One of the greatest success stories in terms of online learning has been the deployment by content aggregators of large libraries of online books for access by an organisation’s employees on a just-in-time basis. Online books are not there to be read from cover to cover; these are authoritative reference works that can provide quick answers to topical problems. The most successful applications of online books so far have been for IT professionals. Apart from the obvious use of reference sources for troubleshooting, programmers using services such as Books24x7 commonly copy code directly from the books to paste into their applications. Other popular domains include finance, marketing and law.
Online books are:
- at their best when highly relevant to the job, are authoritative works, up-to-date, easily searchable;
- best avoided when theoretical rather than practical, poorly indexed.