CAUL Advisory Committees

Realising the innovative potential of digital research methods: a call from the research community.

As announced at the LIBER Conference in Riga, LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries, along with 17 other International library and research organisations, have issued an open letter to Elsevier.

The letter requests that Elsevier withdraw its TDM policy because it places unfair restrictions on how researchers can mine content to which they have legal access to and how they disseminate the results of their research.

The letter is available here:

It is open to further signatories, so please disseminate amongst your networks! Individuals or organisations wishing to sign the letter should forward their details and logo on to me:


Filed under: Electronic Information Resources, eTexts, General, Open Education, Research

edX partnership with Vital Source announced

The nonprofit online learning initiative edX has announced a new partnership with Vital Source Technologies Inc., an e-textbook platform that will work on behalf of edX members to acquire and host free textbooks for edX courses. The partnership is intended to make it easier for edX members to acquire e-textbook content for inclusion in edX courses, including MOOCs.

Filed under: eTexts, MOOCs

Textbook Publishers Push to Provide Full Digital-Learning Experience

In his latest Chronicle Technology column, Steve Kolowich looks at textbook publishers’ move into learning management system territory, combining textbooks and related content with course delivery platforms. Full article here.

Filed under: eTexts

Free Digital-Textbook Venture at Rice U. Adds Users and Titles

Megan O’Neil from Wired Campus reports on OpenStax College, which just added a sixth title to its free online textbook initiative. OpenStax texts have been adopted for 319 classes at 297 colleges and universities. The initiative aims to save a million students a total of $95 million in textbook costs over its first five years.

Full article:

Filed under: eTexts

Google Play Books for iOS Now Rents Textbooks

See on – e-books

Google’s recent update to its Google Play Books app for iOS brings only a handful of improvements, but one of them is pretty significant. During its press event a couple of week…

See on

Filed under: eTexts, Learning & Teaching, ,

Understanding What Higher Education Needs from E-Textbooks

Twenty-three colleges and universities collaborated with Internet2, EDUCAUSE, the publisher McGraw-Hill, and the e-textbook platform provider Courseload to deliver free digital versions of textbooksto over 5,000 students and faculty in 393 undergraduate and graduate courses with a median class size of 28. The pilot shed light not just on the usabilityof McGraw-Hill textbooks in Courseload but more broadly on the value of digital materials in higher education at this time.

Susan Grajek. Understanding What Higher Education Needs from E-Textbooks: An EDUCAUSE/Internet2 Pilot(Research Report). Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, June 2013

Ralph Kiel
University Librarian
Victoria University


Filed under: eTexts

Choosing and Using Texbooks

An interesting article from July 24, 2013 by: Maryellen Weimer, PhD in Teaching Professor Blog, asks lots of questions about textbooks including:

If what’s presented in class is also covered in the book, do students need both? Why? Do we present the concepts and use the book to support them with examples? Or is it the reverse? Do we hold students responsible for mastering the basics presented in the textbook and use class time to explore topics more deeply or to work on knowledge application? What do we, as teachers, do better than the book? Where does the book trump our efforts? How does the relationship change when the course is online? Should students understand the relationship between the material presented in class and the content covered in the textbook?

Ralph Kiel
University Librarian


Filed under: eTexts

Coursera, Publisher Pilot Offers Licensed Content to MOOC Students


By Meredith Schwartz, in Library Journal, May 9, 2013 

Beginning May 8, instructors providing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) via Coursera will have the option to supplement their video lectures with content from major academic publishers Cengage LearningMacmillan Higher EducationOxford University PressSAGE Publications,and Wiley, at no cost to their students.

And that’s just the beginning: “Coursera is also actively discussing pilot agreements and related alliances with Springer and additional publishers,” the company said in a statement.

Full article:


Filed under: eTexts, MOOCs

An Overview of the Textbook Market and Strategies to Reduce Costs

A slideshare presentation by Nicole Allen, November 2012: [] An interesting, and at times provocative presentation about the costs of eTexts from the student’s perspective and a plug for good ole OER (Open Educational Resources).

Filed under: eTexts

Textbooks of the Future: will you be buying a product…..or a Service? While using the subject of eTexts in the school environment, this report points to some very relevant factors to consider in this space: cost is not the issue any more, the complicated ownership of some digital content, dependence on certain devices to access content, what is being purchased is no longer a “free standing product”, but a “time bounded service”, problem of accessing content once contracts have expired, etc.

Filed under: eTexts