Foreign-language ebooks

When we talk about Cambridge’s amazing ebook collections, we often think only of their English-language content – yet there is a great deal of foreign-language material available too.  The growth of institutional ebook availability has varied in the languages and countries that our department, Collections and Academic Liaison (CAL), deals with.  Costs can also vary enormously (some ebooks cost nearly four times the print version while others can be far closer to the print price), but we are always happy to include ebooks in our language accessions as much as possible.  This post provides a brief summary of major bought and open access ebook providers and packages in CAL’s languages.

Images from De Gruyter

A large number of German ebooks on HASS and STEMM subjects are available through De Gruyter, alongside many English ones.  De Gruyter is an EBA scheme, whereby money is paid upfront for access to all ebook titles published by De Gruyter and associated publishers for a set period of time.  At the end of that period, the money is used to purchase titles outright, based chiefly on recommendations from librarians and usage.  The De Gruyter scheme is paid for jointly by CAL’s English and German budgets.  German also features heavily, as does French, in the Peter Lang database.

Torrossa is a mediated PDA scheme through which many thousands of Italian publications chiefly relevant to HASS are available for the reader to request via iDiscover.  To activate full-text access, users must click on the lightbulb icon in the relevant Torrossa record and submit a request which will be received by Bettina, our Italian specialist, from whose budget purchases are made.  You can read her post on this blog about activating purchases by clicking here.  The Firenze University Press open access resource also provides access to many Italian titles.

Images from Torrossa

Our subscription to Digitalia, paid for from CAL’s Spanish budget, provides readers with access to tens of thousands of Spanish ebooks (and also several thousand ejournals).  Digitalia’s content comes from publishers in Spain and Latin America.  The subscription model is under discussion at the moment, as the Spanish and Portuguese team in CAL consider options for the permanent purchase of certain titles and also explore other platforms.

Dedicated French bought ebook schemes have not so far been found to offer the kind of quality of material that we would consider worth using, although individual French titles are available in some of the other, largely non-French schemes we have (such as Peter Lang).  French material is predominant, however, in the multi-lingual open access collection OpenEdition Books and Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

In terms of Russian ebooks, we are in conversations with suppliers about the various possibilities they offer.  As with the French (and with all languages), it is vital that we spend our money on products which are right for Cambridge.  Watch this space!

Images from Digitalia

While this piece focuses on the main languages dealt with by CAL, it is only fair to mention also the significant Chinese ebook holdings available through the apabi Digital Library, Arabic ebooks available through Kotorabia, and Japanese ebooks provided through the Japan Knowledge Library.

Finally, we should also mention the Directory of Open Access Books, which contains thousands of titles in a great variety of languages.

For full lists of bought and open access providers, please see the excellent ebooks@cambridge LibGuide: https://libguides.cam.ac.uk/ebookscam

Do please note that, while the authenticated links embedded above take you straight into each scheme’s database, the titles available through them can normally also be found in iDiscover.

Mel Bach, with help from many others.  This blog post is taken from our latest newsletter, which can be found here: https://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/files/cal_newsletter_easter_2019_.pdf

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