The Benefits of Digital Books for Museum Research and Training

Jul 17

Uniquely digital features - such as searching, sharing and citing - provide important advantages in an academic context, says Adam Hodgkin, Chairman of our digital partner Exact Editions.

The MuseumsEtc Collection of books is distributed through the Exact Editions platform for digital reading. This format beats eBook software, as found on the Kindle or iBooks readers, in four ways that matter in research and teaching:

  1. All the content is delivered exactly as it is in print.
  2. Each print page is also a web page and is therefore easily cited. 
  3. The collection can be easily searched as a group of books.
  4. The licensing is for the whole institution and allows for unlimited reading by simultaneous users.

Replicated page by page
All the content in the print books has been exactly replicated, page by page, on the digital platform. So, the layout, the illustrations, the exact text, the pagination, the typographic format and even the front covers will be found in the digital books. The digital version should be indistinguishable from the printed version:

Digital pagination is exactly as in print pagination. Each and every page on the digital platform has its own URL (as does every double-page spread), so the book can be easily cited or linked to, students can provide links as references in their assignments and lecture notes can be given as click-through links. Pages can be shared through social media and readers can be confident that they are seeing exactly what would be seen in the print book. As every page is a distinct digital object with its own URL, it is easy for other apps - such as Twitter - to target the content.

Powerful, fast searching
All the books in a collection can be searched as a group or individually. This brings out the advantages of a curated body of content such as the MuseumsEtc collection, where readers may well be interested in the way that a topic is treated in other sources. The searching function is similar to, and as easy to use as, the Google search routines. Boolean search functions are also supported. A search for "interactivity", for example, delivers over 120 detailed results:

User statistics
The MuseumsEtc Digital Collection is licensed annually on a subscription basis to both individuals and institutions. The individual license allows for use on the web and through the Exactly app (available for iOS and Android devices) for downloadable use on tablets or phones. Institutional licenses are priced on a campus-wide basis and allow unlimited and simultaneous use by all members of the institution. New content is added automatically to collections as the content becomes available and libraries are provided with user statistics and comprehensive online support.





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