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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Library Reads into E-Books

The role of technology is becoming an increasingly important component in the classroom. Every student is exposed to technology in some way and uses the many resources available to improve their own learning. One of the newer resources available is becoming more common is the use of e-books to replace textbooks.

Pearloma Dias and Adrea Reyes, two information systems majors at Stony Brook University, support the idea of a wider use of e-books.

“It’s eco friendly” says Reyes, who said she would most likely buy an e-book instead of a textbook, however it still depended on price. When asked about the possibility for plagiarism with online text, Dias commented that copy writers were obviously afraid of losing money, “that’s the only thing stopping them from having e-books and they should be around, and they’re still around, there are books online”. Neither currently uses e-books for any of their classes.

Nathan Baum, the Head of Electronic Resources and Services, agrees that there is a need for more e-books in classrooms, “we’re behind in e-books compared to a lot of other universities and it’s an area that is on my table to investigate, we really need to move in that direction.”

Baum explained that “there are different types of ways we can get e-books…. We have to investigate these different ways, different publishers have e-book options, there are aggregators who will provide e-books with a bunch of different publishers, they all have different plans and deals and policies that they use”.

“We have to become more familiar with those, based on our own subject needs and based on what’s available”.

Baum also mentioned the costs involved in purchasing e-books, “it will involve most obviously cutting back on materials for print and substituting e-books for those” he said, however he was confident that the e-books would be popular and a more efficient use of resources, “they’re available 24/7, people can have access whenever they need them.” He also said that they could be a useful tool for reserve textbooks, allowing multiple people to view the one book at the same time.

“This would make it a lot more accessible”, said Baum, “there are other features that other e-books have, the ability to search through them quickly”.

When introducing e-books into the school environment, Baum admitted that it is the library that will be impacted the most, a cost that may have to be reimbursed by fees and tuition from students, though he admits “I don’t know if there will be a bigger increase to support a bigger collection of e-books, it’s not in our direct plans right now”. Students will also have to consider the different types of technology they have available to access e-books, most of which are offered on the internet.

“There is a growing trend to make e-books available on mobile devices and that’s hit public libraries a lot more than it has university libraries” Baum said, “students are really connected to their mobile devices and more and more want to do their research on them, access information on them, so that’s one area that the library is going to have to figure out options.”

While students and faculty seem supportive of supplementing textbooks with online versions, there are still a number of financial and technological barriers which Baum’s department must address in order to successfully introduce them.

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