Academic In Malaysia, the Open University Malaysia

Academic libraries have
traditionally played an important role in providing access to and disseminating
information across learning and research communities. That role has now been
extended to facilitating access to electronic resources such as e-journals and
e-books through innovative technologies. Although both publishers and libraries
are unsure about the future for and the impact of e-books, there is increasing
awareness that e-books demand further attention(Vassiliou & Rowley, 2008).
Studies show that librarians are only partially aware of student’s perceptions
about e-books and that there are conflicting priorities among students,
faculty, and librarians (Soules, 2008).

A recent study conducted by Folb
(2011) assessed the use and factors affecting use of e-books by all patron
groups of the Health Sciences Library System. A total of 871 patrons completed
the survey, for an approximate response rate of 18.5%. The results indicated
that library e-books were used by 55.4% of respondents and that, in general,
respondents preferred print for textbooks and manuals and electronic format for
research protocols and reference books. In spite of little promotion, 65.5%
were aware of the e-book collection.

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E-book popularity has been
growing steadily over the past five or six years (Ramaiah, 2005). Charles Sturt
University, a major provider of distance education, has taken up the challenge
of moving away from the traditional print based method to electronic delivery
of instructional material (Messing, 1995). Open University UK (OU) has also
moved to an electronic paradigm in adopting the e-book as one of their primary
learning materials. In Malaysia, the Open University Malaysia (OUM) also
followed the trend by providing a digital collection in addition to more than
8500 volumes of books in its main campus and learning centres nationwide. The university’s
digital library provides access to more than 40,000 titles in e-books and
18,000 titles in e-journals respectively. Other than OUM, MMU, University of
Malaya and Universiti Sains Malaysia are among the universities that provide
e-book services in their campus libraries. Newly opened Kuala Lumpur Library
has also purchased and subscribed to e-books, while other institutions such as
the National Library provides ebooks services, although not on a very large
scale (Primalani, 2004).


On the other hand,
results from some studies suggest that involvement with computers, through the
use of electronic content and other new technologies, can promote positive
attitudes towards learning and higher achievement among learners (Espinosa
& Chen, 2001; McCreary, Ehrich & Lisanti, 2001). Studies also showed
that computer-based learning tools lead to significant gains in learners’
performance in reading, mathematics, computer knowledge, and grammar (Shields
& Behram, 2000).