Library consortium adopts EBA model for e-book acquisition

Evidence-based acquisition helps campus libraries in Pennsylvania save on digital learning materials

College and university libraries often join consortia to control costs of purchasing both print and electronic books.

One way consortia are trying to cut their costs is by using the same purchasing models academic libraries have adopted.

In 2017, the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium Inc. (PALCI) began piloting an evidence-based acquisition (EBA) model with JSTOR, a digital library that offers subscriptions for accessing e-books and e-journals. PALCI purchases books for 69 academic and research libraries in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, many of which are based at smaller schools that cannot afford access to large digital collections.

“Our institutions save a lot of money by leveraging their collective buying power,” says Jill Morris, executive director of PALCI. “And that increases access to information for all of our users.”

Under its EBA program, PALCI pays an upfront fee to provide access to a collection of 40,000 e-books to 10 of the schools in the consortium. At the end of one year, PALCI applies a percentage of the money that it committed toward purchasing some of the titles, based on usage data. Then, it has the option to renew the agreement.

The consortium had tried several demand-driven acquisition (DDA) programs, but found that the model was not cost-effective for a large group of libraries. With DDA, a library is required to buy an e-book when it is downloaded a certain number of times.

Read the main story about e-book acquisition models here

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