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<liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu> Subject: Re: Authority to sign licenses: How
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Katherine Farrell, the Order Librarian at Princeton, has prepared the
following response. As she's not currently a member of the list, I'm
forwarding it for her. 
Speaking purely personally, it's good to see positive suggestions for things 
librarians can do about the situation -- besides blaming the publishers, that
is. -- DG


I am currently spending more than 60% of my time reviewing contracts 
for electronic
resources of one sort or another (and given the amount there are it
should probably be 110% of my time). As we have discussed before and I
think it may be worth re-stating, I think the most important defense
against this new activity eating up more than the available time is
education. Education particularly for collection development staff who
are making decisions about what an institution should acquire, but also
education of our public so that we have some hope of managing the
expectations on users in this era of instant gratification. 

In my ideal world electronic products would mirror the acquisitions
process of their print bretheren, in that the selector would identify
the material wanted, be familiar with both what it was and how it would
be used in the community, and submit a request for ordering to the
acquisistions unit. Where the print analogy falls down, licenses, I
would add the step that the selector should be previewing the license
against an institutionally established set of criteria, (and I think we
are about at the point of sophistication to be able to come up with
this) and forward the license with warning lights to acquisitions also.

I do believe that the final responsibility for signing should rest with
a single position in the institution and it should be a position with
the authority to actually make these committments for the institution. I
should think that auditors would agree that the person signing the
license should not be the same one who initiated the order. 

Lest you think I've wandered completely away from Mr. Cramond's point,
let me return to the issue of time spent and whose on licenses. If we
were to follow some of the steps above, selectors would need to invest a
bit more time, perhaps, at the point of intitiating an order for an
electronic product, but the acutal process of finalizing the license and
placing the order could be streamlined, and even more useful, we could
be more certain that the end result was more nearly what we had in mind. 

As to the development of management systems to record this information,
we record a lot of this in Nuprices now, but because of the limitations
there I'm the only one who can see it: NOT ideal! I am all for making
these kinds of demands from our next integrated system. I don't think a
zillion single use databases are a good use of anyone's time. What's
wrong with an acq system that can hold live links to the text of a
license for an electronic product (bet no one does that yet, but why
not?) Or why not have the system in which you place your orders be
equipped to keep track of where in the negotiation process a license
is-at Counsel, waiting for further info from your own technical staff,
pending sign-off or execution by the producer, etc... 

As to the question of standardization: what standards? Even the same
publisher often writes a different license for two different products,
but certainly you can glean form the array of licenses that pass through
here a sort of "best practices" list for licenses.

Katherine Farrell
Princeton University Library

> Subject: Authority to sign licenses: How much staff time?
> Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 17:19:52 EST
> From: Steve Cramond <scramond@library.adelaide.edu.au>
> Reply-To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> Apologies for creating a new thread from an existing and interesting one,
> but apropos of David Goodman's observation about rapid growth in the
> number and complexity of licences, we are currently reviewing our
> procedures for handling licences for electronic resources.
> We would be very interested to know how much staff time other libraries
> are devoting to the processes of: proactively developing or adapting
> standard licences as a negotiating strategy; reviewing existing licences
> and [re]negotiating new licences, developing management information
> systems to support this activity - and at what staffing level[s] this is
> being done.
> Any information would be greatly appreciated.
> Regards,
>     ___________________________________________________________________
> Steve Cramond
> Electronic Information Resources Librarian
> University of Adelaide Library
> eMail: scramond@library.adelaide.edu.au
> Phone: +61 8 8303 3629
> Fax: +61 8 8303 4369
> Postal Address: University of Adelaide Library, Adelaide SA 5005,
> Australia

David Goodman 
Biology Librarian, Princeton University Library 
dgoodman@princeton.edu         http://www.princeton.edu/~biolib/
phone: 609-258-3235            fax: 609-258-2627