More on E-books at Boston College: Reporting Back on Fall 2012 Graduate Student Focus Group Results

As reported in this past fall's Faculty Newsletter, the Libraries have continued their efforts to learn from you what you need and want in terms of e-books. This past October, following up on the Spring 2012 e-book survey and an August 2012 faculty focus group, both conducted with the help of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment (IRPA), a small group of graduate students came together to talk with us about their interests/needs for e-books. Here is a quick summary of some of their thoughts:

  • Many graduate students are not really aware of the size and variety of e-books now in our collections and that our collection extends far beyond popular reading options to include a growing number of scholarly titles across the disciplines.
  • Just as with faculty, graduate students believe that the ability to annotate PDFs and other e-book formats is critical.
  • They tend to continue to use print books for any extended or intellectually-rigorous reading.
  • They definitely see a place for e-books, and are using them ... notably, the focus group members predominantly use e-book readers or other mobile devices for this purpose.
  • Given the long commutes some graduate students endure, there is definite interest in audio e-books, and not just for pleasure reading. This is not something that we heard from faculty in their focus group.

As a result of information gained at both focus groups, we've increased the visibility of the Boston College Libraries' e-book collections with a new link on the library homepage—look for the logo, top left, on the library homepage. It takes you into the e-books research guide which can provide useful information on finding and using e-books (including annotating options for e-books). You'll also see more displays advertising new e-books on the video monitors around the library.

It's very clear that e-books are in our future, as just one component of a rich stew of resources, with print collections still holding a valued place.

Sally Wyman
Collection Development Librarian, O'Neill Library