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University Libraries surpasses 2 millionth e-book

Digital sketch of student in Newman Library during Winter Session, working at a laptop
Students study in Newman Library during finals week. Illustration by Steven White.

From: University Libraries

University Libraries recently acquired its 2 millionth electronic book, making the library collection of electronic resources larger than traditional print monograph holdings for the first time. University Libraries implemented an e-preferred policy in 2012. While the library continues to acquire selected titles in print, e-books provide many benefits such as around-the-clock availability, support for remote users, and the ability to search within the text of the work.  

Three ways University Libraries acquires e-books 

  • The library receives book suggestions from patrons or initiates other purchases from subject librarians who think the new title will be a good fit for library users’ needs. The University Libraries purchased The Power of Experiments: Decision Making in a Data-Driven World through this process.

  • University Libraries purchases e-book packages that offer multiple titles sold together as a group. These are often organized by date, subject, or theme.  Purchasing materials this way adds dozens, hundreds, or sometimes even thousands of titles to the library collection at a single time. While every title included may not be of immediate interest, package purchases provide an economy of scale, with substantial workflow efficiencies and lower per-title rates. Batch purchases can also meet the need for titles with unanticipated demand. An example of a recent e-book package purchase is Cambridge Histories Online Complete.

  • The library also utilizes demand-driven and evidence-base acquisition. Here, the end user is driving the selection process. This approach allows University Libraries to make a large pool of e-book titles available to our user community but only buy those that Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students try to access. Depending on the provider, this process may be completely seamless and happen instantaneously or it may be moderated, with a typical turnaround time of 24 hours or less. Academic Women: Voicing Narratives of Gendered Experiences was acquired through this process.

The entire e-book collection is searchable through the University Libraries homepage. Patrons can enter an author, title, or keyword in the “What are you looking for?” search box to get started. Virginia Tech community members can suggest an item for purchase by logging into the request form.


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