By Barbara Coopey and Bob Alan
Because of licensing restrictions, most electronic books (ebooks) are not sharable through interlibrary loan. As the number of ebooks in libraries continues to grow, consortia like PALCI (Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.) express concern about books not being available beyond local users. The PALCI ebooks task force has been working since 2012 with vendors on developing a way to create a collection of consortially-owned ebooks available to participating libraries. The PALCI DDA (Demand Driven Acquisitions) Ebook Project began February 17, 2014.
Thirty-two PALCI libraries are participating in the project with each contributing to a pool of money. In working with vendors, we found that they preferred to divide the participating libraries into two groups with sixteen libraries using EBSCO and the others using ebrary (Penn State is in this group). Both groups have around the same amount of money in the vendor deposit account and the DDA publisher profiles are very similar. Twenty publishers are in the profiles, including university presses such as Oxford University Press and Princeton University Press, plus others like RAND, McGraw-Hill, and Sage.
The DDA is a purchase model plan, meaning a purchase will be triggered after the initial ten minute view, or if a page is copied, downloaded, or printed. There are no short-term loans. There is a special PALCI “library” of books within ebrary which is targeted by LionSearch. These books will not be in The CAT as they are not owned by Penn State but by PALCI, so the only way to access them is through LionSearch. We continue to work with the E-ZBorrow vendor on making these ebooks discoverable and accessible in E-ZBorrow, but as for now they are not. The project is managed by YBP which helps in avoiding title duplication and ensures that one of our users will not trigger a purchase if we already have the ebook. In order to have a sufficient number of PALCI ebrary books in the pool at the start of the pilot, the vendor loaded some back files in addition to weekly loads of new imprints.
This PALCI DDA project is preserving the interlibrary loan “sharing” concept by combining funds to create a pool of consortially-owned books to which many users from different libraries will continue to have access.