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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Sunday, November 27, 2005

    e-Book purchasing models

    Just read a short article by Bob McDowall in IT.Director.com. He makes some interesting generalisations with which I would not necessarily agree - "there is, understandably, no demand for e-books for leisure reading purposes" or "use is predicated on a well- structured and organised portal" or " publishers are extremely reluctant to supply text books" - but more remarkable is his closing statement that "unless [consortia] reconcile their interest with the interests of publishers, the economic benefits of e-books will be slow to come to fruition." To my mind, licences are formed by an agreement between two parties, an agreement which stipulates how (and at what cost) one party will supply what is wanted by the other. Agreement - signifying the ability of both parties to understand and negotiate a reconciliation with respect to the needs of the other. All licences should be the result of negotiation and no licence should be the sound of one hand clapping!
    There is - thanks to the JISC, which facilitates access to e-resources for most FE and HE institutions in the UK - a model licence for e-books on which new licences can be based. The JISC has also facilitated a fruitful discussion between publishers and university librarians, which has resulted in a better understanding for each of the others needs when it comes to acquiring, supplying and licensing e-books.



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