Friday, 22 January 2010

Open Letter from Gale: "Play fair, EBSCO"

Just read John Barnes' (Executive Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, Gale) "Open letter to the library community" describing how:
"...EBSCO, persists in a practice that drives up costs while limiting access to information...", that "...vendors should support libraries with advocacy efforts and sponsorships..." and that "If you worry about information costs going up, we ask you [the libraries and librarians] to take a stand."
Although you could see this kind of statement as self-serving (siding with their customers against one of their biggest competitors), I think this may be a case of technically all actions being in your self-interest.  (We still think there's altruism despite this interpretation.)

This is very interesting to me, given my new position as Collections Librarian.  It presents a problem:  clearly this can and probably does happen.  Information vendors are businesses and it makes business sense to create micro-monopolies wherever possible.  And this does increase costs that are passed on to the customer.  But it's very difficult to see - when there's only one price, it's impossible to compare it - and very often these are resources that libraries cannot operate comfortably without so we can hardly boycott them.

What would YOU do?

[ Found via "Open letter to the library community from John Barnes, Gale" from ]

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