OhioLINK brings its Electronic Book Center into the 21st century

Jan 6, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio – OhioLINK, Ohio’s statewide academic library consortium, has partnered with BiblioBoard to implement a major update to its electronic book platform. Released December 30th, the modernized Electronic Book Center (EBC) provides an improved user experience, including digital accessibility, and mobile compatibility. BiblioBoard technology supports user-friendly browsing, searching, list-making, note-taking, bookmarking, online reading, and downloading of e-books and e-chapters on a variety of devices. The EBC’s 180,000 e-books can be accessed via any web connection to support scholarly research, and also can be used by faculty as no-cost textbooks to reduce the financial burden of attending college. Students and faculty downloaded OhioLINK’s e-books more than 13 million times in 2020.

“The current virtual learning environment, with potentially limited access to library print books, has underscored the importance of making OhioLINK’s e-books easy to use,” said OhioLINK Executive Director Amy Pawlowski. “BiblioBoard delivers great e-book interactions and we think users will be very happy.” User feedback from two Beta test periods  was incorporated into the December 30 release.

User experience has changed significantly since OhioLINK developed the EBC in 2003—when all access was through a desktop computer. Students’ expectations are now shaped by ubiquitous consumer technology, such as Netflix, Amazon, and mobile apps. Authenticated users can access the EBC via all major browsers and mobile apps available on iOS 8+, Android 4+ and Kindle Fire HD.

Since online access to such library content is now the norm, expanding inclusivity through digital accessibility was a critically important aspect of the update. BiblioBoard’s platform is Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 compliant, and accommodates all users, regardless of hearing, sight, movement, or cognitive abilities. Examples of digital accessibility include offering text or audio alternatives for graphics or images, allowing use of the keyboard instead of a cursor, and compatibility with assistive technologies.

“We have always prioritized simplicity and user experience,” said BiblioLabs CEO Mitchell Davis. The Charleston, SC-based company serves many kinds of libraries and statewide consortia through its award-winning BiblioBoard technology. Davis challenges publishers to produce e-book content that utilizes all the interactive features that digital technology such as BiblioBoard can enable. “E-books can offer readers a much more engaging reading experience than static print pages, such as sharing links to related information and video,” Davis said.

All e-book collections from the legacy EBC are available in the updated platform, as well as new content from Wiley and Springer Protocols (for OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center subscribers). In addition to adding user friendly features, the move to the new platform improves OhioLINK’s ability to manage its shared e-book content so that all its locally owned e-books are in sync with OhioLINK’s Central Catalog and the publishers’ sites. BiblioBoard’s robust infrastructure and graphical user interface also will be regularly updated to ensure users have access to the latest technology.

The Electronic Book Center (EBC) is only one of OhioLINK’s suite of digital library resources that support higher education students and faculty with e-books, scholarly electronic journal articles, databases, and open access theses and dissertations. OhioLINK’s theses and dissertation platform also is undergoing a major update that will be completed in summer 2021.

Additional technical information for OhioLINK member library staff can be found here on OhioLINK’s intranet, Ostaff (log-in required).

About OhioLINK: Connecting libraries, learning and discovery.

Established in 1992, the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) is Ohio’s statewide academic library consortium, serving 88 institutions plus the State Library of Ohio. Delivering both IT infrastructure and content negotiation, OhioLINK provides students, researchers, faculty, and staff with access to valuable digital research collections at a fraction of the cost if those collections were purchased by individual institutions. OhioLINK also connects library services, print and digital collections among its member institutions and manages collaborative services aimed at reducing students’ cost of higher education in Ohio, including eTutoring and Affordable Learning. A member of the Ohio Technology Consortium of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, OhioLINK creates a competitive advantage for its member institutions and supports student and researcher success across Ohio. Learn more at ohiolink.edu.

About BiblioBoard

BiblioLabs, LLC is a hybrid software-media company dedicated to keeping libraries at the forefront of their communities in an increasingly digital age. BiblioLabs offers patrons unlimited, simultaneous use access through BiblioBoard, and provides tools that empower libraries to thrive as influential centers for creative community engagement. In addition to the variety of licensed content available through BiblioBoard for libraries, schools, cultural institutions, and organizations, we also offer BiblioBoard Open Access, a service available to everyone, regardless of their local library. BiblioBoard Open Access boasts a growing assortment of rich historical and locally curated multimedia content as well as high-quality Open Access content and Open Educational Resources. Featuring interesting digital exhibits and collections from a wide range of partners, BiblioBoard Open Access ensures global access to this content all with unlimited uses and no restrictions. Learn more at BiblioBoard.com