12 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
Purchasing/Licensing E-resources through
The survey next asked about the process for purchas-
ing or licensing e-resources through a consortium.
The 73 respondents indicated that they belong to be-
tween one and five different kinds of consortia to ac-
quire or license commercially available e-resources.
The vast majority (90%) belongs to a research library
consortium, such as GWLA, NERL, OCUL, etc. Most
also belong to a state-wide/province-wide multi-type
library consortium (73%) or a regional multi-type li-
brary consortium (70%). Fewer belong to a university
system consortium (32%) or a national consortium
(19%). Three respondents also work through a law or
medical library consortium.
All but two of 72 respondents belong to at least
one consortium “for the primary purpose of acquir-
ing commercially available e-resources.” The mean
number of memberships per institution is 3.18.
Number of Consortia Responses
1 8
2 15
3 22
4 11
5 5
6 7
7 2
Consortia Purchasing/Licensing: Identifying and
Evaluating New E-resources
For the next set of questions the survey asked respon-
dents to base their answers on the one consortium
through which their library spends the most on e-
resources. Respondents indicated that they use a
mixture of methods to identify new e-resources for
purchase or licensing within the consortium. Most
frequently, a consortium member suggests a product
or vendors submit proposals. It is also common that a
consortium manager or consortium group/commit-
tee identifies prospects. One respondent described an
annual bibliographer survey that is vetted by one or
more system-wide committees.
Likewise, a mixture of individuals and groups
are responsible for evaluating new e-resource(s) for
purchase or licensing. In most cases, it is the joint
responsibility of individual consortium members
and consortium staff, frequently in conjunction with
a group of consortium members dedicated to the
evaluation of potential purchases. In a few cases, it
is solely the role of a dedicated evaluation group or
consortium staff.
Within the library, responsibility for the evalua-
tion of new e-resources is broadly distributed, with
a slight distinction between multidisciplinary vs.
discipline/subject-specific purchases. The evalua-
tion of multidisciplinary products is most often the
responsibility of all selectors and/or the chief collec-
tion development officer (67% of respondents). For
evaluation of discipline/subject-specific resources, the
primary parties shift to selectors with relevant subject
expertise/responsibility (90%) and the chief collection
development officer (62%). Lesser involvement was in-
dicated for an e-resources working group/team/com-
mittee (34 respondents) and only 18 respondents have
dedicated selector(s) for e-resources. One respondent
noted that “we have not had an ‘e-resource evaluation
team’ in years. This is probably unfortunate.”
Twenty-nine respondents identified another indi-
vidual or group from virtually all organizational ar-
eas of academic research libraries, including reference
librarians, academic liaisons, bibliographers, technical
services resource librarians, deans, and directors. In
addition, faculty and students also have a part in the
decision-making processes.
Consortia Purchasing/Licensing: Selection Criteria
This section of the survey addressed the importance
to libraries of various selection criteria and licensing
terms when evaluating e-resources for consortial pur-
chase/licensing. It also covered the activities that are
part of the assessment process.
Respondents were asked to rate a list of 17 selec-
tion criteria on a five-point scale ranging from Not at
All Important to Deal Breaker. Cost was chosen as a
deal breaker by half of the respondents and as very
important or important by the other half. Apart from
cost, there was little consensus on what constituted a
deal breaker. Only compatibility with library systems,
chosen by 17 respondents (24%), was rated as a deal
breaker by more than 5% of respondents. The next
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