A Model for Change
Director, CSU Software & Electronic Information Resources
CSU Division of Information Technology Services
THE CSU is the largest public university in the world, comprising 23 campuses, about 35,500 faculty and staff, and 350,000 students. The central office of the Chancellor oversees systemwide management, including the statewide program of cooperative buying run by Evan Reader since 1989. This process consolidates and leverages the purchasing power of the system through combined acquisitions of electronic information resources. It is estimated that $8 million of business per year comes through this central office, resulting annually in a savings of over $2 million.
A major example is the CSU Electronic Core Collection (ECC). This core available to all CSUs includes bibliographic and full-text electronic information resources that support the CSU common curricula. These are resources that are used actively for instruction and are in high demand, e.g., CARL Uncover, JSTOR, STAT-USA, UMI Proquest Direct, Dow Jones Interactive, Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Each of the resources designated as an ECC component must fulfill specific CSU criteria. Contracts are generally for a three-year period, thus avoiding annual renewal decisions. The latest addition to the ECC is the Journal Access Core Collection (JACC).
The initial concept of JACC was to offer electronically every periodical title owned by 15 or more CSU libraries--about 1,300 titles. Seven aggregators responded to the RFP, but only two qualified--EBSCO and OCLC. EBSCO received the current contract. With an initial allocation of $500,000, phase I of JACC includes 490 titles or 10,290 electronic subscriptions for 21 campuses. The average cost per title is $48. Of the 1,300 original titles, only 980 were available in digital format. This list was further reduced by applying a variety of criteria, e.g., annual cost of a specific e-journal not to exceed $500, electronic cost must not exceed print cost, and publisher must provide discount for access beyond current level of paper subscription. Special consideration was given to publishers who would provide print subscribers access to e-journals at no additional cost. EBSCOHost, an aggregated database, provided 390 of the 490 titles. The remaining 100 came directly from 25 other publishers.
The JACC model reflects a new approach for e-journal licensing based on CSU's needs rather than established vendor offerings. It reflects a customized database, not an existing one. The goal is to strengthen core journal resources and provide seamless access to these Web-based journals through the CSU Pharos common interface. A major advantage of Pharos is the ability to check proxy authorization against patron files. CSU students, faculty and staff can access electronic research resources through any Web browser. The JACC project reflects a contract that addresses content coverage and quality, standards compliance and archiving, as well as a quality of service and a discounted price. Yet, JACC is NOT a contract awarded solely on the basis of discount, nor is it a process to mandate cancellation of print journals.
Among many requirements are the provision of stable and durable URLs, compliance with Z39.50 protocol, e-journal equivalence to print in both content and currency, three years of backfile coverage where available, MARC records supplied with OCLC number, prior notification of discontinued content and loss of rights, and credit for loss of content. Some archiving, license and rights issues remain and are complex to address; others are falling into place. The future will see a second phase, where additional titles are added before the end of the fiscal year. Ultimately the aim is 1,300 titles as funding increases. Perhaps the pursuit of groups of titles common to small groups of CSU campuses will follow.
JACC has provided a model for a group of libraries to get together and express their needs to the vendor community. For additional information about the JACC program and process, consult http://www.co.calstate.edu/irt/seir/JACC/JACC.html.