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Topical Briefs
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7.  Library Consortia: A Closer Look
(February 2005)
Library Consortia are once again coming to the fore, reinvented and reinvigorated by the opportunities and challenges presented by technology. Libraries once again are finding that working together can accomplish far more than they can individually. As a group, they gain strength from their combined bargaining power to stretch the dollar and to make available a greater breadth and depth of resources and services to users than they otherwise could. The growth of library consortia – the move from organisational self-sufficiency to collaborative survival mode - is perhaps one of the most important developments in the current decade occurring globally. After introducing the basic concepts in library consortia in last month’s brief, this month’s issue examines the more recent developments that have taken place among library consortia. Areas covered include the role of consortia in the digital dawn, new consortium partners and the skills and capabilities needed to manage consortiums. This month’s brief then concludes with learning points distilled from the practices of a number of consortia and suggested strategic applications.
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8.  Library Consortia: An Introduction
(January 2005)
Libraries across all sectors today are faced with increasing expectations and demands for quality services. Ironically, at the same time, library budgets have either shrunk drastically or at best remained static. In this precarious situation, made worse by steep increases in the cost of published information, with particular regards to journal subscriptions, libraries have responded by forming or joining consortia to expand access to print and e-resources and to develop new services. This month’s topical brief provides an introduction to library consortia, in terms of what they are, how they came about, the different types of consortial arrangements existing and concludes with a look at the issues and challenges commonly faced by these groups.
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9.  Collection Building & Management in the Digital Age - Part II
(December 2004)
Part I of this brief on “Collection Building & Management in the Digital Age” was published last month. Part II this month continues where Part I left off. This brief looks at some of the current issues affecting the supply side of library resources in the digital environment. These are: the challenges of maintaining long term affordable access to library materials, especially the almost monopolistically controlled science, technology and medical (STM) serials, and the current and future repercussions of aggregator services. Next, the demand side of digital library resources is discussed; specifically the challenge of capturing and measuring usage levels of electronic resources is examined, given its importance in justifying resource allocation. This is followed by a look at how integrated library systems currently aid librarians in content management and the promises these systems hold for the future ease of managing collections.
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