Library/Vendor Relationships

Rebecca L. Mugridge (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




Mugridge, R.L. (2008), "Library/Vendor Relationships", Collection Building, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 90-91.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

For many decades libraries and vendors have worked together to provide services and products to our users, and to increase the efficiencies and effectiveness of how we go about providing those services and products. This collection of 16 chapters, authored by librarians, library managers and vendors, provides the reader with perspectives and analyses of many aspects of their relationships. The collection is ably edited and introduced by Brooks and Carlson, who authored short introductory chapters addressing respectively the need for open communication and creating lasting, healthy relationships between libraries and vendors.

Several of the chapters address the challenges of particular types of libraries. Gagnon touches on the uniqueness of public libraries and provides a number of recommendations on how to meet with and influence vendors. Raley and Smith discuss the uniqueness and needs of community college libraries, and Gernand discusses the challenges and needs of government libraries, including a need for flexible payment options, since government libraries are subject to the passing of a budget. Erdogan and Karasozen provide a case study of the Anatolian University Libraries Consortium's developing relationship with vendors and its use of the consortial status to aid in its negotiation of database contracts.

The vendors' or publishers' perspectives are offered in a number of chapters. Beebe addresses the library/vendor relationship from the perspective of a vendor, the American Psychological Association, and discusses the mutual benefits of offering electronic resources on multiple platforms, providing flexibility to its customers. Coe discusses the growing trend of book vendors to offer technical services to libraries, including cataloging and the physical processing of library materials. Courtney looks at a number of developments that academic publishers are undertaking to improve services to libraries, including the use of digital object identifiers, enhanced subscription services and focus groups. Harris reviews the need for and development of library standards, and presents the National Information Standards Organization as a case study of the collaborative work done by libraries and vendors.

Several chapters discuss the topic of vendors' or publishers' use of advisory groups. Needham and Van Orden examine the relationship between OCLC and its Member Council, which advises on many significant decisions. Fries and James discuss the use of library advisory boards by publishers and vendors and provide an analysis of the benefits of such boards to both parties.

Working together to resolve problems is the topic of the remaining chapters. Baker and Tenopir discuss a topic of concern to many libraries and vendors alike: the systematic downloading of licensed electronic resources. Kline and Barlow examine the experiences of a public library and vendor working together to develop and implement a process to collect fines online, resulting in a much higher fine revenue for the library. Olivieri maintains that libraries and publishers need to work more closely to achieve the common good, for example, in negotiating contracts. Finally, Sloan analyzes the usefulness of electronic discussion lists in communicating with other librarians as well as vendors.

Overall, this is a useful collection for libraries where there is interest and which do not already subscribe to the Journal of Library Administration.

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