ATG v29 #1 Special Report — Purchasing Articles by Demand-Driven Acquisition:  An Alternative Serial Distribution Model for Libraries

by | Jul 13, 2017 | 0 comments

by Jonathan H. Harwell  (Head of Collections and Systems, Olin Library, Rollins College) and James Bunnelle  (Acquisitions & Collection Development Librarian, Watzek Library, Lewis & Clark College)

(This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of Against the Grain)

At the 2014 Charleston Conference, we held the first Charleston Seminar.  The theme was “Being Earnest with our Collections: Determining Key Challenges and Best Practices.”  As part of that program, the two of us, both librarians responsible for collection development at small liberal arts college libraries, spoke about a challenge in the scholarly communication landscape.  Our objective is the ability to seamlessly acquire pre-selected serial content at the point of need, with an option for long-term “ownership” — in other words, to add demand-driven acquisition as an option for serial content at the article level, thereby adding that content to our library collections.  Of course, with digital content remotely hosted, ownership is perception.  The reality is that we license e-content by paying for ongoing access (more like a long-term lease, perhaps, but often with a one-time price, as with eBook purchases), while perceptions of access vs. ownership affect pricing models.  This article presents our argument in favor of DDA for serial content, and also reports the results of related surveys we conducted following the seminar.  

As we have progressed with increasing options for acquiring library content, more librarians are focusing on data-driven approaches.  Demand-driven, also known as patron-driven, acquisition (DDA or PDA) enables librarians to purchase or license eBooks and streaming video from various publishers.  This model is facilitated by mediating parties such as eBook aggregators and library distributors.  Video distributors are newer to this approach, which has already been used for books (electronic and print) for years.  DDA for streaming video is a welcome development, although like other streaming video models, it tends to rely on annual or multi-year licenses, which creates its own sustainability issues due to ongoing subscription costs.  However there is a vast category of library content that is in high demand by library patrons, especially in academia.  Articles published in electronic or print serials, unless they are provided with open access to the public online, still require annual subscription costs.  Thus library patrons have limited ways to access the text of articles behind pay walls.  The current mix of subscriptions, interlibrary loan or document delivery, and pay per view is unsustainable for endangered library budgets, and thus is unsustainable for publishers.  Library budgets, even in years without budget cuts, make it difficult to justify ongoing costs to maintain these resources.  It’s time to begin leveraging the tools we use for eBooks — discovery services, demand-driven acquisition, and perpetual purchase — and apply them to articles.  It seems to us that librarians would not want subscriptions, PPV, ILL, and document delivery as our only options for acquiring eBooks, so why would we accept them as our only options for serials?

After all, the distinction between a monograph and a serial is fluid.  Books in series, book-length articles, article-length books, and special issues sold as monographs illustrate the folly of treating them as inherently different creatures.  At the Charleston Seminar, we began a discussion about what it will take to enable publishers, vendors, and librarians to work together on sustainable, perpetual purchases of serial content.  Those in attendance showed interest in the idea, and following the presentation we emailed various library-related discussion lists with links to two surveys, one for publishers and library vendors, and another for librarians.  The aim was to gauge the level of interest in the idea of article-level purchasing.

Before we discuss the results of the surveys, let’s take a closer look at the idea.  First, we consider the role of the serial vendor or distributor.  Companies in this role operate on the subscription model, which exists to facilitate ongoing costs for serial publications.  In this way they operate as subscription agents, not as library acquisition agents who advocate for change in scholarly communication models.  In contrast, we hold that the subscription is an unsustainable mechanism as a library collection-building strategy, and we hope that serial vendors will work toward future approaches in collaboration with publishers and librarians.

As academic librarians, we need increased granularity for purchasing article-level content at the point of need.  We would prefer to do this through a discovery layer, just as we do with eBooks and streaming video.  DDA combined with discovery results in a just-in-time model, with pricing tied to usage.

Of course we recognize that there are reasons for not using this approach for serial content.  First is complacency, or lack of demand, by all parties involved.  Perhaps librarians are satisfied with the current landscape; and publishers and vendors do not see a viable revenue stream that would recover the return on investment for market research, development, etc.  If this is the case, then there is no need for innovative models.  We will address this in our analysis of the survey results.

There is also the possibility that the pricing would be too complex.  Publishers currently have pricing differentials for individual vs. library subscriptions, and for print, electronic, and combined formats for serial subscriptions; for pay-per-view access to articles; and for print and electronic books.  This results in an already complex landscape of pricing structures.  Pricing DDA for articles would be one more element of this, which we could figure out together, resulting in a new industry standard for adding serials to library collections.

We’ve mentioned how the perception of ownership affects pricing.  Perception of the nature of the journal also affects our models.  Do publishers need to aggregate content within a journal title?  What drives the acquisition?  What is the value of an impact factor, and is impact really about the journal or the author or the publisher?

What if there were no journal titles (such as we see with the Open Library of Humanities, an open-access megajournal platform with subject sections), or if publishers offered a token pricing option for any content they publish?  [Full disclosure:  one of the authors is an unpaid editor with the Open Library of Humanities.]  For a set price per article, a library could access thousands of these disaggregated pieces.  For many of our patrons, their need is for the article, not the journal.

We have been speaking in terms of sustainability for library budgets.  In terms of sustainability for managing content at the article level, this could be a challenge for libraries as well.  Specifics would depend on whether there is perpetual access from the vendor platform, or via a secured local repository protected with authentication.  We are already managing e-content via vendor platforms for serials, books, and videos.  Vendors already turn on only the appropriate issues of the appropriate serial titles, or the appropriate eBooks or films, depending on their sales to each library.  They would need to take this one step further by going to the article level.

Perhaps there is a concern that this approach would prompt a round of serial cancellations.  However we have already faced this ongoing phenomenon for years, due to declining library budgets.  Many librarians don’t currently have the option of subscribing to the journals their patrons need, simply because of the ongoing costs of those titles.  In fact, in many libraries, more subscriptions are cancelled every year because of low budgets.  It’s a challenge for publishers to gain new subscriptions, and it’s a challenge for librarians to provide serial content.  Publishers and vendors are getting some revenue from PPV, but not from ILL.  The current situation also affects the monograph market, as library budgets are increasingly consumed by serial and database subscriptions.  Some libraries are left with little or no budget for books.  Adding DDA as an option could actually help the market to achieve equilibrium, by enabling librarians to provide expensive serial content by means other than all-or-nothing subscriptions, or relying on PPV and ILL.  

In the case of ILL or document delivery, any revenue goes to other libraries and/or third parties, patrons wait, and it’s a temporary solution.  With PPV, the revenue goes to publishers or third parties, patrons don’t wait if it’s unmediated, but it’s also a temporary solution.  Publishers are missing out on a potential revenue stream for perpetual purchases of articles as additions to library collections.  Currently library patrons have only two choices for non-subscribed content — to wait for it, and/or to pay for a single use, as if articles were disposable.  What if some articles are worth collecting on their own?

Discovery is a key element of this approach.  How will patrons find the articles to trigger purchases?  Just as we have figured out how to optimize access to e-journals, eBooks, and streaming video by including these in discovery layers, we would need to use the same technology to display articles.

If the publisher corrects or revises an article, how would this be handled?  If a PDF or digital copy is retained locally, could librarians reasonably expect that a single purchase price would include a reload or update if necessary when an article is amended?  We don’t see this as a major concern, as currently we tend to access the authoritative, published versions of content via vendor platforms.  If an article is hosted by the publisher or vendor, updates can be pushed out via the cloud.  

We’re not the first ones to bring up this idea, of course.  Peter Banks, a publisher who has since passed away, talked with us at the Charleston Conference in 2006 about an iTunes-type model for article acquisition.  And Peter McCracken, formerly of ProQuest, co-founder of Serials Solutions, presented “Patron Driven Acquisition of Electronic Resources:  The Obvious Next Step,” at a 2011 Charleston preconference.  He talked about “DDDLA” (demand-driven discovery layer acquisition) and how it could work, with “micro-payments.”  Note the “micro” — the per-article pricing has to be sustainable for library budgets in order for the model to succeed.  McCracken closed his talk with these words:  “It just makes sense…It’s relatively easy to do.  Personally, I want it tomorrow.”  So do we.  

Librarians build our collections by acquiring information for long-term ownership, supplemented by short-term access.  We need a standard method to acquire e-content on demand for the long term, whether it’s a book, a video, or an article.  As mentioned above, through DDA we’ve been doing this for years with books, and more recently with videos.  We even do it with serials when special issues are sold as eBooks with DDA options.  PPV, ILL, and document delivery are short-term, on-demand access solutions that don’t add content to our library collections.  We need an option to acquire serial content on demand with ownership rights.

A distributor representative at the 2014 Charleston Conference said that “book chunking is coming”; in other words, selling books at the chapter level.  We also discussed how book publishers have figured out some models that journal publishers haven’t, and vice versa;  even when they’re the same publishing company;  because as he said, “the book people and the journal people don’t talk.”

For certain serials in certain libraries, the status quo works just fine.  But this list is shrinking every year, as we all know.  We have to find an equilibrium that sustains library collections, publishers, and vendors.  And just as we do with journal subscriptions, we need to figure out ILL rights for the articles we add to our collections.

Some vendors are already working on innovative models for serial acquisition.  DeepDyve is renting articles directly to users.  ReadCube is renting and selling articles, but they’re only working with a handful of publishers.  SIPX (now owned by ProQuest) has negotiated with a list of publishers for content delivery and copyright clearance, but only for course readings.  Meanwhile CCC’s Get It Now does something akin to DDA, when it’s used as an unmediated service.

Survey Method and Results

On Dec. 5, 2014, we distributed a brief note, with links to two Google Forms surveys, to a set of library email discussion lists.  One survey was for libraries, and the other was for publishers and library vendors.  We also sent targeted emails to specific representatives of publishers and library vendors.  Each survey, entitled “Article-Level Acquisitions Survey for Librarians” or “for Publishers and Library Vendors,” contains a link to the other in the instructions.  

There were three responses to the survey for publishers and library vendors, and exactly 100 responses from libraries.  Of the former, an identification question allowing multiple responses identifies two as aggregators, one as a discovery service provider, and all three as publishers.  We will refer to them as publishers for the sake of simplicity.

The first item on the library survey is a yes or no question, asking whether they “purchase article-level content for the library collection, with ownership rights for the library which allow re-use by multiple patrons?”  Included is an explanatory note, “This question is referring to purchasing articles, not subscribing to databases, journals, or journal packages.”  98% replied no, and 2% yes.  Those who reply yes are asked which service(s) their libraries use to purchase articles and add them to the library collection.  One replies “Elsevier (Science Direct),” one says, “We use pay per view but the articles are not added to the collection,” and a third explains, “Full access for 24 hours only when offered.  We use Wiley tokens, Science Direct PPV, and Get It Now.”

A similar question for the publishers asks whether they “provide an article-level purchase option for libraries (not individuals), with the same qualifications as the other question.  The four options are yes, no, “in development with availability within 1 year,” or “under consideration.”  None said yes, and there was one response for each of the other three options.

Libraries are asked to “select the methods by which your library’s users access article-level content electronically.”  Multiple responses are allowed.  99% select databases, 93% e-journals/publisher package/web portal, 78% document delivery paid for by library, 6% document delivery paid for by patron, and 14% choose “other.”  

The next question for publishers asks for an indication of “your interest level in supporting the ability for libraries to acquire articles for their collections with perpetual purchase rights.”  The responses are on a Likert scale, with 1 as strongly interested and 5 as not interested.  Two are strongly interested, and the other indicates a 3, midway between strongly and not interested.  Similarly, libraries are asked to indicate “your interest level in purchasing articles to add to the library collection,” with the same response options.  7% are strongly interested (option 1), 15% choose option 2, 32% option 3, 24% option 4, and 22% are not interested (option 5).

Both surveys ask about pricing options the respondents might consider feasible for purchasing articles for library collections.  For the publishers, we qualify this question by specifying that we are speaking in terms of perpetual purchase rights.  We also include an explanatory note for this question in both surveys, “We are interested in article-level purchasing options that would supplement (not replace) subscriptions to journals, journal packages, and databases.”  Both surveys offer the same response choices, with multiple responses allowed.  

While no publishers select the option “annual, fixed price based on the number of articles purchased from a specific journal,” 11% of libraries would consider this.  One publisher would consider “annual, fixed price based on the number of articles purchased across a publisher’s collections,” and 45% of libraries agree.  Regarding a “token system with a set number of purchase tokens for a fixed price within a multi-year period,” no publishers select this, but 53% of libraries are interested.  Two publishers would consider a “flat fee per article with the fee structure set for a minimum of one year,” as would 62% of libraries.  One publisher and 13% of libraries marked “other.”

These are followed by an open-ended question.  Both surveys ask, “What are your thoughts about article-level purchasing of serial content to add to library collections?”  Appended here is a complete set of the library responses to this question.

Unfortunately only two publishers offered responses to the open-ended question.  One simply states, “It is a must being impeded by current business models.”  The other explains:  

We see growing interest in article level purchasing by libraries on behalf of users.  At a high level, it seems similar to DDA for eBooks, an area that continues to grow.  It seems reasonable to us that libraries might set aside a portion of their e-journals budget for individual article purchases.  Therefore, we see the business model as one that is funded by the library.  We do not see a large amount of business if the end user is asked to pay for the article themselves.  Of course, there are many complexities in actually executing on such a vision, but we are quite interested in what we see as an emerging need.

The latter publisher eagerly sought data from this study prior to publication, which the authors gladly supplied.

Discussion of Responses

The libraries represented in the responses are primarily within the United States.  Two are in Canada and one in Mexico.  97% of the libraries responding are academic libraries.  One is a public library, one a government library, and one selects “other” (not national, corporate, or K-12).  Some respondents to each survey have supplied their contact information for follow-up, including perhaps a future panel discussion.

Some respondents have reservations about the idea.  They are concerned about the logistics involved with managing and/or preserving these resources.  A few people consider it a “nightmare” to imagine managing articles with a local bibliographic control process.  Some assume that librarians would need to catalog the individual articles.  One person wonders whether we would need to sign a license for each individual article, or whether we would weed the local article collection.  

Using a discovery layer means that we already provide access to bibliographic entries and links to articles without cataloging them individually.  We currently rely on activating resources at the title or database level, in order to manage them with an ERM and link resolver.  If a standard system is provided to seamlessly manage and track access to articles, as aggregators and distributors now provide for eBooks, this might alleviate the concerns of many respondents.  One person suggests that such a system should be free of charge and integrated with interlibrary loan.  However we have received input from only three publishers or vendors.  We need more robust discussion and greater input from the library information industry.

For Further Discussion

Considering feedback received from our survey respondents, and from those at the Charleston Seminar, how can publishers, vendors, and librarians work together to create an industry standard for leveraging the potential of discovery to deliver serial content to library patrons — without relying solely on subscriptions, pay-per-view, interlibrary loan, and document delivery?  How can we further diversify our acquisition processes for continuations in ways that are sustainable and scalable?  We need functionality for building library collections with an option to buy articles seamlessly, on the fly, as we do with books and films.  We welcome your responses (more publisher and vendor input is particularly needed) in the ongoing discussion, which continued with the Charleston Conference 2016 presentation by Rick Anderson (University of Utah) and David Parker (Alexander Street), entitled “The Road Ahead?  Patron-Driven Acquisition Might Become…”

Appendix: Library Responses to Open-Ended Question

Both surveys ask, “What are your thoughts about article-level purchasing of serial content to add to library collections?”  Publishers’ responses are included in the main article.  Following is a complete set of the library responses to this question.

Have not considered it.

Token system tends to be a better deal for smaller institutions, at least pricing models I’ve seen so far.

Before trying such a system I would have to verify how it would work with our Discovery Service, and whether the vendor would host in their site or not.

While it is an interesting possibility, I do wonder about how to make and keep those articles accessible.  Our institution doesn’t (yet) have an IR or other central place to keep such articles and metadata to make them searchable and discoverable.  I could see this plan having more legs with the right infrastructure, but until then, our library can’t do it.

Not sure how much this would be used and lack of volume, but an interesting concept nonetheless.

This is honestly not something I have ever considered, though we are about to purchase a publisher package that includes a token system.  I’m not sure I see the benefit to article-level purchasing, when ILL and document-delivery are so easy to use.  We don’t catalog at the article-level, and creating a list of every individual article owned would quickly become unwieldy, so how would you make patrons aware of these individual articles in your collection?  I think it would take some serious convincing to win me over to this idea, but I’d be willing to hear arguments for it.

Who on earth will manage this?  Unless there is a concomitant management service — readily, easily, at no cost and integrated into ILL services — then this idea will not pan out well.

Subscription costs need to be weighed against costs per use.  High use usually suggests subscribing.  ILL borrowing also needs to be factored in.

Not a high priority here;  we use pay-per-view extensively but do not purchase article-level for the collection.  I’m not sure how cost-effective this would be though one could argue this is not that much different than purchasing individual books.  Something to think about …

Could be a viable option if our interlibrary loan goes away.

I don’t know how we will manage it (would we create catalog records?  would we have perpetual access on the vendors website? etc.)  I think it would be a good way to provide access to more content.  The main thing that has held me back is that I think that unmediated direct access is the best model but I think we would see high use & not be able to afford it.  That’s because there are titles that we can’t afford subscriptions to but that I’m confident would get used.

I have never thought about it before, so these are my first reactions.  I think it would be hard to keep track of purchased articles and know what we have.  Users usually find articles through databases and publisher platforms, so how would the database or publisher platform know that we own it?  On the other hand, we could catalog the article as a separate entity and put it in our catalog.  We do this sometimes with print articles.  We would need to have our own place to host the article for university-wide access and we don’t really have anything like that set up except for Google drive and I’m not sure that would be the best solution.

This would work for us if professors are assigning specific articles to their students, but do not need full access to a journal.  Speed of delivery and having major publishers allow this option would be key.

How to facilitate access to these paid copies via SFX or another link resolver seems daunting.  Managing metadata at the article level and local storage (assuming the latter is required) also seem challenging.

At one point I would have thought it was a horrible idea.  However, I have some researchers who need specific journals, and if the costs are competitive with copyright fees and interlibrary loan, it may be worth it.

A very interesting idea for acquiring material from journals having a subject concentration that falls somewhere between core and fringe for our collection (a special library).  We struggle with maintaining our subscriptions to these journals because usage is so low – but we occasionally find that seminal or very relevant content is published there.  My biggest issue would be with discovery and so I’d only consider it if the journals in question were combined in a platform where we provide access to our other subscriptions.

I don’t think my library would add a single article to the collection.

We aren’t aware of any interest in this area.

[Our library is] lucky to be a member of OhioLINK w/significant e-journal access; we might purchase some articles under such a system, but tracking article by article acquisitions wouldn’t be cost effective for us.

I’m not sure where I’d put them and I don’t know how patrons would find them.

We are a large university with a diverse curriculum.  I have done the analysis, and Big Deals are more cost-effective than token systems for us.

Shelving and cataloging nightmare.

Like a PDA or DDA workflow.

I had this in my last library, a science research (special) library, and it worked well.  We used tokens to replace subscription content, to provide wider access to content, and move away from paying ridiculous prices for science journals with low use.

Sounds like a nightmare.  We don’t have the infrastructure or staff to deal with managing individually owned articles, and I wouldn’t trust the publishers to manage it for us.  Third party?  At what cost?  Reminds me of the old vertical files where we’d place pamphlets and other ephemera not significant enough to warrant spending time cataloging or providing good access.  Maybe individual articles could be handled in an IR, but then there’s copyright and access issues.

Cataloging, access would be the biggest issue.  Reserves would be the best use.

It has been a lifesaver for our budget, which has not significantly increased in years.  It has allowed us to offer infinite content without the long term commitment of a subscription.  We have been able to free up funds for other resources.

We’d have to devote major time to workflow issues.  We might adopt such a program after several libraries and publishers had implemented it successfully, but I doubt we’d be willing to pilot such a project.

I think it’s a fine idea; however our small private academic library is experiencing budget shortfalls, and would not be able to afford it at this time.

Limited money to add content without offsetting cost savings in subscription cancellation.

It seems that this would be difficult to administer from the library-side.  Journal holdings are still problematic after all of these years.  We use Serials Solutions to help us facilitate patron access, but it is labor intensive to even maintain the journals to which we have access in a collection, especially with some publishers being slow to update those holdings.  Then, we have to maintain the same journal-level holdings in OCLC to facilitate ILL ArticleDirect lending, and, of course, in our catalog for owned content.  The discovery service hasn’t eliminated any of this maintenance and, in fact, adds another level as we track which platforms may be “activated” in that service.  With incorrect publisher reporting, issues with the various systems, title transfers, embargos, and moving walls, lost access for various reasons, etc. it is difficult to stay on top of these holdings at the journal level for accurate metadata and seamless patron access.  Access and ownership at the article level would be another entire maintenance nightmare.

We are reluctantly considering it very seriously because our budget is not increasing to keep pace with annual inflation of journals/journal packages, and we will probably be cancelling a big deal or two in 2016.

I find that it would be difficult to administer.  Where would the article be stored and how would the article be accessed? We never have the case when the same article is requested many times.

So far, the options I have seen have not been cost-effective at the scale we need, but am willing to continue discussions.

Not sure.  It leads to wanting other articles.  ILL might be better option.

Major difficulties in curation and subsequent discovery.

Very difficult to manage.  Discovery of content would be haphazard and chance of reuse slim.

It is inevitable that content will escape from its containers.

Making the articles accessible on a metadata level is a concern.  We already have pay-per-view and token systems in place to provide articles to patrons, but this seems different from adding the articles to the library collection.

I would be interested in exploring this further.  For several years now, we have used the Wiley “article select” token service.  We buy tokens in advance, and if a user accesses an article a token is deducted from our account.  That article is available for 24 hours for all our patrons without additional charge.  It’s not permanent ownership, but it does allow re-use by multiple patrons during that 24-hour window.

We are a small rural college library and likely don’t have the budget to accommodate this kind of a program.  We often request articles through inter-library loan document delivery when there is a need for something we don’t already have access to.

I don’t think we are at the point to provide consistent access and maintenance to stand alone articles.  I think libraries and publishers will move to article based offerings sooner than later.  Once we do, I think we will develop systems to manage article level content.

Not a research library (primarily undergrad), so not a big issue for us yet.  Have concerns about purchasing rather than owning.

It is an interesting idea that could be economical in some instances.  I am not sure if there is much overlap among journal article requests.  That is something we would have to investigate.  We do subscribe to a journal if we find that document delivery charges for the journal approach the cost of a subscription (especially with ScienceDirect).

I think article level access to unsubscribed titles is very important.  The difficulty is making it easy for our users without losing control of the budget.  I am less certain of “adding” them to the collection.  This seems like a bibliographic control nightmare.  With Wiley tokens we give our users access to all of their articles while they do not know if there is a subscription.  To have permanent ownership of the articles, I assume we would have to pay more per article.  There is not enough duplication of use at the article level to warrant anything more than a very nominal cost per article.

Not sure how helpful this would be as rarely do we get more than one patron asking for a specific article via Interlibrary Loan.  But this may be something we need to consider for the future as our budget gets tighter and tighter and we want to offer access to our patrons.

We’d need new software to manage that.  Could existing link resolvers handle it?  could discovery systems?  Acquisitions systems?

I can see this would be useful for reserve readings, but I’m unclear how the library would manage the content or what we would be allowed to do with it (lend on ILL?).  Interesting idea — I’ve not really thought about this before.  We certainly purchase a lot of articles from publishers for our patrons that are one-time use, and sometimes buy the same ones again for either the same person or someone else.  I can see value in being able to hang onto these, but the cost might be prohibitive.

This seems like a huge headache for cataloging, rights-tracking, and database maintenance.

Good idea if continued access beyond one-time is really an option (haven’t heard of any major publisher doing that).

For us, there would be two issues, depending upon which content: 1) We provide work-related materials for state government employees and others.  For these, access would probably need to be through an aggregator, since we would probably be interested in articles from various journal titles, and we wouldn’t want to deal with authentication and access on an article title level.  2) We collect materials about our state for preservation.  For these, we would need ownership of our copies, including the ability to download and host them locally if need be for preservation or if we no longer subscribe to the service.

I believe it needs to be a consideration, but we have not looked at it seriously yet.

We’re a very small institution, and I’m not sure there’s a pressing need for this here.  A lot would depend on the content and the pricing model.

We have always been discouraged by the high cost of single articles.  We also struggle with finding ways to make the single purchase articles discoverable without a lot of staff effort.  Also, sometimes the delivery format varies.  A standard format would be more helpful.

I do believe this could be a useful way to provide our users with content from journals where there is not enough use to justify a full subscription.  The challenges, of course, are in managing the financial portion, and reflecting the access clearly in discovery tools.

Enabling patron discovery of articles owned by the library would be an interesting challenge.  I presume it would require some kind of Knowledge Base so that particular article level content would appear as owned in our databases, for instance.

It’s a good idea for rarely used journals.

I am concerned about how to integrate purchased articles into the library’s collection in a meaningful way.  I am also concerned about costs and predictability of those costs in an environment where money is severely limited.

Just what is meant by “purchase for the library collection”?  Perpetual access? Multi- or single user access?  Ability to share via ILL?  And how do we provide metadata that will enable future potential users to know that we have access to this article?

I’m concerned, even skeptical, about the value of adding these articles to the collection.  Our ILL usage reflects how seldom the same article is requested by more than one person.

It’s a slippery slope, with so many different DRM models.  We would purchase an article to add to the reserve collection for a semester, but we would not add it to the permanent collection.

It’s an interesting model.  We do a lot of article level purchasing but it’s all for individuals rather than adding articles to the collection.  Management of articles could be difficult as well as methods for discovery and access.  I could see it being helpful for course reserves or specific article assignments.

Marginal interest at this point.

It’s great in theory but not practical in the long-term.

Seems messy, although I could see it as potentially viable for titles with very specialized content.

No staff time to manage the acquisition.  And, how would you make it visible?  Catalog individual articles?  No thanks!

Not sure how we would handle the storage of and linking to those articles.

Makes identifying what we do and don’t have available very difficult.

Maintaining bibliographic records and access at the article level boggles my mind.  Will we be signing licenses and maintaining access records at the article level going forward?  Do we weed article collections.  Or do we expect vendors to provide a subscribed/unlocked icon at the article level for every library using this feature?

I’d like to learn more about options that allow a library to retain access to article content as opposed to CCC’s service which only allows distribution to the end-user.  


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