Re: Institutional versus personal subscriptions Ian Woodward 01 Jun 2006 12:54 UTC
I would be skeptical that the publisher's bluster is legally binding or that copyright law is implicated in accepting donations. What is occurring here is a phenomenon economists call 'third-degree price discrimination' and is sustainable in circumstances where segments of the consumer population (with distinct sets of preferences) are discernable by the vendor and where a secondary market in a commodity is impeded in its operations for one reason or another. It is in the economic interest of the publisher to do this, but an ethical principle that would adjudicate in favor of one party or another in these sorts of transactions is not immediately evident. I would assume you are both safe and within the boundaries of honor in accepting the donations, but you might wish to research the U.S. Code and relevant case law during your down-time on the reference desk. The trouble as everyone else has pointed out is persuading faculty to donate in a timely and regular manner. Some years ago an administrator with a law firm in Rochester explained to me the function of clerical staff in such an enterprise, "Professional people are not organized. They expect YOU to be organized for them." If your collection is like those with which I have been familiar, there is likely a great deal of dead inventory in it that can be identified with your use statistics, so a fifty percent budget cut may inconvenience your customers far less than one might expect. Some years ago I pulled the numbers on a particular bloc of electronic titles which we were receiving, rank ordered them according to cost-per-use and discovered (no surprise) that one-third of our expenditures was devoted to titles which accounted for 7% of our use. For best results, librarians with the discretion over the purchase of subscriptions have to be comfortable making use of quantitative data in a systematic manner and willing to politely assert to faculty that they as librarians are making optimal use of the institution's budget, that they as librarians would be pleased to hear of an alternate and more valid selection scheme if complaining faculty are aware of one, and that the librarians will order those $16,000 Elsevier shelf ornaments to please you if we get a direct instruction from the provost to do so (and we're gonna tell the rest of the faculty just what we are cancelling in order to free up the necessary cash). Best of luck. I. Woodward Serials Office Colgate University Libraries 201L McGregory Hall 13 Oak Drive Hamilton, N.Y. 13346 Ph.: 315-228-7306 Fax: 315-228-7029 -----Original Message----- From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Burns, Karen Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:10 PM To: SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions I have come across a few journals that specifically forbid you to do this with their titles; for example, the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences states "Individuals must declare that the subscription is for their own private use, it will not replace any existing institutional subscription, and that it will not be put at the disposal of any library." Karen Burns Serials Librarian UHN Health Sciences Libraries firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 416-340-3429 fax: 416-340-4384 "To receive support and equitable treatment" -----Original Message----- From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU]On Behalf Of Howlett, Lee Ann Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 2:34 PM To: SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions We've had various physicians do this for us over the years by subscribing and then immediately giving us the issue when it arrives. Unfortunately, it never seemed to work out. We never managed to obtain all of the issues for a volume from anyone. People mean well when they offer to do this but, in my experience, something always happens where they either forget to send an issue on or they wanted to keep just 'that one'. Sincerely, Lee Ann Howlett _________________________________ Lee Ann Howlett, MA Head, Serials, Dept. Shimberg Health Sciences Library University of South Florida 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 31 Tampa, FL 33612 (813) 974-9080 (813) 974-7032 (fax) Email: LHOWLETT@HEALTH.USF.EDU -----Original Message----- From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Bluhm-Stieber, Hella Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:27 PM To: SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions Hello all, We are facing severe budget cuts and need to cancel half of our journal subscriptions. The suggestion was made to ask for donations from physicians who subscribe to certain journals the library needs. We are concerned about the legal implications of this. We explained to our management that we think that this is against copyright law. One problem is that the doctors can pay for subscriptions through their educational fund, but cannot donate money from it. We think that the donors would have to pay for an institutional copy in order that we can use it in the library. I would be grateful for any suggestions or documentation why this is o.k. or not o.k. Thank you very much, Hella Bluhm-Stieber Hella Bluhm-Stieber, MLIS, AHIP Medical Librarian Milton J. Chatton Medical Library Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System 751 S. Bascom Ave. San Jose, CA 95128 (408) 885-5654 Fax (408) 885-5655 NOTICE: This email message and/or its attachments may contain information that is confidential or restricted. It is intended only for the individuals named as recipients in the message. If you are NOT an authorized recipient, you are prohibited from using, delivering, distributing, printing, copying, or disclosing the message or content to others and must delete the message from your computer. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender by return email. 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