Gale Virtual Reference Library: Usage-Based Collection Development

Article excerpt

What if libraries could build their ebook collections based on actual title usage, not on guesswork about what their patrons will need? Gale, part of Cengage Learning, answers that question with its new usage-driven acquisition (UDA) model. Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) customers can use UDA to purchase only the ebooks that patrons have actually accessed, making collection development a less risky investment.

Libraries interested in UDA make a deposit with Gale, which gives them 6 months of full access to GVRL's content. At the end of this period, the ebooks that have been viewed most will be added to the library's permanent GVRL collection with unlimited, simultaneous usage of each title. The price of each ebook will be deducted from the library's initial deposit.

Gale launched GVRL about 10 years ago as a way to digitize its reference content, especially the encyclopedias it publishes, says Nader Qaimari, Gale's SVP of sales and marketing. Now GVRL has more than 80 publisher partners, with almost 10,000 titles in a variety of subject areas. Its ebook collection is composed of reference content and nonfiction series titles for use in all types of libraries.

"It's an ebook platform a little different from other ebook platforms in the sense that we don't have a check-in/checkout process," Qaimari notes. "It's not about DRM; it operates like a database, so everything is digitized in HTML and PDF. …

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