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Ebook Working Group

Alliance Ebook Working Group Meeting

July 25, 2013, 10:00-3:30
University of Oregon, White Stag Building, Portland

Present: Alison Bobal (Proquest/EBL), Jim Bunnelle, Linda Di Biase (chair), Greg Doyle (retiring as staff), John Elliott (YBP), Kathi Fountain (staff), Mark Hyer (Proquest), Barbara Kawecki (YBP), Mary Ellen Kenreich (retiring), Tom Larsen, Joanne Percy, Sara Seely, Neil Sorensen (Proquest/ebrary), Nancy Sprague, David Swords (Proquest), Bob Thomas, Joan Thompson (YBP), Maria Wagner (retiring), Sadie Williams (Proquest).

Linda thanked the retiring members and staff and welcomed the new members and vendor guests. Neil is replacing Sadie as the Proquest representative; Alison will continue as our “go to” person for data analysis, troubleshooting access problems, etc.

Spending update (Greg)

FY13: We had a starting balance of $705,000 ($750,000 less overspending from FY12) and ended with an adjusted balance of $11,156.
FY14: Our allocation is $1 million. Adding the $11,156 carryforward and subtracting the new $1,250 YBP fee, we are starting with $1,009,906. In the latest week (July 13-19, 2013) we spent $11,225 on STLs and $7,119 on 11 autopurchases, making a total weekly spend of $18,334. Last year for the same period we spent $14,439, all on STLs.

Ex Libris implementation and DDA (Bob)

No new DDA records have been loaded by Cohort 1 since May 22, nor have any deletions taken place. At present Alma cannot differentiate between duplicate portfolios (e-resource items), so if a publisher withdraws a title from the DDA and a library already owns an e-copy of the title, the record deletion process will delete both the library’s owned ebook record as well as the DDA record. Ex Libris is proposing we move our DDA program to the “Community Zone,” enabling an automated way to handle the DDA records (and avoiding the problem described above); however this relies on EBL records which we had previously rejected as inferior to OCLC records.

ACTION: For now, we will postpone implementation of the Ex Libris solution in the hope that Proquest/OCLC collaboration will result in record quality improvement. Bob will try to devise a workaround by mid-August that will enable Cohort 1 libraries to resume loading and maintaining DDA records.

Publisher update (Sadie)

Post-meeting note: After subsequent discussion with vendor representatives, Brill has reconsidered its decision and is not withdrawing from the program.
Brill is withdrawing participation from our DDA program; as a consequence we will need to remove 928 titles, representing 7% of our content. This action makes solving our Alma record problems even more critical. There was discussion on the importance of the Alliance engaging in “thought leadership” to educate publishers and librarians on how DDA can positively affect publisher revenues.

Action: Alison will generate a list of our unpurchased Brill titles with the number of STLs. We may proactively buy titles which are close to the purchase trigger; the remaining list will be sent to libraries to consider purchasing on their own. This, and the record purge, should be accomplished by mid-August so as not to adversely impact users who are returning to campus for the new academic year. Bob and Tom will take the lead on the record purge. Note: in light of Brill’s decision to remain in the program, this action is no longer needed.

Resetting STL counts as a cost containment measure (Alison)

Previously, EBL had mentioned that some libraries contain costs by periodically resetting the STL count to zero, which prolongs the period before a purchase is triggered. It is possible to do this selectively by certain criteria. At Linda’s request, Alison provided information on DDA titles having had STLs from 1 or 2 libraries in FY13. If we had reset counts on unpurchased titles with STLs from only 1 library in FY13, that would have involved 5444 titles; and for 2 libraries, it would have involved 2222 titles. This represents about half of all STLs in FY13. For titles we purchased in FY13, 276 had STLs from only 1 or 2 libraries before purchase was triggered, representing about $150K of our $290K in purchases. It’s possible that this use pattern is related to books being used for course reserves.

Action: Instead of resetting titles with use by a limited number of libraries, we will consider resetting titles for disciplines with limited “shelf-life”, such as business or technology. Linda and Kathi will pursue this strategy with Alison.

Access for print-disabled users of EBL and ebrary platforms

Clark College Library has expressed concern about full ADA compliance of EBL and ebrary platforms. The current compliance situation and future improvements were discussed.

Action: EBL will respond to Clark and cc the Team. ADA compliance information will be included in the next FAQ update.

Presentation/discussion on current DDA program and alternative models (Sadie, David)


  • First year: we were over budget. Autopurchase rate 3%. STL rate very high: 49%. Number of STL per title very high.

  • Second year: all percentages rose - autopurchase rate, STL rate, and number of STLs.

Our key concern has been how can we maintain this large growth. Projection for the coming year with our current model:

  • we will not overspend
  • we will have no room to add publishers

  • room to replace about 4,000 titles (something to replace Brill)

Team has expressed interest in adding publishers, budgeting has been tricky with no room to grow, we want to avoid removing titles, we have heard from Council that collective ownership is a driving factor, though there is some difference of opinion about access vs ownership.

With DDA, the number of available titles will go down as your FTE goes up. Generally the breakpoint is 25,000 FTE - titles will drastically reduce.

Multiplier is our way of fitting the wholesaler model (YBP, EBL) to our size. They are the middlemen, not the content owner. Publishers hate multipliers, and that sentiment is growing.

Access vs Ownership... (dating vs marriage)

  • Different disciplines may benefit from different models - new content very important in STEM and business, not so much in other disciplines. Diversifying our portfolio may be wise.

Alternative #1: Limited Use Model

  • Purchase at 2x list price, which gets us 28 7-day loans. Only buy multiple copies when we demonstrate usage beyond that.

  • The chance of us using up our loan days increases with the 7 day loan model, and this makes publishers more eager to participate.

  • NovaNet, USMAI, NY3YRS, CARLI all currently using or looking at this model.

  • Sadie can provide data for our purchases where this model would have saved us



  • We would be able to expand our profile by about 1400 titles (add publishers)

  • Cost is tied to usage

  • Regularize our expenditure (our autopurchase is increasing in our current model)

  • Publishers like the open-ended aspect of this model, and hope to sell more books. Our current model has such a large multiplier that acts as an “insurance policy”. Publishers like the usage based model.


  • If a title is used in a course, we might end up buying MANY copies. Course usage of library ebooks is not being tracked systematically at Alliance libraries, but anecdotal evidence is that it is growing. We do have titles in our DDA collection now that would have triggered double digit purchases, but not many. EBL says we could come up with a threshold where we are comfortable with turnaways after a certain number of uses. Also, we may be able to negotiate with publishers a cap on the number of copies that would need to be bought before further Alliance use was free.

  • Option to locally purchase or direct overage purchases to the triggering institution if we want to manage that. This may be a hard sell - “punishing” usage at the institution level.


  • Publishers might not agree - EBL would have to re-negotiate. Probably better to start the conversation in the fall with publishers.

Alternative #2: Shared STL, institutional purchase (hybrid) model

  • Consortium pays collectively for STLs, but when one school hits their trigger point, the school purchases separately.

  • ACSS - CTW and 5 colleges consortia currently using this model


  • No publisher permission required

  • We could negotiate a discount on purchasing high use titles


  • As a heavy user of the DDA content so far, Mary Ellen expresses concern re: possible costs to institutions of purchases. Council will also be concerned at this.

  • Purchased copies could not be shared within Alliance—is this really a shared collection?


  • Pilot this with University Presses or other model

  • If running this as a pilot alongside current model or other shared ownership model, note these considerations:

    • EBLcannot support two profiles for the same customer, e.g. the Alliance, though it could support an Alliance profile and another profile for a subset of Alliance libraries
    • ebrary can run simultaneous DDAs with two different profiles for the same customer
Other considerations

ILL across EBL platforms
  • Alliance institutions with EBL platforms set up can make their EBL titles available to each other as a STL - this is possible to do right now. High interested from ebook team in this news - Kathi F. requested documentation.

Impact of EBL/ebrary merge

  • Academic Complete consortial pricing was mentioned multiple times

  • With merge with ebrary, we can dedupe DDA against the full set of Academic Complete

Impact of Migration
  • Alma opens some record management options once we are all in. Primo may enable us to privilege one link/portfolio over another.

  • Also possible that we can set institutional access levels in Primo based on our desire for our patrons to have access to incur STL opportunities - if we at PCC don’t want our users to see a WWU book and be able to request a loan, we can hide it (Bob will need to spell this out more clearly).


  • We will continue current model for now and pursue adding a publisher or two as finances permit.
  • Joan will produce FY13 title counts for previously identified publishers of interest. We will need to make a decision on whether retrospective titles will be added to the DDA, or only new releases from the publisher(s) we add.
  • We will monitor the experience of consortia using the Novanet model (especially CARLI) and make a decision by January if we wish Proquest to begin approaching publishers with this model.
  • We will pursue interest in a pilot of the hybrid model among Alliance libraries already running their own EBL DDA programs, with the possible addition of University of Oregon. The content pool could be an amalgam of the individual library pools, with some kind of homogenized profile, or it could be an entirely new profile, such as university presses. The pilot could be framed as the Alliance sponsoring member libraries’ DDA programs. The pilot needs to start by January 2014 to gain information for decision on broadening in FY15. The pilot idea should be presented to the CDMC Steering Team in August and to CDMC at its October meeting. Linda noted the need for shared responsibility for getting this pilot off the ground as well as monitoring and assessing it; she will not be able to devote much time to it.
  • Recommendations re. the DDA program are due to the Council in mid-February. The Board meets Feb. 28 and the Council meets in March.

Updating the DDA website

We discussed what should remain on the DDA website, what should be easily available through links, and what should be archived. The FAQ also needs updating.

Action: Greg and Kathi will work on the website update. Jim will coordinate updating the FAQ

The meeting adjourned at 3 pm.

Notes takers: Linda Di Biase, Maria Wagner