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ICOLC Meeting March 4-6, 1999

Beverlee French, associate director for shared collections and services, represented the CDL at the recent meeting of the International Coalition of Library Consortia.  Not only does this group provide a forum twice yearly in which to query invited vendors about their consortial business and licensing issues, but it provides useful contacts with whom to compare strategies for licensing and collaborative decision-making.  Although the number of consortia is growing, attendance is limited to two individuals per consortium to preserve the group’s spontaneity.  ICOLC’s official web page is at Yale (; its unofficial web page is at OhioLink (  Detailed reports by Ann Okerson, Yale associate university librarian, on the March 4-6 sessions are available on the CDL Shared Collections web page [] .

ICOLC has promulgated three sets of guidelines, which should be useful to all of us in shaping the marketplace.  The most recent two, “Guidelines for Statistical Measures of Usage of Web-based Indexed, Abstracted, and Full Text Resources, November 1998” and “Guidelines for Technical Issues in Request for Proposal (RFP) Requirements and Contract Negotiations, January 1999” (on the Yale site and linked from the CDL Shared Collections site), were addressed by a panel of vendors.  ISI, Cambridge Scientific, and CIS representatives responded favorably to these guidelines and spoke to their own progress in meeting them.  ISI has concentrated its resources on links to full-text.  ISI has plans for a consortium in order to share ports without identical backfiles, but still no plans to provide use data by IP address (and therefore by school) in its shared port arrangements.  The desirability of Z39.50 capability for abstract/index producers engendered lively discussion.

Vendors invited to present included Softline (Ethnic Newswatch, etc.), Responsive Data Systems (Contemporary Women’s Issues), Dun & Bradstreet, Gale Group, and Cambridge Scientific, ABC-CLIO, Oxford University Press (for OED and other reference projects).  Small discussion groups addressed RFP/Contracting issues, multi-type consortial issues, electronic journal licensing, and funding and funding formulae.  Plenary sessions also addressed multi-consortial licensing prospects and advertising in scholarly resources.

A few highlights may be of interest to CDLInfo readers: The Gale Group will probably create new information products by marrying Gale reference products with IAC periodicals and Primary Source Media full-text resources.  Linking to library holdings and amongst resources seems to be prominent in many vendors’ developments.  For example, Gale Group will link its products to LION (e.g., Scribner Writer Series, Literature Resource Center).  Another emerging feature is the integration of web resources into reference and abstracting/indexing tools.  An interesting measure of the quality of these selections was the number of sites disappearing in the regular link checks.

SOLINET negotiated a national license for Academic Universe.  SOLINET Director Angee Baker advised that such mega-licensing works best for new, emergent products that do not have extensive market penetration.  Some possibilities on the horizon are Poole’s Plus, an index of 19th Century periodical literature and full-text (about 80%), and McGraw-Hill’s Access Science.  Oxford Analytica (Ox Research and Ox Week) has announced pricing that is based on the total amount of North American business.  SOLINET has indicated interest in additional national negotiations.  SOLINET’s Academic Universe arrangement consumed 4,069 person hours or 543 workdays, including 697 senior manager hours and 1,150 accounting staff hours.

Advertising in information products launched a lively discussion.  Although the ICOLC has a committee to advise CIS on advertising guidelines for Academic Universe (apparently advertising hasn’t panned out, resulting in considerably raised prices), there was no conclusion that it is wise for the ICOLC to involve itself in this arena.