Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Proceedings--Geoscience Information Society 34 (2003), pp. 49-53.


Copyright (c) 2003 Adonna Fleming


Two cultural phenomena have greatly impacted library purchasing trends in the last few years. One, the Internet and its ability to provide instant access to electronic information, which in tum has created a huge demand for libraries to provide their information resources in electronic format; and two, the spiraling downward oflibrary budgets ITom which to pay for these electronic resources. In other words, the "perfect storm" has struck libraries at hurricane force. In order to survive, libraries have formed consortia to increase their purchasing power while offsetting costs. This in tum creates a "one package fits all" purchasing environment with cost becoming the controlling factor, and in which every member of the consortium has the same resources regardless of their individual needs and users. This should not be the case and libraries need to enter consortial agreements carefully. Libraries need to evaluate the vendor licensing options, service, and stability as well as the cost and product itself. When looking at the product, pedagogical aspects, functionality, currency, and most importantly primary audience need to be considered. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of consortial purchasing, create a checklist of what to consider when making a consortial agreement and, using GeoRef as an example, compare the different options under which this bibliographic database can be purchased.