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Re: Decision-making for acquiring databases for library collections

We have purchased several online historical archives over the 
past 6 years.

There are a number of essential criteria that informs our 
decision to
purchase quality full text and archival databases:

  *   User demand for this type of online content and current gaps 
in our collections.
  *   The quality of the archive content and usability of the 
search interface
  *   The licence terms allow our remote registered users to use 
the archive.
  *   The subject area fits within our Collection and Resources 
Development Policy and relates to our collection strengths
  *   Our previous experience with the vendor, including 
acceptable licensing terms and conditions; they are flexible 
about renegotiating licences when required; and reliability of 
service. The vendor's reputation with other libraries in our 
consortium is also considered.
  *   The availability of funds to make an outright purchase and 
the level of the annual hosting fees
  *   Our cost benefit analysis has demonstrated that an outright 
purchase (plus an annual hosting fee) will result in less net 
cost than a subscription to the same/similar content over the 
longer term.

Of increasing significance in our decisions is the 
interoperability of these eresources with federated searching, 
A-Z list and the availability of quality MARC records. We 
purchased a couple of archival databases 5-6 years ago that have 
very limited interoperability and they have been poorly used.  We 
are unlikely to make that type purchasing decision again as we 
are not getting value for money from them.


Lisa Peddey
Electronic Acquisitions Team Leader
State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000 Australia
Telephone +613 8664 7134