Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SD Library Challenge Lesson #6: EBSCO e-books

I routinely inform my patrons about e-books (we have EBSCO and two other platforms); with the national migration toward e-readers, one would think more students would be interested in e-books. However, when approached  at the reference desk by college students seeking books, I frequently hear: "Don't you just have some regular books I can check out?" I suspect that those who are acclimated to e-books are more self-sufficient at finding them online, and those who approach the desk to ask about books are less comfortable with self-navigation of the catalog, etc.

I can sympathize with both camps. I'm all in favor of electronic resources that are available to more patrons in more locations, but, for personal/recreational reading, I, too, still prefer print.

I like the EBSCO e-books because it is a familiar platform to college students. Many of them have used an EBSCO database at some time for research, so the home page and search interface is already familiar.

For this challenge, I tried several searches related to Constitution Day. For example, I put "United States" as a SU subject search on the first line, and constitution in the second search box alternatively as "all text," "subject," and "title." Results were varied, but constricting "constitution" as subject or title only yielded 3 results, all of which seemed appropriate for a research project:

Hoffman, D. N. (1997). Our Elusive Constitution : Silences, Paradoxes, Priorities. State University of New York Press.
Levin, D. (1999). Representing Popular Sovereignty : The Constitution in American Political Culture. State University of New York Press.
Stewart, J., & Burger, W. E. (1987). The Constitution, the Law, and Freedom of Expression, 1787-1987. Southern Illinois University Press. 

Of course, one can adjust the search terms, such as changing to "all text" to increase results, etc.

I also tried the PB Publisher search; for fun, I substituted "South Dakota" instead of Nebraska or Oklahoma, and there were no results (presumably, there is no publisher with SD as part of their name with books in this platform), but changing "Publisher" to "subject" returned nice results for a research project on South Dakota history!  
I look forward to the time when e-books are more accessible and user-friendly for all.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to your last sentence, goatsucker! Thanks for your comments here. It's interesting to know what you observe among students in higher ed. I find it fun to try different search fields with the same term to see what comes up. We hope you & your patrons find something useful here.