The University of Lincoln’s library has defended the decision to cancel their annual Ebrary subscription after finding out that the service was not cost effective.
The annual subscription to the service which allows you to “rent” books costs around £20,000 and after an analysis of the usage of the service, which started after summer 2010, it was found that although the students had access to 30,000 books only around 400 were being used significantly.
The short notice of the cancellation had concerned some students who were left unable to access books they already had chosen for work.
Ian Snowley, the university librarian, says the decision was not about saving money: “We realised it costs about the same to buy those 400 titles for forever.”
Currently 320 out of the 400 books that were used effectively through Ebrary have been bought, and they are still working on the other 80.
Snowley also made it clear that “no one should lose out on the short term” from cancelling the service, and if any students are unable to find their book in the library then they can ask their subject librarians who will try to arrange getting the book available for them.
He said that the decision to cut the subscription had to be relatively quick, as the renewal was up at the end of 2010, and students were only notified in early January through the Library News blog.
Although Snowley accepts that it would have been “preferable” to tell students further in advance, it would mean waiting another year to cancel – and decided in the long run it would be the “best way to do it” by starting work on buying the ‘top 400’ titles and figure out what to do next year with the money saved from the subscription.
Instead the idea is to “target and tailor” the library’s services and give it greater “flexibility”.Tweet