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Re: Perpetual Access

In an earlier note, Greg McGowan asks:

"I wonder if anyone has yet, or will in the future, do a cost/benefit
analysis of retaining the data from electronic subscriptions." 

I've often wondered about the costs/benefits of retaining data from
cancelled electronic licenses.  We make comparisons to the print world,
saying that electronic subscriptions should be analagous to paper
subscriptions. While I believe that libraries should have the option of
retaining data once a license/subscription ends (just as with print
subscriptions), the analogy ends there. 

With a cancelled print subscription, the library doesn't have to do
anything special to maintain access: the catalog record is already there,
the serials holdings info is already there, and the bound volumes are
already sitting on the shelves, along with the rest of the library's print
materials.  While some work needs to be done to indicate the title has
been cancelled, etc., access to the information in those journals is
maintained with relatively little overhead. 

It's not the same with some electronic subscriptions.  In many cases, some
sort of specific access path must be maintained if the data are to be
accessible.  For example, Paul Sanz noted that NewsBank offers a "disc (or
tape at extra cost) as an option with the new online InfoWeb versions." It
would seem that there might be a higher relative overhead to maintaining
access to a cancelled electronic subscription, as opposed to a cancelled
print subscription. 

At what point do the overhead costs of maintaining access to a cancelled
electronic subscription stop making sense from a cost/benefit perspective,
especially as the currency of the data diminishes with each passing day?
As I noted earlier, the costs of maintaining access to cancelled print
journals can be incidental.......the costs of main- taining access to
cancelled electronic subscriptions could be significantly greater. 

Just wondering if anyone has grappled with this.....

Bernie Sloan


Bernie Sloan
Senior Library Information Systems Consultant
University of Illinois Office for Planning & Budgeting
338 Henry Administration Building
506 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL  61801
Phone:  217-333-4895
Fax:       217-333-6355
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