Higher Education student pathways to ebook usage and engagement, and understanding: Highways and cul de sacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



External departments

  • Durham University


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-619
JournalJournal of Librarianship and Information Science
Issue number2
Early online date16 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ebooks have enthusiastically been adopted by academic libraries, viewed as a golden bullet by library professionals, resulting in efficient resource use, space saving, student satisfaction, and accommodating millennial generation study habits.

A small scale online survey undertaken at Northumbria and Durham Universities investigated students’ ebook use, examining; aspects of learning ebooks support, searching strategies, devices used for ebook access, and reading and use strategies. Ninety-two responses were analysed using a mixed methods approach.

Despite many advantages of ebooks including portability, availability, functionality, and searching, results demonstrated sentiment regarding ebooks was not wholly positive. There were frustrations regarding the complexity of ebook provision, publisher’s restrictions, and the lack of compatibility with reading devices. A key finding related to ebook interrogation which involved greater targeted searching of content, and a ‘bite-size’ approach to reading.

Caution must be observed to ensure that library collections facilitate a complexity of learning styles, and provide opportunities for students to better digest content.

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