This article is the first in a series of blog posts on InfoViews by Leslie Lees, VP Content Development at ebrary.
Apple and Amazon have played a key role in defining how e-books are read…but much more importantly, Amazon has trained users to navigate and evaluate way more metadata in discovering titles and discerning their value to them. Users’ personal experience of discovering e-books has now far outstripped the resources available to librarians to deliver the richness of descriptive metadata and ‘finding’ support that is available to book buyers in their personal experience. Librarians are discovering that they are not setting, but following, users’ expectations even in their areas of core competency. The challenge facing librarians is to offer a comparably rich experience in their environments, but one that is augmented by their expertise in providing appropriate tools and content and context for the discovery and evaluation of academic ebooks.
Metadata also has to be “smarter” and structured in ways that forge relationships between users and the resources they seek. Enriched metadata from publishers alone will not manage these expectations, as improving the discoverability of e-books will also require a shift in the way that e-book information is managed across platforms.