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Librarians' Questions for Providers

SERU: Shared Electronic Resource Understanding

There are several issues which libraries may want to discuss with the e-resource provider. The answers to these questions can be documented in the purchase order or via e-mail, depending on your institution’s and the provider’s preferences.

The questions you ask, of course, will depend on the nature of the acquisition and your library’s specific situation (i.e. a library may prefer to use its own Authorized user definition if the provider agrees). Not all libraries will care about the same issues, so it’s helpful to create your own list of questions that are important to your institution.

Some sample questions:

Acquisition Details:

  • What is being acquired?
  • By subscription or purchase?
  • Who is my contact at the provider for product, invoicing and access questions?

Business Model:

  • Is perpetual access guaranteed for journal subscriptions? For e-book purchases? If so, how? (LOCKSS? Portico PCA? Other?)
  • What journal back issues are included beyond the years paid for, if any, and does perpetual access extend to that content?
  • How many users are allowed?
  • How often will statistics be delivered and in what format?
  • Is ILL possible for eBooks right now? If so, how? Chapters? Whole books? Is my library’s current practice for e-books ILL OK (describe your ILL process)?
  • How long is the eBook check out period? Any automatic constraints? (i.e. Minimum check out of 2 weeks, not less.) Can it be customized/changed?
  • Are there any maximum number of eBook views per year? Are there any “automatic” purchases/upgrades triggered by turnaways?
  • If e-book downloading is allowed, is it possible to block a book from download? If there are a limited number of users, can one copy be made “non-downloadable”?
  • Is use by distance education programs allowed?

Acquiring Institution:

(when you have institutionally specific variations from the norm)

  • Is the library’s site definition OK? (describe your site) (i.e. Marine Institutes are located on the coast, and not necessarily contiguously to the main campus though not separately administered; publishers will frequently considered them part of the institution’s single site definition)
  • Is my library’s authorized user definition OK? (include your library's standard definition).
  • Is remote access for alumni allowed if they are appropriately authenticated?