Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Book in its Context

When a book is in the library, the library catalogue is a key part of its context. This is even more true for digital books, where there is little opportunity for users to find out about the books except through searching the catalogue.

Last week we realised that we could enable a small change which helps digital books to appear in a better context in the library catalogue. The goal is to help librarians to include a link in the catalogue which takes the reader straight to the digital book, and in the case where the library has subscribed to several titles from Exact Editions it should be immediately obvious to the user which magazine or book they will be searching/reading:




It would be even better if the library Catalogue contained an image of the front cover which linked to the login page.

Many libraries now offer these links from front cover image as a way in. We will need to find an easy way to broadcast to librarians the availability of these login shortcuts. For the users its an important cue that we have provided the subtle 'branding' that goes with the individual book or magazine title. So the user is guided as to the specific part of the library's Exact Editions account that they are using. Preserving the branding and using the front cover of individual titles is an important part of the Exact Editions philosophy. The platform should encourage books and magazines to sustain their individual character in the digital domain.

Putting a book or a magazine in its right digital context is a matter of bringing out its digital identity, and of developing its character.

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