Module 2 – online access

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Owned resources belong to the library.  Positives include that bar accidental mishap, the library will always have access to the resource.  It can be borrowed multiple times, though often not by multiple users. The cost is usually upfront and no further money is required to maintain access to it. Unfortunately, the resources also becomes outdated from the moment of publication.  Obviously for fiction and some aspects of non-fiction this is not too much of a dilemma but for cutting edge non fiction such as nanotechnology, science, engineering and law as well as journal articles, access to new information is important.

Content via online access has its benefits through universal access, multiformat capability and presence of new material.  The challenges it presents though, can be quite critical for libraries. Tillack (2014) says that “libraries have transformed from owners to renters of increasingly larger and larger proportions of their collections”.  The summary of this, is that the budget previously kept for the acquisition of resources is now allocated to their rental. But it is not a lifetime rental. Most licences do not confirm indefinite access to materials for indefinite periods of time and this means that access to these materials can be easily cut off or priced out of most library budgets.  It is obvious to me that online access benefits the publisher and retailer more than the consumer.

The presence of online access to resources is a major budgetary concern to most libraries.  By committing to the cost of online journals or eBooks via Wheelers, the library is not only proportioning money this year BUT every year.  With budgets constantly under pressure from school boards and department authorities, is it wise to commit a large chunk of funds to a resource that you have not guarantee to?

Tillack, T., (2014) Pressures, opportunities and costs facing research library acquisitions budgets: an Australian perspective. The Australian Law Journal. 63 (3) p206-219 .  DOI: 10.1080/00049670.2014.915498.

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