This chapter was published as

Freeman, Robert S., and E. Stewart Saunders. 2016. “E-Book Reading Practices in Different Subject Areas: An Exploratory Log Analysis.” In Academic E-Books: Publishers, Librarians, and Users, ed. by Suzanne M. Ward, Robert S. Freeman, and Judith M. Nixon. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press: 223-248.

Title available from Purdue University Press.


Print books pose inherent difficulties for researchers who want to observe users’ natural in-book reading patterns. With e-books and logs of their use it is now possible to track several aspects of users’ interactions inside e-books, including the number and duration of their sessions with an e-book and the order in which pages are viewed. This chapter reports on a study of one-year of EBL user log data from Purdue University to identify different reading patterns or ways in which users navigate within different types of e-books—authored monographs vs. edited collections--and in e-books in different subject areas. The analysis of reading logs for e-books is still very much a new venture. From this perspective the results of this chapter are exploratory and descriptive, rather than conclusive, and as much about the evolution of workable methodologies as they are about the results of the analysis. Log analysis reveals nothing about users’ circumstances or intentions; however, in tandem with usability studies, and studies based on surveys, diaries, and interviews, it can contribute to a more objective understanding of users’ interactions with e-books.


e-books, users, reading patterns, log analysis, academic libraries

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