Magazine article Information Today

Renting Articles and Buying in Bulk

Magazine article Information Today

Renting Articles and Buying in Bulk

Article excerpt

Tight budgets, rising access costs, and complex end-user needs are elements of the new paradigm facing today's corporate libraries and information centers. Innovative and cost-effective measures must be implemented by information professionals in order to preserve their organizations' current service offerings while maintaining the same quality and degree of access their end users expect. Ejournal subscriptions face a high degree of scrutiny from a budgetary perspective and are often the first to go if cuts are required. Fortunately, this measure can be avoided thanks to recent innovations from various vendors and publishers. Information professionals can successfully preserve end-user access while still meeting cost-cutting goals by adopting alternative access models such as article rental services or buying article downloads in bulk.

As Marija Markovic observed in the July/August 2014 issue of Information Today, "With the availability of online resources, a more independent employee base, and drastic reductions in budget, the library needs to evolve...." It behooves information professionals to seek innovative solutions in order to meet end-user needs and achieve cost-cutting goals. Traditional ejournal site licenses and subscriptions are increasingly difficult to justify due to their considerable cost and inflexibility. If an organization's end users have long enjoyed the benefits of such a resource, a service disruption due to budget cuts or resource reprioritization can have an adverse influence on their work. Fortunately, alternative resources exist, which can easily meet the information needs of end users and avoid painful service disruptions.

Article Rental Services

A recent innovation offered by vendors and publishers is the article rental service. This access model essentially enables end users to rent an article for a short duration of time. Depending on the service, rentals are offered either as subscriptions using a deposit account model or as a one-time rental. As a result, article rental services can open up access to a broad range of content for relatively little cost while also serving as an effective vetting tool with which end users can effectively gauge the relevancy of an article. It can be challenging to determine the true relevancy of an article from a citation or abstract alone. As a solution, an article can be rented for a fraction of the cost of purchasing it, which can reduce the risk of ordering irrelevant content. This type of service is an extremely cost-effective tool that serves as a valuable solution for organizations that require access to a wide range of journal articles but do not have the budget to cover the cost of a site license.

When considering article rental services, there are some limitations that must be addressed. Article rentals are often restricted to web-based browsing, and additional fees may be assessed for printing a page or permanently accessing the paper. If certain controls are not put in place, this can lead to abuse by incognizant end users. Unfortunately, a significant number of publishers either do not make their content available for rent or only offer up access to a limited number of titles. In addition, content available through intermediaries is subject to change at any time. If a publisher pulls its content from the intermediary's platform, a subscribing institution may be forced to pursue more costly methods to obtain previously accessible content. Careful consideration must be given before selecting an article rental service, but the aforementioned risks can be mitigated if they are recognized and addressed at the outset. …

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