Information for FE Colleges

Getting the e-books used

The majority of the titles selected by FE colleges during the consultation have a limited shelf life, meaning that the most relevant titles will lose their relevance and value quickly. From May 2009 all of the e-books titles were the most recent edition. Many of the titles within the collection are available for the first time as an e-book. However the collection needs to be signposted and promoted so that your users can find and use this collection or they face the digital equivalent of an empty library shelf:

Creative Commons licence  August 20, 2006 by freedryk

In consultation with colleges JISC Collections has created tools to help colleges promote and embed the collection within their institution, these can be found here

‘There is a multiplicity of e-content, and a multiplicity of ways to get to it and users don’t know how to get to what they want. Libraries have a big challenge in providing clear access routes to e-content. Discovery needs to be made a simple as possible.’ JISC national e-books observatory project: Key findings and recommendations

Library Catalogue. The library catalogue is the main route for discovery for library e-book content. JISC Collections and ebrary have created MARC cataloguing records and Heritage LMS compatible records for the collection so we strongly recommend that they are imported into your library catalogue. Further instructions on how to import the records can be found here

MARC is almost universally used by librarians and is designed to automate the creation and communication of library catalogue information. Cataloguing rules are applied when cataloguing using MARC. These rules ensure that cataloguing is consistent (for example, that authors names and initials are always presented in the same way, and that standardized spellings are used) so that the same item will always be described in the same way wherever and whenever it is catalogued. This imposes standards for consistency and is essential if users are to be able to identify the e-books they need.

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and learning objects

Many students and teachers gain access to electronic resources through virtual learning environments (VLEs, which have been adopted by many colleges and universities across the UK to enhance learners’ teaching and learning experience. Links to e-books from VLE’s and learning objects, for example through course reading lists are an effective way of encouraging usage. The licensing terms allow students and teachers to cut and paste parts into the VLE, however insitutions who wish to track usage of e-book parts may wish to embed links.

Automatic citation Citation information including a durable url is automatically created if you cut and paste or print from any e-book within the collection. You can cut and paste the link into your VLE so it takes the user straight to the information they need. The e-books are available under the terms of the JISC model licence so you can cut and paste, print and use parts of the books in your VLE’s, coursepacks, presentations and more to support teaching and learning.

Measuring use, demonstrating value

You can view your COUNTER compliant usage statistics by logging into your admin portal. Collect usage statistics on sessions, searches, title usage other useful metrics such as student numbers, comparison costs, as well as qualitative information. Details of your admin portal were sent with your welcome letter.

Enabling Single Sign on to resources-removing barriers to use

The collection is accessible via the following modes of authentication:

  • UK Access Management Federation, including Shibboleth and Open ATHENS.
  • On campus access via IP range.
  • Subject to ebrary’s Access Policy: proxy server for off campus, or referring URL.

Institutions are strongly advised to join the UK Access Management Federation and implement compliant technologies to provide off campus access, single sign to resources, to identify and define separate groups of users and to assist in the administration of e-resources. This document provides a brief description of the advantages and likely cost and resource implications. By implementing federated access management effectively your users need only remember one username and password.

I spoke to the LRC manager at Carshalton, (a college which is no stranger to the top 20 lists) to ascertain what they are doing right, (especially given that they are comparatively small institution operating on a single site). My notes and thoughts are below:

As with many FE colleges Carshalton serves a diverse range of learners from pre-entry, apprenticeships, teacher education to degree level with its main focus being on vocational disciplines. Carshalton is a Centre of Vocational Excellence for Childcare & Early Years and Electrotechnical.

In order to justify expenditure on e-textbooks Carshalton use their usage statistics to make the case to fund additional e-books to add to their existing collection, (currently this comes from the books budget).

Student and staff inductions are integral to the adoption of ICT and e-resources at Carshalton as library staff often provide training on all aspects of technology within the college including the intranet, from uploading lesson plans to Moodle, their VLE. All students are required to attend a study skills course where they are given a tour round the resources. Title lists and business cards were created and handed out at inductions and the e-book covers were pasted into Moodle with embedded links.

One thing which was clear after speaking to Carshalton is that the historic divisions between learning technology advisors, IT and library staff often found in colleges are not present and this unsiloed approach to staffing is also applied to how they promote e-resources, which is focused on content and the deconstruction of e-resources by embedding chapters in Moodle.

Other ideas include:

Coffee mornings

Personalising the platform to include your logo etc. please contact for further information on this.

Personalising the ebrary platform to link out to your other e-resources such as the Oxford English Dictionary and  Encyclopedia Britannica

Taking the highest used textbooks,  splitting them into subject areas then sending information about the titles including the covers to relevant curriculum staff.

Library Catalogue. The library catalogue is the main route for discovery for library e-book content. JISC Collections and ebrary have created MARC cataloguing records and Heritage LMS compatible records for the collection so we strongly recommend that they are imported into your library catalogue. Further instructions on how to import the records can be found here

A presentation with  ideas of how to promote the collection.

Links to resources to help you embed the collection can be found here.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on promoting and embedding e-resources via thee-books for FE  list.

Useful links:

1. Colleges of Further and Higher Education FE Toolkit, a self assessment toolkit for learning resource services.

2. Initial findings from the JISC National e-books Observatory project user survey

3. Rowlands. I., Nichols. D., Jamali. H. and Huntington. P., 2007. What do faculty and students really think about e-books? Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives. [online] 56 (6), 489-511 Available from

4. JISC national e-books observatory project: Key findings and recommendations. Final Report, November 2009

5. The JISC TechDIS service provide advice and guidance on disability and technology including information on e-books and inclusion: