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Advice needed

Hi everybody

At the University of Natal library, we are trying to find solutions to the
parlous situation the fall of the South African rand has placed us in:  
from 1 Sept. to 31 Dec. 2001, the rand weakened by 42% against the US
dollar (and we've lost again in the last 2 days). Tinkering with budgets
simply does not work anymore (if it ever did!) and we fear that the
purchase of scientific journals will soon be a thing of the past.

We're trying the various programs designed to help developing nations, but
South Africa is classified as 'middle' rather than 'low' income by the
World Bank. We are, however, trying some negotiation, particularly as the
most recent World Bank classification (dated 1 July 2002) has shifted us
from the "higher middle income" group to the "lower middle income" group ,
no doubt because of the economic havoc created by the rand fall. We're
also trying the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and BMJ

My question is: where else would you suggest we turn, what avenues can we
explore to try and obtain cheaper access to scholarly publications, in
particular STM journals? There are 6 library consortia in SA, none of them
very active, but we are trying to bring some new life into them. Like many
libraries in North America/Europe, we're subscribing to a few aggregated
databases, but their cost is crippling us.

I'd be very grateful for any word of advice, names of people or
organizations I could contact, anything.

Best regards
Nicole Geslin

Dr Nicole Geslin
University of Natal
Private Bag X014
Scottsville 3209
KwaZulu Natal 
South Africa

e-mail: geslinn@nu.ac.za
tel: +27 (0)33-2605264
fax: +27 (0)33-2605260