From the Yale Daily News:
Over the last few years, the library has been “aggressively acquiring electronic resources across all disciplines,” said Daniel Dollar, director of collection development for the University Library. University Librarian Susan Gibbons added that the proportion of the library’s general collection funding directed toward acquiring digital resources has increased each year since the library purchased its first electronic resource. This year, over half of this budget went toward digital acquisitions.
But the expansion of online resources does not imply increased access for all. Just as graduates and researchers unaffiliated with Yale must come to the library in order to browse its bookshelves, they also must travel to New Haven to view Yale’s digital property.
Whether researchers will always need to physically travel to view digital resources remains to be seen. When eJournals took off in the 1990s, academic libraries joined forces to negotiate better prices with publishers of electronic journals. But individual libraries still purchased separate licenses for their respective communities. Yale later helped to launch Borrow Direct officially in 2002, creating a system through which Yalies can borrow books from the libraries at the University’s peer institutions.
Now, library administrators are faced with whether a Borrow Direct-type system might be possible for electronic resources, history librarian Gregory Eow said. He added that conversations are in an “embryonic stage” within academic libraries, though challenges regarding licensing agreements with publishers and vendors may be difficult — if not impossible — to overcome.
Still, all library representatives interviewed expressed interest in expanding resources to better help its users. [Robert] Wolven, [director of library systems and bibliographical control at Columbia] said Columbia’s library has “engaged in discussion” about extending digital access among members of the Borrow Direct group. While the process will likely be one of trial and error, he said, he is “hopeful” the groups “will ultimately be able to find ways to share access.”
Joseph Zucca, director of planning and communication at the University of Pennsylvania libraries, said that he does not think publishers are currently prepared to provide a business model.
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