Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Annual Scottish E-Book Conference 2012

I found out today that I had won one of the MmITS sponsored places to the annual Scottish E-Book Conference. To say I am excited would be an understatement, not only do I get to spend a day learning and talking about e-books but I also get to visit Edinburgh, somewhere I haven't been before. 

Now that my place is confirmed I thought I'd blog the application I wrote back in August. I'm not really sure if this is good practice or not but I put a lot of work into this piece  and want to share it. If it's on here at least I don't have to worry about finding it in a few years.

If Twitter was a classroom and the announcement of the MMITS E-book conference sponsored place a question I’d have been the geeky kid at the front bouncing up and down with my hand in the air.
The thing is that I really like e-books and not just because I no longer have to make impossible choices between shoes and books when holiday packing.  Whether it’s supplier platforms, e-lending, DRM, publisher supply or the ongoing debate about PLR payments, just mentioning e-books is guaranteed to get my attention. So when I saw these sponsored places retweeted I knew I had to apply. However I’m not going to write a list of reasons why I want to attend the 12th Scottish E-Books Conference. I’d rather try and explain how passionate I am about e-books and e-lending and how important I feel they will be to the future of library services. I want to show that while I’ll be attending the conference to develop myself I have my own knowledge and opinion to offer to the table.

To see some of this passion you only have to look at my blog,  Jenny’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Created a little over a year ago it was originally a mix of professional posts combined with my love of art. After starting Chartership in 2012 I made the decision to use the blog to reflect on events and my CPD. I also started writing opinion pieces which increasingly have focused around e-books and e-lending. I never intended for the blog to become so bias towards one subject but I’m glad it did. In discussing e-books I’ve opened my eyes to wider issues in the library and publishing sectors, both here and across the pond in America. 

Currently working in a FE College I started my career in public libraries. I left just as Overdrive was starting to find a foothold in the UK and despite most academic platforms being very different I followed developments in both sectors. Meanwhile I led my college in building up our own collection of e-books and continue to look at ways of getting the most out of available resources. Our most recent project is investigating the feasibility of introducing PDA on a small budget. 

Just as the internet instigated radical change in the LIS sector during the 1990’s I believe e-books will contribute to an equally radical transformation in the next five years. The problem is that we have issues around licenses and format to sort out first, not to mention the image of library e-lending as a threat to publishing and authors. We also have to stop thinking of e-books as flat, unengaging copies of a printed book. E-books have the scope to be so much more than this and although small steps have been taken we are a long way off reaching their full potential. 

With e-books and e-lending regularly featuring in the national press their profile has risen significantly in the last few months. As a consequence I think we will soon be at a pivotal point for e-books and the issues surrounding them. There needs to be ongoing dialogue between the right parties in order to reach a resolution and at the moment this dialogue is only just starting to get going.  As a developing professional I want to be involved in these discussions, whether it’s through consultations, blogging, Twitter, or conferences. 

I’m well aware that the implications are far reaching, while e-books in public libraries are currently high profile any resolution or legislation is bound to have wider reaching implications across all library sectors. Although I can’t hope to keep up with every development in the library and information sector, e-books are a subject where I want try to do just that. Most of all I want to see all sectors of libraries in the future able to offer the e-books their users need, whether this be the latest best seller, a core text book or an obscure medical text. I just hope that I can be part of making that happen.

I'll be Tweeting during the conference and will be writing a report for MmITS afterwards so I will share that when it is published. 

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