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FW: Unresponsive information providers

Yes this business of getting license negotiations done in a timely matter
is the bane of my existence right now.  I have had some luck doing what
you are doing in terms of sending written questions first, then following
up with an email. If there is no reply after a week or so to my email, I
send another email with the former email attached with a new message which
is rather curt saying "is anybody there? If you are not the right person
to handle this inquiry I would appreciate knowing who else in your
organization can handle this. Please provide me with a name and phone
number." 7 times out of 10 this galvanizes them to respond to the initial

If that doesn't work I try phoning the publisher but that leads to endless
referrals and more calls.

Once the ball is rolling, most seem to want to bring negotiations to
closure within another two weeks+ but it all depends on how lengthy and
obtuse the original contract language is.  I have encountered many persons
who are willing to listen to and possibly accommodate most of my changes
but they need to consult legal staff who reside lord knows where which
lengthens the process by many weeks/months.  I suspect that most of these
publishers really don't have adequate numbers of staff to handle all these
legal inquires from us. It is also true that the bulk of my overtime comes
from this end of the digital acquisitions process.  All in all lawyers are
getting rich while we scramble to get all parts of our job done within a
45 hour work week. Is all of this stress (not to mention failing eyesight
reading legal print) really necessary for every single subscription
published in this universe?? Sorry to rant. I would also most appreciate
suggestions for streamlining the process a little more.

Emily Hutton, Head of Collection Development	
Colgate University Library, Hamilton, NY 13346                            
email: Ehutton@mail.colgate.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: Ellen Finnie Duranceau [mailto:efinnie@MIT.EDU] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2000 7:28 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Unresponsive information providers

I am wondering if I am alone in having great difficulties recently getting
information providers to respond to licensing questions, keep a
negotiation moving, and complete the process in a timely manner.  For
virtually all of our major purchases in this fiscal year, I have had to
make innumerable phone calls and send innumerable email messages over
weeks and months trying to get responses to our issues and an executable
contract. These phone calls follow explicit written documentation of our
concerns and questions, so that there is a clear paper trail to pick up
and put down. Despite this paper trail and many calls, in most of these
cases I have still not succeeded in concluding a license agreement.

Is anyone else having this experience? Do information providers have some
insight to share about this lack of responsiveness? Do librarians have
ideas about how to get these deals negotiated and completed in a timely

This problem did not surface for me here at MIT until this year. In
previous years, using similar methods, I was able to get deals closed

Any comments, confirmations, or alternative experiences would be most
welcome! Ellen Duranceau

Ellen Finnie Duranceau
Digital Resources Acquisitions Librarian
MIT Libraries, Room 14E-210A
Cambridge, MA  02139-4307
ph. 617 253 7562
fax 617 253 2464