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Re: Returning to print? Diane Westerfield 30 Mar 2011 15:47 UTC


In general we are trying to go electronic only where we feel we can justify it (the title is in Portico and/or the publisher guarantees perpetual access.) However, when vendors grab up an important title and make it exclusive to one expensive database, there may be a return to print.

Not that long ago, we had a journal transfer from one of the kinder, gentler platforms to a vendor who made this journal's full-text exclusive to one expensive database.  We have resisted paying for the full text version of this database, which we feel is somewhat overpriced even at the abstracting/indexing level.

But this journal is important to a professor at my institution. He's a prolific author and also uses the library extensively. And the ratio of cost is something like 1:100, from this one print subscription versus the add-on cost for getting full text for the database. So, even though we prefer not to go back on these print cancellations, we re-ordered the print journal from our subscription agent.

As to the question of Big Deal journal packages, I would advise joining a good consortium with dedicated staff, who negotiate with vendors as part of their job duties.  In the business world, deals are often mutable, sometimes even when there's a signed contract.  Some of the commercial journal package vendors are more flexible than you might think.

Hope this helps,

Diane Westerfield, Electronic Resources & Serials Librarian
Tutt Library, Colorado College
(719) 389-6661
(719) 389-6082 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum [] On Behalf Of Geller, Marilyn
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 7:03 AM
Subject: [SERIALST] Returning to print?

I know that this is an heretical question and that there will be knee
jerk reactions ranging from stunned to appalled, but I'm really trying
to sort out the pros and cons of this issue based on a library-wide
discussion here.

We have some large publisher package deals that have seen dramatic price
jumps when the contract needs to be renewed.  Frankly, we don't have the
money.  It's not a matter of value for dollars; the dollars really
aren't there (I know we're the only ones in this situation!).  Yesterday
at a meeting, someone asked what would happen if we just canceled the
package subscriptions and returned to subscriptions for the individual
titles we actually want/need.  In several instances, subscriptions to
individual electronic versions are not available and they are not in any
databases we subscribe to which means we would have to return to the
print subscription.

We know we might have holdings gaps.  We know we'll run out of room
(well, actually, it's a bit too late on that one).  We know we'll be
limiting access to physically being in the building.  But we also know
we simply don't have the money, and the publishers in question are not
willing to lower their prices.

Has anyone returned to print, and if so, with what consequences or
benefits?  Has anyone thought about this but decided against it, and if
so, for what reason?  Or does anyone have any thoughts in general to
contribute on the idea of returning to print?

Thanks for any insights!

Marilyn Geller
Collection Management Librarian
Lesley University Library
29 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Phone: 617-349-8859