Presentation on theme: "Towards the e-future e-contents and e-reading in Finland."— Presentation transcript:
Towards the e-future e-contents and e-reading in Finland
In 2010 the city libraries of Helsinki and Turku were allocated state grants for an e-content project. They started with investigating available digital texts and e-readers. Different kinds of e-readers and later on also tablet computers were introduced in the libraries for the use of the patrons and feedback was gathered about the different readers and the available contents. There were meetings and discussions with publishers. Patrons appreciated the introduction of new technology, 300 persons responded to the questionnaire, and the project brought visibility in national media. In 2011 parliament members raised questions about the availability of e-books in public libraries, pointing out the role of public libraries in introducing new media. The problem was there were not many Finnish e-books on offer, and publishers did not seem to be very enthusiastic about public library e-book lending either.
Moving on to a national level the Central library for Public Libraries (Helsinki), was allocated state grants for an e-contents project initiated by the Council for Public Libraries. The project aims at offering e-contents to patrons in all Finnish public libraries - equal opportunities for all citizens, in accordance with the Library Act. The digital divide is bridged by making e-contents known, by marketing these services and by teaching patrons to use digital knowledge and culture. Cooperation with FinElib and publishers is developed, the role of public libraries as good partners is highlighted. The current Government Platform emphasizes the need to secure participation in the knowledge society and the digital world for each and every one, the important role of public libraries is accentuated in this political program for the Government period.
In this project the availability of e-contents and functional ways of purchasing material in e-format is investigated, the aquisition and distribution of e-material should be as easy as possible for libraries and their patrons. The infrastructure of public libraries should be updated, as well as competence and skills of library staff. New licensing models will be drafted in cooperation with FinElib and various publishers. Possibilities for a national platform for e-contents will be investigated as well as the best ways to connect with the National Digital Library. The project working group has been accepted as a partner in e-reading, part of the NextMedia project of Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The NextMedia development and research project started some years ago, aiming at developing business and service models for the distribution of electronic contents. Also the National Library is represented in the e-reading part.
In 2012 the focus of the e-reading project of Tekes and Finnmedia is on business models and technology for library lending and on social reading. A short quotation from Los Angeles Times, December 2011, headlined "What the heck is social reading?" "There's been talk about it at forward-looking publishing conferences and between idea-filled app developers. Now that more and more people are reading books as e-books, and their e-readers are connected, how can the best of those worlds combine?" There are already digital book clubs, although e-books are at the moment less than 1 % of book sales in Finland. One considerable factor is the price, or actually the VAT, it is 23 % on e-books and 9 % on printed books. At the moment there are no well-functioning general licensing models, and installing e-contents on readers and tablets is still unnecessarily complicated.
A national strategy The project work group has already published a first draft for a national e-strategy for public libraries. The objectives are - a fair distribution of e-material in the whole country - to highlight the important role of libraries in the distribution chain for domestic e-contents - national cooperation concerning acquisition, in-work- training, information and marketing - a national alignment for the e-collection An action plan will soon be prepared, going deeper into how to achieve these goals. A lot is happening and national solutions are under construction. Today 5 loans of 1000 are e-books, this year, publishers announce 1000 new domestic e-books, "enriched" children´s books, a much larger supply.