An investigation of academics’ perception, uptake and use of ebooks at the University of Waikato
Research problem The goal of this research was to determine the perception, uptake and use of ebooks by academic staff at the University of Waikato. The study discovers why, and to a certain degree how, academics are utilising, or not utilising, ebook resources available to them from the University‟s Library. The results inform library staff involved with the promotion, purchase and education of the use of ebooks. Methodology An online quantitative questionnaire survey was employed to gather the necessary data for analysis. This statistical approach enabled the survey to be delivered to a wider range of participants allowing for a broader coverage of responses. The population of this study was drawn exclusively from the employees of the University of Waikato and the particular sample chosen was confined to academics who are involved with teaching and/or research. Results The study shows that ebook awareness is strong with the academic community but generally, the full potential of ebooks has not been realised within their professional environment. There is clearly the need and desire for improvement of technologies, access and supply of ebooks. It is also apparent that there is a need for patron education by the Library to raise awareness about the ebooks they offer and the tools used to view and access them. Implications An increase An increase in support from Library staff through a variety of channels is required. Visibility and access to ebooks needs to be improved along with greater relevancy of available content. Education and instruction should serve as the primary tools to increase academic use and acceptance of ebooks. However not all these goals can be achieved by Library staff as many limitations are imposed by ebook vendors and publishers and therefore outside of the Library‟s control. Despite these limitations it is important for Library staff to assist ebook users to explore the advantageous aspects of the ebook environment.