The growth of e-book collections at South African academic libraries : a case study of the Western Cape

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Libraries are still unsure of the value e-books can add to their collections and subsequently to their users’ research. E-book integration into library collections is made difficult by complicated purchasing and lending models and ever-changing technological requirements. Additionally, it is unclear what exactly library users want from their e-books. In this study, research into the obstacles facing the growth of academic library e-book collections was carried out by reviewing the literature on the topic, found in print and electronic reference works, monographs and journals, and on blogs and websites. Secondly, an investigation was conducted into patrons’ attitudes to e-books, their current use of e-books, and their expectations of e-books in their libraries, to examine the current and potential use of e-books at South African university libraries. The investigation employed both qualitative and quantitative research methods to discover library users’ attitudes towards e-books. Surveys were run on the campuses of the four universities in the Western Cape of South Africa. A sample of potential participants, totalling 1,539 staff members and 45,849 students, was invited to participate in the survey via email or a website link. Data was collected by means of a self-administered, online questionnaire distributed using SurveyMonkey software.

Includes bibliographical references.