On the Demands of Mobile Technology and Virtual Collection Development: A Case Study

On the Demands of Mobile Technology and Virtual Collection Development: A Case Study

Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/jdls.2012040103
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New technologies pose new challenges when libraries build their virtual collections. With the growth and popularity of e-books and other portable devices, collections can no longer be evaluated purely on the basis of content. Only users can indicate how these platforms will be used as mobile tools for study or entertainment devices. A study was conducted in the Helsinki University of Technology Library (now a part of Aalto University) from the fall of 2009 to the summer of 2010. In collaboration with the Usability Research Group, various e-book readers were tested by both professionals and students. Feedback from the students was collected through discussion, study diaries, and questionnaires. E-book readers were also tested in the library in order to see how well these e-collections are usable on these devices. Results suggest there were incompatibilities with licensed materials. While on the other hand open access materials can be easily downloaded.
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Purpose Of The Study

The study was conducted to answer the following questions.

  • 1.

    How compatible are the current e-resources which are originally meant to be used on a computer with this new technology?

  • 2.

    Do license agreement even allow the transfer of e-books to these devices?

  • 3.

    If customers asked which of the e-readers worked best with the library resources would one know how to reply?

  • 4.

    Would the customers want to use these devices for study, work or for pure entertainment?



Five distinctive e-book readers were selected for the study and two copies of each were purchased to the library. The main basis for the devices were their availability and reasonable pricing; consumer products in the 200-300 Euro range were chosen. Devices designed for professional use were not selected. The five evaluated devices were Foxit eSlick, Bookeen CyBook Opus, BeBook, Amazon Kindle, and Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600.

All of the devices use the same E Ink Vizplex technology. They also all can hold over a thousand books, so the memory capacity was not an issue, especially when they all also had slots for memory cards.

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