The purpose of the paper is to provide information and analysis of a national purchasing consortium for Australian libraries, Electronic Resources Australia (ERA).
The paper outlines the political and library community factors, which influenced the development of a national approach to purchasing. It outlines the needs of users as expressed to a parliamentary inquiry, the four‐year national consultation and results of the first two years of operation of the consortium.
ERA now provides access to quality online resources for approximately 8.5 million Australians. The work has led to careful consideration of issues including subscription periods, governance, funding models, “best price” and collaboration with vendors for marketing and promotion. Further work needs to continue on marketing and product range to ensure the long‐term success of the consortium.
While a comparison is made with the New Zealand model, EPIC, comparisons are not made with other consortia models.
Key issues in consultation could be applicable to library sector or national collaboration.
The paper provides insight into a model for which very detailed policy and practical development was required.
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