Ebook Users Speak! Analyzing Comment Boxes from an Ebook Value Survey

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Conference Proceeding

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In late 2010 the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Library participated in a global ebook user study conducted by Elsevier Publishing. The 129 UIUC participants performed searches on ScienceDirect in their research subject areas, which resulted in reading 2-4 ebooks per person from the Elsevier ebook platform. After examining the ebooks, the participants responded to a questionnaire concerning their format preferences, they completed a logbook for each ebook they read/used, and they subsequently provided feedback, including their estimation of ebook value. Qualitative data gathered from comment boxes were analysed to compare to quantitative survey results because while the survey showed very favourable reactions to the ebook format, the written comments were mixed. This case study examines how the technical aspects of access to ebooks affect user’s attitudes and acceptance of e formats for research purposes and addresses the importance of qualitative research in a primarily quantitative study.