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Report: "Selling/Acquiring Electronic Information:
A Dialog about Best Practices"

Sponsored by the Society for Scholarly Publishing
September 17, 1998 in Washington, DC

by Rachel Allen

Session 1: "The Decision to Acquire: Customer Decision Process"
Nancy Gibbs, Acting Head Acquisitions, N.C. State University Libraries

Session 2: "Technology and the Aggregator: Technical Issues"
Connie Kelly, Acquisitions Librarian/Contract Manager, U. of Virginia

Session 3: "Negotiating with Institutions and Consortia: Licensing"
Sarah Sully, Intellectual Property Licensing Attorney, JSTOR

Session 4: "Implementation and Renewal: Implementation and Marketing"
Jacqueline Trolley, Director Corporate Communications, Institute for Scientific Information



Session 1: "The Decision to Acquire: Customer Decision Process"
Nancy Gibbs, Acting Head Acquisitions, N.C. State University Libraries

In this first session, the two speakers covered the purchase decision from a university librarian's perspective and marketing decisions from an electronic publisher's perspective.

"The Decision to Acquire: Customer Decision Process"
Nancy Gibbs, Acting Head Acquisitions, N.C. State University Libraries

7.2 million collections budget (mostly in science, engineering, technology) with 70% of budget devoted to serials

100+ databases and 400+ electronic subscriptions

Stresses complexity of electronic acquisition vs. simplicity of book acquisitions; licensing involves moredepartments, such as systems, legal, networking, training, all of which must partner for a successful acquisition and implementation.

Further complication due to state procurement process with fiscal year deadlines and requirements to implement in same year as purchased. Additional decision making complication arises in a consortial situation increasing the amount of time required for making a decision.

She concluded by summarizing things both customers and vendors should do for more effective relations:

    - Customers should provide single contact for vendor, finalize all decisions before ordering (# users, how access, equipment, how to pay, licensing issues), written statement of technical requirements and technical contacts.

    -Vendors should provide user statistics, provide contacts for licensing, technical support, and legal issues, understand the academic budget cycle.

Handouts: overheads, "Electronic Resources Shepherding Form" a decision-making sign-off form, sample page from action ledger, example of technical contact and information for vendor

"The Decision to Acquire: Marketing Electronic Information"
Claire Wyckoff, Electronic Marketing Manager, Columbia U. Press

Her presentation focused on issues faced by a publisher of electronic products, using CIAO, Columbia International Affairs Online, as an example.

Market Research: choice of software for the particular audience, setting the price, customer feedback (emphasis on focus groups).

Reference to Library Journal (September issue) for article on pricing models.

Creating the package: design, branding, choice of domain name, good, workable license agreement.

Promoting your site: PR, advertising, direct mail, exhibits, links, sampling (giving away a preview), brand recognition (cites Oxford English Dictionary), awards, customer endorsements.

Handouts: overheads, CIAO fact sheets, Columbia U. Press PR that demonstrates brand recognition

Session 2: "Technology and the Aggregator: Technical Issues"
Connie Kelly, Acquisitions Librarian/Contract Manager, U. of Virginia

This session included a librarian and an aggregator who spoke about the role of the aggregator and technical issues that the library faces.

"Technology and the Aggregator: Technical Issues"
Connie Kelly, Acquisitions Librarian/Contract Manager, U. of Virginia

Is it worth the cost? Factors to consider include infrastructure, technical support, and user expectations.

Advantages/disadvantages of web subscription vs. local mounting

    - web is easy to use, familiar
    - web server not within your control for downtime, etc.
    - mission critical resources should be mounted locally

Discusses authentication issues; need for simple-to-use, cheap authentication process that can facilitate access when and where needed for licensed users.

Reference to Clifford Lynch white paper on authentication to be found at www.cni.org. See also the PEAK project at the U.Michigan for pricing models for electronic access to be found at www.lib.umich.edu/libhome/peak.

Concluding questions:

    -Do aggregators' current offers stimulate compulsive purchase of titles you do not need?
    -Do current licensing structures deny access to legitimate users?
    -Will we be seeing fewer licensors of more and more expensive resources?

"Technology and the Aggregator: The Technology Solution"
Ron Akie, CEO, SilverPlatter

Discusses the role of the aggregator (or aggravator, jokingly called)

For the customer, the aggregator or integrator, provides ongoing value, fulfills key needs for a total integrated solution.

For the provider, the aggregator provides greater distribution, technology in different formats, enhanced data or search functionality, administrative savings in ordering and distribution.

Aggregator serves key customer needs in Acquisitions, Product Functionality, and Technical issues.

In product functionality, the aggregator:

    - enhances by common interface or cross database searching
    - provides access options, such as local host, internet, back-ups
    - facilitates administration through user statistics, user authentication, ease of updating
    - help the library build integrated linked knowledge environments (OPAC, full text, document delivery, and ILL)

To a question about pricing, Akie responded that it is basically all customized pricing as there are so many variables for each site.

Session 3: "Negotiating with Institutions and Consortia: Licensing"
Sarah Sully, Intellectual Property Licensing Attorney, JSTOR

This session, with three speakers, covered licensing terms and conditions, pricing and pricing models.

"Negotiating with Institutions and Consortia: Licensing"
Sarah Sully, Intellectual Property Licensing Attorney, JSTOR

Recommends keeping licenses simple, really clarifying what is essential and removing the rest, eschewing legalese. See the JSTOR license at www.jstor.org.

Key to efficient licensing is to clearly define scope: product or rights involved, uses authorized, geographic area or territory, duration. Leave pricing schedules to the business office, do not include in the license.

Some examples of JSTOR terms in key areas:

    - authorized users are "all faculty, staff, and students, plus walk-ins." This simple statement takes care of remote access and distance learning. Campus complexity in terms of size, number of students, etc. can be taken care of in the pricing schedule.
    - policing = reasonable efforts. JSTOR uses a "click wrap" user agreement that puts the onus on the user, not the librarian.
    - interlibrary loans. Okay with print copy in accordance with CONFU guidelines, but not electronic transmission.

Examples of terms JSTOR has abandoned; things you cannot change.

    - Use of name (see specific language in the JSTOR license)
    - Jurisdiction and venue
    - Indemnification (has dropped; content to rely on common law; if you don't indemnify me, I won't indemnify you)

There was a lengthy side-track discussion about Draft Article 2B of the Uniform Commercial Code, section 107, as it affects jurisdiction and other issues that librarians should be aware of. See www.SoftwareIndustry.org/issues/guide.

When asked to provide advice about foreign licensing, she responded that it was essential to include an "escape clause" so that either party can escape the agreement at the drop of a hat. We simply don't know what directions intellectual property will take in other countries.

"Negotiating with Institutions and Consortia: Pricing"
Marietta Plank, Assoc.Director for Technical Services, U. Md. Libraries

This talk outlined some university library requirements re. licenses. As background, Plank noted static library budgets that currently contain no factor for inflation, much less increased expenses brought on by electronic publication.

Likes the model of serial subscriptions and would like to have similar purchasing agents for bulk acquisitions and renewal. It is inefficient to do on a title by title basis.

Consortial purchases can reduce price and reduce processing.

Endorses licensing principles that support fair use, open access (with appropriate authorization), and that simplify the process. How to know what is a fair price if all pricing is custom based? See the Association of Research Libraries principles for licensing electronic resources at www.arl.org.

Handouts: overheads

"Negotiating with Institutions and Consortia: Pricing"
Susan B. Hillson, consultant, Dimension Enterprises, Inc.

Hillson reported on the pricing models considered by over 200 participants in NASIG, North American Serials Interest Group. Six models were most favored by participants; 11 models were considered to have higher "price tags" - more administration, greater budgeting issues.

The results from this study can be found online at www.infotoday.com/it/sep98/article3.htm.

Handouts: summary, InfoToday article

Session 4: "Implementation and Renewal: Implementation and Marketing"
Jacqueline Trolley, Director Corporate Communications, Institute for Scientific Information

This final session covered post-sales issues of technical and user support and statistical reporting.

"Implementation and Renewal: Implementation and Marketing"
Jacqueline Trolley, Director Corporate Communications, Institute for Scientific Information

This talk focused on post-sales process - the importance of technical support. "Good implementation guarantees renewal."

Post sales support includes technical support, customer education, marketing, access controls, and ISP.

Role of the vendor to provide support for the library, but the product should be marketed to users as "brought to you by your library." Keeping up with user expectation is essential.

"Implementation and Renewal: Statistics and Reports for Library Evaluation of Usage"
Jim Mullins, Director Falvey Memorial Library, Villanova University

This was a report on an ALA committee's work to come up with useful statistical measures and a standard that vendors can use to implement in their products. The result is a report called "Guidelines for Statistical Measures of Usage of Web-Based Resources." The standards are now pending approval by the ICOLC (Int'l Council of Library Consortia).

The elements that must be provided are: number of queries (searches), number of sessions (logins), number of turn-aways, number of items examined.

Each element should be delineated by the following subdivisions: by each specific database of the provider, by each institutally defined set of IP addresses /locator to subnet level, by total consortium, by special data element described by subscriber, by time period.

There were additional requirements such as protecting privacy of individual users, providing comparative statistics (in comparison to a research university of your size…), providing statistical reports on demand, online, with appropriate security so that an institution's statistical data is only reported to that institution, as well as formats that provide both tabular and graphic results.

In addition, his committee did a survey of publishers. Most do NOT provide statistics, only a few do. JSTOR has implemented the committee's guidelines and JHU's Project MUSE also provides statistics.

Speaker also noted potential pitfalls such as dependency on the vendor, vendor wants high statistics to justify renewal, data may be accumulated in non-useful format, if unclear how the data is accumulated, it's meaning may be unreliable.

Handouts: "Guidelines for Statistical Measures of usage of Web-Based Resources" (August 1998)


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