Jello and e-resources

Oh the joy. Right. Surely that is how everyone describes working with electronic resources.

We’ve been in the process of migrating many of our print journals to e-only the last two years. Yesterday our serials librarian sent me a note from one of our subscription agents about a journal that is moving to a new publisher effective January 2008. In the print world this wouldn’t be an issue. In the e- world it could be a nightmare!

We cancelled print for Revue Romane (a Blackwell title) at the end of 2006. The notice yesterday indicated that the journal was moving to John Benjamins Publishing (JB) in January. There is no e- only option with the new publisher.

So… now what? I tracked down the license for JB, which took me a number of clicks. Wouldn’t you think that publishers could place that information with the subscription information? In this case, it wasn’t even linked from their “accessing the electronic version….” under subscription information. Terms and conditions – hmm… No governing clause. Hallelujah. What’s this “closed local network” thing mean? No ILL? What about perpetual access? No signed license required.

Decision time: do we go ahead and purchase the PRINT+ONLINE journal? Spend the money to bind it? Toss the print? Cancel the title all together: more steps: inform the subject specialist and collection managers, pull usage statistics. Does the new publisher allow us to locally archive e- issues or provide for some type of perpetual access? Our print holdings will now show a two year gap! What a mess! What happens if the title moves to another publisher in a couple of years? There’s a phrase in many licenses that disturbs me, i.e., along the lines of “… will provide access to the extent possible… if publisher maintains the right to…”.  I’m getting indigestion.

I emailed the publisher yesterday and expressed my concern about their subscription options. Our library cannot afford to maintain print + online. We don’t have the shelf space as we look to reduce our collection footprint. We have to pay $$ for offsite storage of bound volumes, which rises as we move more materials there! Our staff needs to be re-tooled away from traditional print processes to meet the needs of our users. C’mon publishers – jump into the 21st century.

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