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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship Summer 1997

Conference Reports

STS Heads of Science Libraries Discussion Group

Julia Gelfand
Library
University of California, Irvine

Notes from meeting at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco on Sunday, June 26, 1997

24 persons attended the session which was held after the STS Conference Reception. Two major topics related to Electronic Publishing and Dissemination were the focus, and two invited facilitators participated.

I. Julia Gammon, Head of Acquisitions, University of Akron and also Marketing Manager for the University of Akron Press spoke about the role of license agreements for electronic products in libraries today.

Different models exist in academic libraries for reveiwing license agreements; generally, review is done either in campus legal departments or within the library. Personnel in some libraries have developed specialized expertise due to the increased volume of electronic license agreements, and in some cases new positions have been justified. If legal counsel on a campus is used, the personal responsibility of all parties needs to be defined.

Ann Okerson has coined license agreements as "cocaine offers" from publishers. The agreements are contracts that are negotiated between willing buyers and sellers, where the library is the buyer, and the publisher or information producer is the seller. Access to the product is what is negotiated and can include some or all of the following elements:

Hints in negotiating agreements:

  1. Be assertive regarding method of access
  2. Clearly define authorized users and extend assertiveness
  3. Specify Site Definition - by buildings, locations by geography measured in miles, by city/county, branch campuses or provisions for distance learning/education
  4. Indicate anticipated volume of use
  5. Specify uses for the product: archiving, ILL, Coursepacks where the material is destroyed or erased at the end of the academic term,
  6. Deals may be negotiated by combining products or with specific cancellations
  7. OPAC records should indicate that licenses exist for specific records and should state that license agreements are available for public viewing

The OhioLink experience of consortial vs independent campus buying of Elsevier's paper & electronic subscriptions with a 3-year commitment was described.

Issues and questions regarding the use of passwords:

  1. How does this scale - what principles of choice are there for access?
  2. What is in the user's best interests? Policing use should be refused as a library-activity.
  3. Keep in mind that not everyone in a consortia needs to accept the offer.
  4. Copyright and multimedia access

II. The second facilitator was Chet Grycz, retired from the Office of the President, University of California, and currently a consultant in the publishing industry and library environments.

His remarks touched on several themes:

Several issues need to be indentified:

  1. archiving
  2. the fact that each experiment has different participants and thus different expectations

What publishers need to do:

  1. Realize that advertising revenue in journals changes dramatically in electronic environment;
  2. Realize that subscriptions are not only generating income by personal and institutional sales but also by increased new services from the publisher, such as the potential for:
    1. Faculty discussion groups
    2. Responding to discipline specific trends
    3. Validating and authenticating information and content
    4. Offering document delivery options direct
    5. Making better sense of economic models

Three "publishing clients" were described, each disguised and demonstrating unique issues - (the competition is not each other, but new organizations to publishing), who are taking on the new issues in scholarly communication and responding to what readers and publishers want. Some of the considerations include:

Grycz described these 3 clients as:

Regarding all three of these clients, there are related issues:

Libraries are likely to be a filtering environment, and the emerging models will be hybrid, containing different and economic aspects that work.

The next discussion group will be Sunday, January 11, 1998 in New Orleans following the Discussion Group's dinner at an appointed restaurant near the meeting place.

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