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Systemwide DDA (Demand Driven Acquisition) Pilot, 2013-2015

Latest News (2016)

The ebrary DDA pilot was a successful experiment in testing consortial ebook DDA models for the UC system. While the pilot has not realized our ebook value statement parameters — books all have DRM, Interlibrary Loan is at the chapter level, etc. — the pilot did provide broad access to titles from 63 University Presses for a consortial cost of $28 per purchased title, per campus. Further, it allowed the UC system to test the ebook interest level of our Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences user communities. The usage data indicates that their interest is significant, particularly in the Social Sciences (general) and in History.

However, due to uncertainty with the DDA model and increasing short term loan pricing by many publishers, the task force recommended ending the pilot in December 2015. The Shared Content Leadership Group (SCLG) approved the pilot’s sunsetting on December 31, 2015. The DDA task force is continuing to explore other available ebook models with the goal to start a new pilot in 2017.

A recent user survey was conducted by CDL and UC Santa Cruz to gain insights on how ebooks are utilized in the social sciences. A summary of the study which included ebooks from the ebrary pilot is linked here: Assessing E-book and Print Book User Behavior in Academic Libraries.


Goal of the Pilot (from the UC DDA Task Force Charge on March 1, 2013)

The UC Libraries seek to maximize investments in digital content that enrich the system wide library collection, accelerate the transition to a primarily digital environment, and optimize the use of physical library space. Among the strategic initiatives called out to support these objectives is the continued development of models for licensing eBooks that are cost-effective and that ensure long-term access to such content.

Demand-driven acquisitions (DDA) is an approach to monographic purchasing that is gaining wide currency among academic libraries and consortia as a means of optimizing investments in e-books, by ensuring that monographic acquisitions meet the demonstrated needs of academic patrons while controlling direct costs. Many UC campus libraries are experimenting with local DDA approaches, but these efforts have not yet been explored on a consortial basis. CDC (now CLS) has identified a system wide DDA pilot as a key objective for 2012-2013.

Summary of the Pilot

The pilot began in January 2014 and includes University Press titles from approximately 65 publishers covering Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The platform chosen is ProQuest/ebrary and the management system is via YBP’s GobiTween. The pilot includes six years of content (2010-2015) with over 3,000 titles available on ebrary and discoverable through Melvyl and local OPACs.

Short term loans (STLs) will allow students and faculty to use the ebooks prior to a consortial purchase of the title. After three STLs across the system, the next STL will trigger a purchase with perpetual rights for all nine participating campuses (excluding UCSF).

For users, the DDA pilot will be invisible and ‘behind the scenes’: titles in the DDA profile pool will look like holdings in local catalogs and user activity (free browsing, viewing pages, printing chapters, etc.) will happen in real time without intervention from library staff.

The pilot is funded for two years (CLS approved a second year in November 2014).

The following chart explains the pilot’s subject scope, business terms, DRM restrictions and other technical details of the ebrary platform: Summary of Business Terms.

The list of participating university press publishers is given here: JSTOR List of Publishers.


The DDA pilot is an effort to determine the feasibility of consortial DDA for the UC system. It is intentionally a narrowly focused pilot. We selected University Presses because we wanted to learn more about what titles are of most interest to our users and to support the mission of the presses.

The DDA task force will track user behavior through trigger reports provided by JSTOR and will complete a cost-benefit analysis. More information on the parameters of the assessment report will be added here at a later date.


Who to Contact

Please contact the Task Force member at your campus if you have questions:


  • January 2014: Pilot begins (catalog records are distributed)
  • October 2014: Draft assessment report
  • January 2015: Interim assessment report
  • December 2015: Final assessment report presented to SCLG
  • December 31, 2015: DDA pilot ends