Dear swedish tax payer and worker or student at Umeå university!
I work with the digital library at Umeå University Library and especially with our Discovery Search Tool (the library search engine) and e-books. We pay a lot of money to different vendors or publishers to feed you with the content and services you need for your studies and your research. I try to get the things we buy to work otherwise I think we’re not using your tax money in a proper way. That’s why I have to communicate with a lot of vendors and publishers explaining for them that this and that doesn’t work. We have paid (too often a lot of ) money for things that should work appropriate. Much of the time is spent on contacting suppliers support or contact persons. It’s maybe not a daily but at least a weekly nagging to suppliers and I think that I often have a lot of patience.
When we had problems with Ebrary (at that time bought by Proquest) after my writings at last John Tsihlis called me and we had a telephone call with represents from Ebrary in U.S. Now when I met John, I think two times, and Swedish representative Martin Blomkvist several times and they are listening and answering to their customer.
This is just one of more positive examples I had through the years with suppliers. What I mean is that I fight for your right as a Swedish tax payer and student or researcher at Umeå university to get the things you use and we buy to work properly. To get what we actually paid for, not just letting things slip away.
We’ve had Dawsonera (from Dawson Books) as e-book supplier for quite a long time now. The last years their technical solution have not been a benefit for us. They changed their technical platform early this year and I hoped they would change to the better technical solution that Ebrary has who are using the Adobe DRM that make it possible to use Adobe Digital Edition instead of Adobe Reader.
Dawsonera has an Twitter Account. Having an Twitter account, which is social media, to me is two-way communication, not just sending information. It’s a tool to answer questions also. If you read the @Dawsonera Twitter account you can see all the technical issues they had since summer.
8 October I sent a Tweet again: Why could you not answer my tweet? Are you just using Twitter for one-way communciation?
No reactions. I mailed the Swedish Dawson Books representative Malin Asplund and Felicity Kilshaw in England. Mailn answered and said that Felicity Kilshaw will answer after she returned from the Frankfurt Book Fair. Two days after the fair I hadn’t received any message so I mailed again. But long time no hear! 20 October I mailed again to Malin and Felicity and no hear.
24 October I wrote again:
I’m really disappointed of how you treat your customers questions. I will write about your lack of communication at my blog: https://nowherenorth.wordpress.com/”
Now I’m writing this blog post and maybe some one else at Dawson books (Dawsonera) could give me a proper answer about the technical issues of the Dawsonera platform. The commentary field is free for you if you like social media!!
And you Swedish tax payer and worker or student at Umeå university. I do this to fight for you to get value for your money with appropriate, both technical and practical, e-books solutions.
All what I express here is my own opinions and not Umeå University Library’s opinion, though I hope some of my colleagues agree with me.
Update: Just some information about the Dawsonera technical platform. Dawsonera uses Adobe Content Server(ACS) which means it uses Adobe Reader(AR) to read and authenticate the material. The problem is that Dawsonera says you can read their books offline but that’s humbug. Every time you open a downloaded Dawsonera book you need to authenticate it to the DRM server, which means you need an internet connection to begin reading.
AR in connection with ACS has not the features Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) has like making it possible to store covers of books in the main page and make them clickable to open a book. In AR you need to find the file for the book and it’s just the ISBN number, not title or author. Not so practical. The Adobe Live Cycle (ALC) solution, that Ebrary used since they began offering downloading, is connected to ADE and ADE is a nice program for reading e-books. The nice thing with this DRM is also that it works with apps supporting that DRM like Bluefire Reader. The ACS DRM does not work with apps like Bluefire reader. I think it’s quiet clear, and has been for a long time, that ACS is a more unpractical solution than ALC.
I can also say that in a few cases when buying from Dawsonera we received it as epub and happily it uses the ALC solution connected with ADE. In June I asked Felicity Kilshaw if it now was possible to choose between epub and PDF but she said: no. I asked:”…when we buy a new book, how do we know if it’s epub or PDF we will get?” She answered:”…there is currently no easy way to know before purchasing a title. Once purchased, you will be able to see when you download the title. The download pop-up window will either suggest you download Adobe Reader for PDFs or Digital Editions for ePubs.”