Last week I attended a JIBS-Eduserve seminar entitled ‘Where next for resource licensing?’. Owen Stephens keynote discussion focussed on the increasing use of mobile technology by library users and how we should be meeting these changes in access. He suggested that we needed to get smarter in the type of support offered for these users, and that e-journal licences needed to make provisions for off line access, such as re-formatting/re-packaging for e-books. He ended with what to me came to be the theme of the day, walk-in users and how many found the term a confusing concept.
Following this Louise Cole gave us an excellent overview of the ‘thorny issues’ experienced by librarians attempting to decipher e-journal licences and terminology, and proposed her definitions of what the terms partnerships, alumni, walk in users and distance learners might mean, but stressed that interpretations may differ between licensors and licencees.
Jenny Carroll relayed the results of her survey of Eduserve Data Contacts which suggested that Universities were interested in extending their e-journal licences – and therefore access – to partners, alumni and local businesses and communities, there was uncertainty about how they could implement this and what costs would be involved.
After lunch Matt Durant gave us a positive insight into the implementation and workings of OpenAthens LA 2.0 at Bath Spa University, followed by Mark Bide from EDItEUR talking about machine readable licences. I found this area of particular interest because it could have a huge impact on those such as I who handle copyright for University staff and students. The idea is that their ONIX-PL (ONIX for Publications Licences) would allow users to click on a button and receive clear and concise information as to what they could and couldn’t do with the journal article they were viewing. This would certainly help answer many users queries of this nature, as well as enable course pack and digitisation list checking to be simplified and streamlined.
The final session of the day by Martyn Jansen from Eduserv was also extremely interesting and it was great to hear from someone who works with the writing and implementation of e-journal licences on a daily basis. Eduserv had undertaken a review of their Chest licence to ensure it was fit for purpose and proposed a number of additional clauses, a prototype version of which was sent to contract/legal contacts of their 23 journal suppliers. The results were somewhat skewed by no response having been received from 13 publishers, but Martyn was hopeful that Eduserve could negotiate with suppliers to refine the licence so that it meets both the University librarians needs as well as the concerns of the publishers.
It was an event that was well worth attending and brought JIBs to my attention. I shall look out for further events in the area of e-journals and their licensing.