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Future of the E-book program: Changes to DDA Open Call

Brief presentation by Kristi DeShazo and Kathi Fountain. Described goals, assumptions, and options for changes.

Options include:

  1. EBA with Aggregator
  2. EBA with Publisher(s)
  3. Different DDA with EBL
  4. Publisher purchase

Question: So we currently know which publishers do this? And how many of those would be similar with our current DDA program

Answer: Have begun a review as well as received proposals that include Sage, Gale, Springer (not EBA) JSTOR, Oxford and Project muse. (Elsevier not included.)There is a desire to keep a broad swath of publishers in the e-book pool, including both university press and trade.

There are publishers interested in evidence-based acquisitions, but pricing for a consortium is complicated.

Comment: Counter argument - as titles have dropped out of academic complete or DDA - as we have cut titles, if they were really popular and close to cut off, they were purchased anyway. Local demand looking at numbers that have been picked up locally that weren’t picked up by the Alliance

Comment: The DRM isn’t listed in the options Pro/con - most aggregators have DRM and publishers do not.

Comment: Article in November 2015 “Against the Grain” (E-Book issue). Michael Levine-Clark’s article provides a good example of evidence-based acquisitions.

Comment: YBP’s GOBI offers a way to run a report of how many libraries bought titles across the consortium.

Question: What are we looking at - dropping DDA all together or lower it?

Answer: Both are on the table

Question: Is there an option better for keeping titles from disappearing their availability?

Answer: Going direct with publishers usually means we’ll have access to more titles with more stability. Aggregators have a harder time with that

Question: Has the Working Group talked about management of any of these options? Centrally managed or local management?

Answer: Every option is being looked at for the management requirement. Our goal is streamlined management.

Comment: DDA is wildly successful at (this library) but frustration when titles are pulled and then local scrambling to find $ to buy the titles that are pulled out. There is a breaking point with the local budget. What we started with (DDA) isn’t the best model. Evidence based models are better for at least a couple of the of the high use publishers in DDA, like Taylor & Francis, that are DRM free on their own platform - more content consistently, but the reason why its been pulled is that T&F doesn’t have the rights and it has disappeared.

Question: What are the publishers contracts with those who have rights - why would they have temp rights for all these books - for how long?

Answer: Should be a thing to talk about

Comment: Cons to add to moving to EBA with publishers directly: makes for additional interfaces patrons have to navigate. Want to keep platforms simple - less of them to avoid confusion.

Question for group: Multiple interfaces is the trade-off for getting an option with no DRM. Is that enough to pursue agreements which would end up with multiple interfaces?

Answer from group: Some users are used to multiple platforms because of e-journals; the most frustration has to do with the DRM. Strong agreement on this point. Prefer losing DRM than preserving single interface.

Question for group: Anything you like to see that continues what is current in place - you like about it? Things you want to remain?

Answer for one library: The hand writing on the wall about long term STL models if publishers are going to continue to play with pricing. Ran usage numbers of user selected vs DDA our numbers were what others reported with is higher use DDA than selected or librarian purchased. That could be an argument for evidence based.

Answer for another library: The original thought about DDA for the Alliance was a specific titles and those have been used extensively. Just in Time purchases - there was high usage in a small period of time but not consistent over a long period of time.

Question for group: Would you like to see a long range of coverage (many or few years) in a discovery pool for evidence-based approach.

Multiple answers:

  • Discipline based
  • History is fine for older stuff/Computers no so much

Question for group: How important is ownership?

Multiple answers:

  • At least culturally there is a leaning toward owning so that you can get to the titles
  • Ownership is important and connected to the print purchases. Subscriptions can go away.
  • Some platforms have a fee and then the fee was increased after titles were owned.
  • Subscriptions - the content changes quickly - purchased you have to buy the new addition and with a subscription you get that with the subscription
  • So many of the offerings are in the humanities. They want more STEM titles.
  • We would have to look at specific disciplines and should the money be based on what disciplines are being most served.

Question: What about smaller collections that specific libraries would subscribe to - medical programs for example - not the alliance as a whole. Is that something being looked at?

Answer: The possibility frequently comes up from vendors/publishers, but right now we’re looking for a solution that will benefit everyone.

It would be great to do group deals with subsets of Alliance libraries, but we’d need to figure out how to staff it.

Comment to the group: Over all goals is to have something useful across the consortium that provides balance between humanities and STEM, provides more stability for budget and titles over the year, and an evidence-based program would that be attractive to libraries. The possibility of stopping the DDA and going to evidence based because of the amount of workload.

Comment: The biggest con of EBL is the clunky DRM.

Comment: If we could try evidence-based acquisitions for one year and comparing the data to DDA, we could use that to inform future years.

Question: Are you thinking about just scaling down DDA or leaving DDA?

Answer: The rational for moving away from DDA there is a lot of work to manage because of volatile amounts of money and we don’t have a way to put titles that have embargos back in. the publisher list ahs shrunk in DDA

We did 3 title pulls and turn off purchasing in April and almost was over budget anyway. Looking for stability in proving and not as difficult to manage. At leased evidence based the titles and price would be stable.

Evidence based is a fixed price. We use the funds to purchase titles based on their costs. Could be more useful content than we have funds to buy; could also be too little.

Suggestion: We can negotiate carrying unused money over to the next year.

Suggestion: We should pilot an evidence-based option before completely abandoning DDA so we can see the issues that we don’t know about.

Question for the group: Is there interest in this approach?


  • We’d be committing a smaller amount of money.
  • Don’t know the mark up for individual titles which would change what we can purchase.
  • WE need to have a mechanism to see not only the use, but also which colleges use titles more

There’s a strong consensus for an approach for shrinking DDA and pursuing an evidence-based pilot.