[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: ChoiceReviews.online

     Dear Ms. Cubberley,
     As the individual ultimately responsible for ChoiceReviews.online, it 
     seems appropriate that I should be the one to respond to your recent 
     Let me open by observing that it is our goal here at Choice not just to 
     meet but to exceed our subscribers' expectations. We are always 
     distressed when we fail to meet this goal, and we will be disappointed 
     in the extreme if this occurs with ChoiceReviews.online. Behind the 
     April 5 launch of ChoiceReviews.online lies a major effort involving 
     the entire Choice staff, approximately 300 beta-testers at 100 
     institutions, and nearly 18 months of intensive development. 
     ChoiceReviews.online is not only the first new serial launched by 
     Choice since 1968. It represents a step in a wholly new direction, one 
     that we believe is critical to the future of Choice. So we have every 
     incentive to try and get it right, and we have invested accordingly in 
     its development. Furthermore, we propose to continue to do so for the 
     forseeable future, for we see the current incarnation of 
     ChoiceReviews.online as simply the first step on a very long journey. 
     While the ultimate verdict will not be available for some time, I can 
     report that the early response to ChoiceReviews.online has been 
     extremely positive. With just under 100 paid or invoiced subscriptions 
     in place at the end of the first seven weeks, and several hundred 
     60-day trials under way, it seems clear that at least some potential 
     subscribers like what they are seeing. All indications here are that 
     ChoiceReviews.online is off to an encouraging start. We will have more 
     to report in the coming months. For the moment, our fingers are 
     With this as context, let me turn to your concerns. These seem to me 
     to fall into two categories--concerns about the product, and concerns 
     about the license agreement. Since the first of these affects the 
     second, I would like to take them up in that order.
     It is important, in evaluating ChoiceReviews.online 1.0 (or CRO1 as it 
     is known in-house), to understand the purposes and users for which it 
     is designed. Simply stated, CRO1 is designed for our core subscribers, 
     i.e. the same individuals who currently use Choice magazine and 
     Reviews on Cards. It is, in short, primarily designed--and priced--for 
     use by collection development staff--and to a lesser extent, faculty 
     What CRO1 is not intended or designed for is campus-wide use. That 
     will come in a site license version, which we hope to launch this 
     coming January. Unlike CRO1, access to the site license version will 
     be secured via IP address rather than passwords, and there will be no 
     20-user limit. It will also, I hasten to add, carry a necessarily 
     higher price.
     Point number 1 then is that CRO1 is designed for use by library staff, 
     not campus-wide use. We have attempted to make this clear in our 
     advertising--and we most certainly take pains to explain it in our 
     discussions with potential subscribers. Your remarks will encourage us 
     to redouble our efforts in this area. However, I cannot guarantee that 
     we will, in all cases, have space to discuss details of this sort in 
     all settings in which we might choose to promote CRO. That, I think, 
     would be promising a bit much.
     A second important point about CRO1 is that it provides for a great 
     deal of personalization. Each authorized user receives their own 
     individual "workspace" on the CRO site where they can create, edit, 
     and maintain lists of reviews assembled for virtually any purpose that 
     meets their needs. Moreover, these lists can be printed out, 
     downloaded, and distributed via E-mail, as can individual reviews. 
     Finally, by filling out a profile form--which can be modified at any 
     time--users can customize their monthly E-mail bulletin so that it 
     contains only those titles of interest to them.
     All of this will, I hope, help explain CRO1's 20-user limit (which can 
     be increased at additional cost), its use of password protection, and 
     the requirement that subscribers help us to create and maintain their 
     authorized user lists. While these requirements may seem potentially 
     burdensome, they are logical outgrowths of the design and purpose of 
     the product. Furthermroe, they bring with them some advantages as 
     well--notably personalization and ease of access without regard for 
     Most subscribers to date seem to find the 20-user limit livable. Very 
     few are using all 20 slots. None to date have purchased additional 
     ones. And while I regret the necessity of making subscribers 
     responsible for creating and maintaining their own list of authorized 
     users, I am at a loss to imagine how else these lists, which are 
     crucial to the system, can be kept current. In any case, the labor 
     involved seems to me directly analogous to the creation of serial 
     routing slips which has always been the subscriber's responsibility-- 
     for obvious reasons.
     As may be apparent by now, at least some of the concerns about the 
     license agreement listed in your E-mail seem to be based on incorrect 
     assumptions about the nature of CRO1. If, as noted above, CRO1 is 
     designed for use by library staff, it cannot be true that the 
     agreement attempts to "make the licensee responsible for other users." 
     In the normal course of events, there will be no "other" users for 
     whose behavior the licensee can be held responsible. As far as we can 
     tell, this is precisely the pattern that is unfolding with our early 
     subscribers. The authorized user lists we have received to date 
     consist entirely of library staff--in keeping with the design and 
     purpose of CRO1.
     Beyond this, I would offer the following two general responses to your 
     First, the current license agreement, like CRO1, reflects a 
     considerable amount of effort, and represents a sincere attempt to 
     develop a workable agreement. 
     We would like to think that it has a number of strengths. It is brief. 
     (The text proper runs to two pages; the JSTOR agreement, by 
     comparison, is five times as long.) It is relatively clearly written 
     and far more understandable than many. It places remarkably few 
     constraints on permitted uses of ChoiceReviews.online material, 
     allowing for the printing and redistribution of CRO1 materials via a 
     variety of methods including E-mail. It specifically acknowledges and 
     allows for both reserve and instructional use. 
     The only prohibitions on use are those involving republication and 
     commerical use, restrictions which from this vantage point seem in no 
     way remarkable and altogether reasonable. Furthermore, the absence of 
     a provision stipulating that any litigation will take place in the 
     publisher's home state, aka "Governing Jurisdiction" provision, is no 
     We have, in short, made a good faith attempt to draft a workable 
     agreement that takes into account the library community's needs and 
     preferences. Without claiming to have achieved perfection, we would 
     hope that most potential subscribers would recognize the extent of the 
     effort which has gone into the current agreement and would respond 
     accordingly. To date, most have.
     Which leads me to my second and final point which is simply that, in 
     those cases where the current agreement does not meet user needs, we 
     are more than willing to talk. Please know that we will, in such 
     cases, do everything in our power to devise a solution to all 
     legitimate needs. In addition, we are willing too, to consider generic 
     modifications to our current agreement as time and experience suggest 
     that changes are needed.  
     Does this mean we will be able to accomodate every possible request we 
     receive? No, it does not. Clearly there are likely to be at least some 
     instances in which it will be impossible to reconcile Choice's 
     interests and those of the potential subscriber. It is my goal, 
     however, not to prejudge such situations but rather to talk them 
     through as thoroughly as possible before reaching such a conclusion. 
     We hope that our potential subscribers will be willing to do the same. 
     In such cases, two heads truly are better than one--or so it always 
     seems to me.
     In conclusion, let me simply say that I hope this response will at 
     least shed some light on the rationale for those features of CRO you 
     find so problematic. My ultimate hope, of course, is that you and your 
     colleagues will reconsider your initial decision and give CRO a try. We 
     would very much like to be able to add University of Southern 
     Mississippi to the CRO subscriber list. If this is not possible, we 
     will understand, but we will continue to hope that some future version 
     of ChoiceReviews.online will eventually meet your needs.
     Irving E. Rockwood
     Editor & Publisher
     100 Riverview Center
     Middletown, CT 06457
     (860) 347-6933 x19
     (860) 704-0465 fax
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: ChoiceReviews.online 
Author:  <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu > at INTERNET 
Date:    5/25/99 6:17 PM
Dear Steven,
I have just received the license agreement for ChoiceReviews.online, and I 
must say that I am shocked by it. I certainly will not be signing it.
There was no indication in the ad I saw that use would be limited to 20 
individuals. That is not what I call a subscription, and I think it is 
absolutely outrageous.
Furthermore, I find other parts of the license agreement surprising. I 
would think that our own organization would be cognizant of the 
difficulties publishers' licenses create for libraries and would be 
following the discussions going on in the profession concerning them. Yet 
ALA-ACRL is going beyond what many commercial publishers are doing to make 
a license unacceptable.
First, you have an indemnification clause. Most state universities are 
prohibited from entering into an agreement that includes such a clause. We 
are in Mississippi.
You also are attempting to make the licensee responsible for the behavior 
of other users.
Besides limiting us to 20 users, you are giving us a workload of 
maintaining an updated list, and cooperating with you in the implementation 
of additional security procedures as they are developed -- not even knowing 
what they may be, if they are onerous or unreasonable.
How on earth did you miss that other old favorite of publishers that we 
constantly have to negotiate out -- the one that states that any litigation 
will take place in the publishers' home state?
Carol Cubberley
Director of Technical Services/Professor 
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi
Box 5053
Hattiesburg MS 39406
(601) 266-4248
fax (601) 266-6033