The Survey of Library Database Licensing Practices, 2014-15 edition

This report from the Primary Research Group published recently, focuses on the database licensing practices of research libraries with data presented separately for legal, corporate, higher education and other libraries.  The study presents up to date data on database spending broken out by type of information vehicle (eBook, Journals Database, Other Periodicals Database, Directory, etc.) and by subject matter (i.e. legal, medical, business, etc.)

The report looks closely at how libraries organize their database procurement and processing bureaucracy, pinpointing the number of positions devoted to digital information, and staff time spent on tasks such as procurement and invoice processing.  The report is particularly rich in data about negotiations with vendors, presenting data separately for efforts to negotiate various issues such as interlibrary loan provisions, access to archives in the event of cancellation, timing of payments, price increases, provisions for credits in the event of downtime, extent of hard copy printouts allowed, and much more.

Among other issues covered: database renewal intentions, testing of new databases, view of price increases, use of open access resources, spending on “by the slice” electronic info in lieu of subscriptions, relations with consortia, the impact of mobile computing on electronic info use in the library, use of legal help in contracts, data on legal disputes with publishers and trends in overall database use.

Just a few of this 145 page report’s many findings are that:

•          The libraries in the sample spent a mean of $917,897 on database licenses in 2013. Spending by libraries in the sample on databases rose considerably in 2014 to a mean of $997,709, or an annual increase of approximately 8.7%.

•          The mean number of digital information licenses maintained by the libraries in the sample in 2013 was a mean of 68.6 with a median of 30; the range was 0 to 320.

•          25.3% of the libraries sample had tried to negotiate over the extent of hard copy printouts allowed.

•          College and university libraries had the most success in negotiating price reductions when data shows declining use of a database; 8.33% of them said that they were often successful and another 37.5% were successful occasionally in negotiating price reductions in these circumstances.

•          The survey participants used lawyers from within or outside of their organizations for contract review or disputes for a mean of only 18.58 hours in the past year.

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