You may know that Middlebury uses what’s called a “purchase on demand” model for its largest collection of electronic books, EBL (Electronic Book Library). Under this model, we place the catalog records in Midcat but don’t pay anything for the ebook unless and until it’s actually used. Then, we pay a fraction of the list price for each of the first four uses, and on the fifth request, the title is automatically purchased. We have set up seamless access so there’s no delay when you want to use a title, but the library is billed for all uses longer than five minutes, downloads, copies, or printing. There’s a lot more to how the program works, but that’s the broad outline.
Unfortunately, the library has reached the end of its funding for this fiscal year, so we have had to suspend access to the resource until July 1. This is definitely a temporary suspension, and EBL will be back on July 1, along with any titles you may have used but can no longer reach. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and hope it doesn’t put a serious crimp in your work. Please feel free to contact Douglas Black, Head of Collections Management, for more information.
On Wednesday, May 4th from 8-11 PM, the Writing Center at Middlebury College will join 75 other colleges and universities who sponsor a Write-In between the weeks of April 24-May 5. Supported by CTLR, the Writing Program and the Library, the Write-In fosters a writing community by creating a calm time and space in LIB 201, LIB 145 and the Harman Reading Room for students to write together. A Peer Writing Tutor and a Research Librarian will be on hand in LIB 201 to provide support. During the Write-In, students may work on academic papers, do personal writing, or brainstorm writing for fellowships, internships, and jobs. We’ll provide snacks and prizes. See Swarthmore’s International Write-In page for more information.
Why come to a Write-In?
Writing can be lonely, solitary work. Joining a group of other student writers can be motivating, productive, and calming.
How will this work?
Come to Davis Family Library 201 any time between 8-11 PM. Stay from 15 minutes to 3 hours.
Sign in to receive prizes
If you want, we’ll give you a pen and a pad.
Have some tasty snacks (Cheese and Crackers, Chicken Satay, Rice Krispie Treats, Brownies)
Meet with a Peer Writing Tutor or Research Librarian.
Stay in Lib 201, or go to one of our two reserved quiet spaces: Lib 145 and the Harman Reading Room.
What kind of writing should I do?
Academic writing (Start your end of the semester papers this week!) (We’ll provide some research questions.)
Personal writing (No idea where to start? We’ll provide some writing prompts.)
Brainstorm writing for fellowships, internships, and job applications (We have a handy worksheet to get you started.)
A brown-bag lunch will be held on May 3 at 12:30 pm, in the Crest Room of the McCullough Student Center, to explore the subject of the library’s approval profile. Douglas Black, the library’s Head of Collections Management, will be presenting, with some sweets and coffee to augment your own lunch. He’ll give some history of the approval program in library acquisitions over the years and lead discussion on its role in the academic library collection of the 21st century.
For context, the library selects, acquires, and provides access to materials in many different ways:
upon request by students, faculty, and staff
automatic purchase of e-books and streaming media based on usage
package deals on journal subscriptions and purchased journal archives (“backfiles”)
one-time purchases of electronic databases, which often require annual maintenance fees
and through automatic purchase via an “approval profile.”
Under the approval model, the library utilizes a library vendor (in our case, YBP Library Services) to purchase automatically books that meet certain criteria (e.g., subject, hardbound only, no workbooks, scholarly publishers only, within a certain price range, etc.). Middlebury typically purchases about 3,000 volumes/year this way, at an average annual cost of $97,000 in the last few years. We recently conducted a thorough analysis of the program’s effectiveness, finding that print books purchased through the approval profile are used much less than those specifically requested. The library believes some of that money could be spent more effectively and would like to gather input from members of the campus community on reshaping the profile.
Please feel welcome to contact your liaison or Douglas Black (firstname.lastname@example.org or x3635) with any questions (whether or not you can attend the meeting), or comment here in the blog.
A section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display on the second floor of the Davis Family Library, beginning the week of April 11 through the end of April. All interested members of the community are invited to visit the display.
Noticed that an ebook you’ve previously seen no longer appears available? There are several possible reasons, but the most likely one right now is that it was removed from our collection because of its cost. The Library has many sources for ebooks, and the largest one is a company called Ebook Library (EBL). We have some 200,000 EBL records in our catalog, of which we own only .6%. The rest are there for access as needed, and we don’t pay for them until they’re actually used. This is a recently developed program called Demand-Driven Acquisitions (DDA). A vastly oversimplified description is that for the first four uses, the library pays a percentage of the full purchase price, and the fifth use triggers an automatic purchase. DDA lets us offer a tremendous range of ebooks at a small fraction of the full purchase price. Over the last four years, we’ve paid less than $500,000 for access to more than $8 million worth of books.
However, in the last two years, many publishers have decided they weren’t making enough money, so they dramatically hiked their fees for those first four uses, which has sent our library’s costs skyrocketing. We’ve shifted some funds from print purchasing to cover the additional ebook costs, but the only way to moderate expenditures for the longer term is to remove the most expensive titles, along with titles from the most expensive publishers.
What to do? If you’re not finding something you’d previously seen, or if you come across a catalog link that doesn’t work (removing the catalog records tends to lag behind the actual ebook access), email us right away, and we might be able to get it back. If we can’t, we’ll work on finding another way to lay hands on the material for you.