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Re: Oxford and Cambridge UP

As we progressed through the process of our acquisitions of online access
to serials,two particular obstacles arose: aggregating, and "boilerplate"
licensing. Both issues are, I believe, the result of publishers' concern
for income proctection as they migrate from print-only to electronic
content delivery.

Some background...

Aggregating is the attempt of a content provider to compel simultaneous
acquisition of all its online titles. I do not say publisher here, since
the model varies, some aggregators being only e-conduits. As well, some
publishers have attempted to aggregate content from other publishers
within so-called "enhanced" content sites. Other online providers have
attempted to create the impression that they are providing value when none
is offered, e.g. "free" Medline access.

The boilerplate license agreements have been an additional source of
aggravation. Although we ordinarily acquire (read: pay for) institutional
access which serves all our users at their desktops, or obtain content
through commercial document delivery vendors, the restrictive nature of
most licenses do not permit our users to access online serials while away
from our own facilities, whether at home (telecommuting), or traveling.
These restrictions can be mitigated by remote access server applications,
but this couses the speed of the internet chain to be severly compromised.
However, one aspect of these licenses which affects public access
libraries, ILL, is not an issue for us as a private research library.

So far...

I have dealt with the phenomenon of aggregation as I would any other sort
of extortion, and, although it has taken many months, we have had success
in some instances, and none (so far) in others. The license agreements
posed a thornier problem, particularly for institutional review procedures
which are not unlike in both the public or private sectors. This was
overcome here by the decision to address these licenses as we do
shrinkwrap licensing: we take them or leave them, usually taking since we
are not generally disadvantaged by the terms

I have had long conversations about these issues with many providers'
representatives, but they seem to be constitutionally incapable of
appreciating our views. I have also had conversations with the original
content providers in many instances, particluarly with professional
societies. In the instances where their journal content was being provided
online by third parties, we were able to provide some education about the
circumstances of this provision, which, in concert with others, has
resulted in the migration of several to alternate online content providers
with less restrictive or compulsory characteristics.


One concern I have is with the voluntary association of libraries into
"consortia" that are putatively cooperative buying organizations, but, I
fear, are perhaps unintending but de facto aggregators of online content
users on behalf of its providers. Online aggregators of content and
so-called "consortia" appear functionally identical. The DeBeers model, in
which buyers are forced to take all-or-nothing in a transaction, appears
to be making headway. This will not advantage smaller libraries, and
seemss to preview a time when online access to scholarly publications will
be held by a few providers or mediators of providers ("consortia").  This
will not lead to uncreasingly inexpensive acess. For the private sector
research library, costs are largely recoverable from the marketplace as a
component of cost of production; will this also be the model for public

I am concerned as well about the authors of scholarly papers, and the
opportunities both for publication and for compensation. In sum, it seems
we are migrating from information management to managed information.


Licensing is not an issue, but a distraction. Instituions, public and
private, have been dealing with suchlike since they first purchased
software. I propose we consider alternate possibilities for publication
and provision of access.

Lance Sultzbaugh

P.S.- The Cambridge Press model has a user name/password set for the
library administrator, and each user at a subscribed site chooses their
own. This is hardly onerous, but will probably wither away as providers
become more computer savvy and realize they can track individual usage
through IP addresses without the use of password models.