Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, January 07, 2008

"OA is an acquisitions librarian dream come true"

Eric Lease Morgan, Today's digital information landscape, Musings on Information and Librarianship, December 1, 2007.  (Thanks to Wouter Gerritsma.)  Excerpt:

...Institutional repositories seem to be yet another reaction to the dramatic and never-ending price increases in scholarly literature. Believe it or not OAI-PMH was one of the first reactions. SPARC was another. Sprinkle the idea of open source on institutional repositories and you get open access. Institutional repositories and open access publishing activities are here to stay, but so is commercial publishing. Just as open source software is not going to replace commercial software, institutional repositories and open access publishing will live side-by-side their commercial counterparts.

I attended the Charleston Conference a few weeks ago. The majority of participants come from academic library acquisitions departments and academic publishing companies. Next to the topic of ebooks, open access was on everybody's mind. A common question was, "What are we going to do for a job when and if everything becomes open access?" Again, this sort of question focuses too much on the how of the profession and less on the what. Open access is (can be) an acquisitions librarian dream come true as long as you think of acquisitions as the process of bringing materials into a collection. Identify content. Bring it in locally. Organize and index it. Make it available and useful to the local constituents. Moreover, once the content is in hand and in digital form, there are a myriad of other value-added services libraries can provide against this content, outlined in the section below.

Acquisitions departments are not necessarily about buying content. If there were, then they would be working in the Purchasing Department. An acquisitions department is responsible for bringing collections into the library. Those things can be items from commercial publishers, open access sites, the hosting college/university, or the Web in general. How are you going to preserve the content if you don't bring it in locally? ...