courses. Search for Library Studies on their site.
  • You could also have a look some of the free online training materials such as the Australian Committee on Cataloguing (National Library of Australia), RDA Toolkit  & Library of Congress
  • Want to get started? Get the free 30 day trial, from the RDA Toolkit.


Shelflife: Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory

The Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory has piloted a number of projects looking at how their collections are accessed online. One of the most interesting is the Shelflife/LibraryCloud project.

LibraryCloud  aggregates collection and usage metadata from a number of different libraries and feed them into Shelflife, a sample front end for how this kind of information might be viewed and used by library patrons.

Main features of the interface include:

  • use of the visual metaphor of a book shelf (Stackview) to help people browse popular titles trending at libraries across America
  • all books appear in context and have their own page with recommendations and tags

At this stage Shelflife is a testing environment which is best introduced by taking the online tutorial, although you can also explore the site independently.

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Weekly links (weekly)

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Weekly links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Weekly links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.