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Follow-up: Invitation to Participate (Oxford University Press)

In August OUP extended an invitation to the members of Lib-License,
AcqNet and Colldev to provide input for our planned online reference
resources expected to be available towards the end of 2001.  Following
is a modest recap of our findings (and I should note that we are
continuing to solicit feedback: see separate posting re ALA Online
Resource Session on Jan 12th in DC and more below).  Initially we
sketched the ideas for vertical reference information sites focusing on
language, literature, general reference and Shakespeare. 

Apparently that's not what folks want.  

Given that the base publications for these resources were typically
one-volume print books, the majority of the feedback we received asked
for a pick-and-choose online reference resource which would allow
libraries to select from the 100+ reference titles across multiple disciplines
to add to the "collection" -- rather than a pre-set list of works in isolated
areas (e.g. language)  Obviously the "list" of titles available for the
collections will grow substantially, but we have to start somewhere!

The issues we face now are presentation and navigation (which we
expect to resolve through hands-on testing, and with usability experts),
but the truly thorny aspect remains packaging.  What is the appropriate
pricing model and distribution option(s) for this type of online resource. 
These aren't 20+ volume reference publications a la the Oxford English
Dictionary and American National Biography which have ongoing editorial
programs for new and revised materials.  And I, for one, am unconvinced
that we should follow the same pricing approach for our new online
reference publication.

We invite you to send email, fax, stop by our booth at mid-winter ALA, in
general pester us with your position and views for this project and your
preferred models for pricing.  This is not a specialized reference and
should be available to the widest audience possible.  The mission of OUP,
as a department of the University of Oxford is to further the University's
objective of excellence in research, scholarship and education by
publishing to as broad an audience as possible worldwide.  

Generally our arrangement with the Regional Networks for OED and ANB
was a smashing success from our side -- should we continue to utilize
this channel for "distribution" of our next online offerings?  How about
outside North America?  It would certainly be easiest to follow-up with
the same groups which led OED Online negotiations and subscriptions,
but are these the best options going forward?  Are there other
concerns?  I keep hearing a minority opinion regarding local loading of
online materials -- has this changed?  Should regional digital libraries host
the materials, or is best managed and maintained via an OUP service?  

As always I look forward to hearing from you, and hope everyone has a
merry, happy and healthy holiday and New Year!


Royalynn O'Connor, Director
Business Development Group
Oxford University Press
New York, New York
T: (212) 726-6069
F: (212) 726-6442