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Authority to sign licenses

Jeremy Blatchley of Brywn Mawr College writes the following:

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeremy Blatchley [mailto:jblatchl@brynmawr.edu] 
Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 2:02 PM
Subject: authority to sign licenses

I haven't found any discussion that specifically addresses questions of
how libraries are deciding who on their staff has signing authority for
licenses. We have had many internal debates going back and forth, related
to concerns for efficiency in our processing. 

o How easy are contracts to evaluate - are they getting any more uniform?
My sense is no, they are constantly evolving, and we really need our legal
staff involved.

o How liable are individual staff members: is there any known, recorded
instance of a lawsuit between libraries, or consortia and publishers?  I
continue to hear of libraries that have the person doing periodical
checkin signing licenses. It is not clear wether that person is expected
to involve themselves in negotiating contract language.  

o But, disregarding that, those concerned with expediting things will ask,
how likely is it that that person will find themselves in court?  

I'd appreciate hearing from any librarians that have worked through this,
or arrived at a policy about it. Thanks,

                                 Jeremy Blatchley
                                 Serials Librarian
                        Canaday Library, Bryn Mawr College
                                  (610) 526-5297