The ebook format can be quite unsatisfactory in an educational context and we can see this when we use some of the Exact Editions book collections. Let us take the example of the 70+ books from MuseumsEtc.
The MuseumsEtc Collection of books is distributed through the Exact Editions platform for digital reading. This format beats ebook software, as found on the Kindle or iBooks readers, in four ways that matter in research and teaching.
- all the content is delivered exactly as it is in print;
- each print page is also a web page and is therefore easily cited;
- the collection can be easily searched as a group of books
- the licensing is for the whole institution and allows for unlimited reading by simultaneous users
The digital book should look exactly like the print version
All the content in the print books has been exactly replicated, page by page, on the digital platform. So, the layout, the illustrations, the exact text, the pagination, the typographic format and even the front covers will be found in the digital books. The digital version should be indistinguishable from the printed version
Knowing the exact page matters for references and sharing
Digital pagination is exactly as in print pagination. Each and every page on the digital platform has its own url (as does every double-page spread). So the book can be easily cited or linked to, students can provide links as references in their assignments and and lecture notes can be given as click-through links. Pages can be shared through social media and readers can be confident that they are seeing exactly what would be seen in the print book. As every page is a distinct digital object with its own url it is easy for other apps to target the content.
Searching a group of books can be very useful
All the books in a collection can be searched, as a group or individually. This brings out the advantages of a curated body of content such as the MuseumsEtc collection, where readers may well be interested in the way that a topic is treated in other sources. The searching function is similar to, and as easy to use as, the Google search routines. Boolean search functions are also supported.
Unlimited and multiuser access for the whole institution
The MuseumsEtc Collection is licensed annually on a subscription basis for individuals and institutions. The individual license allows for use on the web and through the Exactly app (available for iOS and Android devices) for downloadable use on tablets or phones. Institutional licenses are priced on a campus-wide basis and allow unlimited and simultaneous use by all members of the institution. New content is added automatically to collections as the content becomes available and libraries are provided with user statistics, remote user access and comprehensive online support.