Sign in or Join FriendFeed
FriendFeed is the easiest way to share online. Learn more »
Steele Lawman
Gale: An open letter to the library community -
Gale: An open letter to the library community
"Last summer, Gale publicly expressed our concerns over exclusive licensing agreements (the practice of "locking up" a periodical publisher's content with a single information provider) and asked you to join us in a conversation about the impact on libraries and on those whom libraries serve. Many librarians expressed agreement, via blog, Twitter and phone calls. Nevertheless, another information provider, EBSCO, persists in a practice that drives up costs while limiting access to information, and chooses to mislead libraries as to their purpose. We'd like to set the record straight...." - Steele Lawman from Bookmarklet
My director called it a "frontal attack." - Steele Lawman
Ooooh, boy, this is gonna get interesting. *gets popcorn* - Kirsten
After last year's Harvard Business Review/EBSCO thing, I've got no love for EBSCO. - Stephen Francoeur
Yeah, don't let me start in on how crappy Gale is with its search interface and the way it doesn't play well in our fed search implementation. - Stephen Francoeur
Can we call it a monopoly yet? - Andy
Was just going to bring up Gale's issues with federated access, Stephen. It's like trying to navigate Scylla and Charybdis. - Kirsten
The real conundrum is: can I justify not getting EBSCO products because of their practices? Does the need to battle the destructive practice override the immediate needs of our users and our mission? EBSCO (in my opinion) does have one of the best interfaces and collections of content among the large aggregates (Gale, PQ, etc.). My job is to provide the best resources, using available and limited budget $$, for our students & faculty. Regardless of their obviously greedy and destructive current acqisition model, EBSCO still represents (at least when compared to Gale, esp) the best product for our users. - Dana Longley
And I guess the 2nd part of my response is: short of hitting them in the pocketbook (canceling subscriptions), what can we do that will have real impact? Will tweeting and forming Facebok groups really change their minds, or the needs of their shareholders for profit margin, on this? - Dana Longley
To add to the complications... EBSCO, much like Elsevier, has content we HAVE TO HAVE. But EBSCO has been a very, very good partner to SUNY where Elsevier has not. Gale has, also, but they don't have the content or interfaces that EBSCO has. No one of our vendors is perfect, and so we're making choices in a sea of impossible combinations. - Jenica
Jenica you are exactly right. And does it get even more complicated when we consider the possibility that EBSCO may not continue to be such a great partner to libraries if they increase monopoly; their hold on exclusive and "must have" content? Will they continue to have an incentive to do so? - Dana Longley
Here is an immediate impact on us on this: we had been considering replacing some of our remaining Gale dbs with their EBSCO equivalents, mostly for the sake of reducing the number of different interfaces (and b/c EBSCO's is just better). But when I consider these new developments, it gives me pause. Do I want to make us even more dependent on a single vendor and the now increased possibility they will have the leverage to raise prices beyond the already seemingly industry standard and exorbitant 5% per year? - Dana Longley
They have been very aggressive about targeting the competition and offering better deals (CSA has probably lost a lot of business as a result). I do worry about their dominance, especially as they basically own the subscription agent market. My experience is that they are interested in reputation management, but they are not necessarily open about their practices. Do we know any database vendor that is? - barbara fister
Dana: You put your finger on a really good point. Many of us are moving from Gale or CSA or Proquest platforms to the EBSCO ones and becoming increasingly wedded to that company. I, too, worry about us increasingly being in thrall to them. - Stephen Francoeur
Stephen - perhaps we need an EBSCO version of this: anti-psychotronic software : - Dana Longley
Dana said exactly what I was going to post. We have been deep in EBSCO products for a long time, partly because of their cross-database searching (we don't have federated search), partly because of their cross-database full text linking (we were late to the game on a link resolver) and partly because their interface is generally superior to the competition. AND, like Jenica's library, we MUST have some of their content (CINAHL, anyone?) So we're kinda stuck. - Catherine Pellegrino
Paul Pival was contacted by EBSCO, who said that Science was not part of the deal. Details at - Stephen Francoeur
Also, see Norman Oder's Library Journal piece, which includes Proquest's response. - Stephen Francoeur
I brought a load of pitchforks and torches. Where the party at? - Mr. Gunn
What? Librarians *not* being in love with monopolies, particularly from suppliers? What kind of radical stuff is this? - Walt Crawford