University of Stirling

On the 27th January 2011 a use case meeting was held at the University of Stirling. The documentation is available as a pdf, and the team at Stirling wrote a short summary of the meeting from their point of view.

We have a strong commitment to providing material in electronic form and the issues relating to licensing, budgeting and, crucially, collection management have been at the forefront of discussions at Stirling for some time. As we have not yet implemented the ERM module of our LMS, we are very interested in the possibilities that may accrue from a shared service.

A small team of staff is looking at the project here: Mark Toole, the Director of Information Services, Colin Sinclair, Library Content Manager and Sonia Wilson, Serials and Eresources Librarian. Prior to the visit from David and Ken, we considered the use cases and selected 5 areas that caused us significant “pain”. On reflection, we bit off rather more than we could chew and were able to collate our thoughts on 3 of the areas – relating to the purchase of ebooks , moving subscriptions to consortium deals and the gathering of usage statistics. In what proved an interesting and wide ranging discussion on the 27th of Jan, we focussed on the issues relating to moving subs to consortium deals.

This area has a particular angle for Scottish university libraries as a result of the SHEDL initiative which has successfully delivered extensive new content to Scottish HEIs from a range of publishers including CUP, OUP, Springer, Berg and others. The key differential between SHEDL and NESLI deals is that SHEDL is not an “opt-in” deal, we commit to the deal up front, publishers get a guaranteed income, a three year (typically) commitment and a reduced admin overhead (one bill not several) and we get additional content. We also reflected on the type of licence that an e-content licence is and how closely they mirror licences we sign for software, for example.

Stirling has benefited greatly from the SHEDL initiative, as seen in the increased use of the content our users can now access. In terms of managing the resources, it has had financial implications, both in terms of the amount we spend in this way and how we arrange our budgets. It also affects what we do with the related print content. Our discussion ever speculated on how we might make more efficient use of university finance systems and speed the process of ordering and “switching on” e-access. Maybe we got a little bit carried away.

Our discussions on ebooks, while somewhat shorter, were no less interesting. The buying process at Stirling is driven by the consortial purchasing framework which selects from three ebook vendors. Our processes are still fluid in this area, but managing a procurement process that requires a mini-competition poses some challenges. We long for the day when we can gather details of availability and price for ebooks content from all aggregators and publishers from a single location, comparethe(ebook)market .com? Not as all simples.

We look forward to sharing our experiences and thoughts with other libraries taking part in the project.