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Appendix: Approaches to Financing Electronic Publications

The financing of electronic publications, like all other library materials, requires selectors to confront the hurdles of budget limitations and the lack of dedicated funds. Although selectors have received funds for electronic resources on limited occasions, selectors cannot plan on this rare occurrence. To finance electronic publications, selectors should consider, among other options, cancellation of the print counterpart, the big ticket process, and consortial purchasing.

Selectors will find further information below in "Getting Creative in Purchasing Electronic Resources: What's Wrong Here? Anything?" and "Successful Best Practices." Both documents were prepared by Karla Hahn in connection with the "Creative Funding for E-resources" session of the 2001 summer discussion series on electronic publications.

Getting Creative in Purchasing Electronic Resources: What's wrong here? Anything?

  1. New electronic resources have to be purchased with electronic resource money. Electronic resources are funded in a variety of ways. Electronic publications may be funded as an alternative to a print purchase (i.e. with discretionary funds or by canceling a print subscription). Even end of year funds are typically not designated specifically for electronic resources.
  2. The big ticket list is for CMT to use in spending the electronic resources budget. The big ticket list is a priority list. Electronic resources are funded in a variety of ways. CMT does not have a regular budget annually for new electronic resources. Occasionally, the Libraries have been given special funding. Also the big ticket prioritization includes items that aren't electronic resources.
  3. Selectors are buying CD-ROMs using money allocated to book funds. There's nothing wrong with this practice as long as the CD-ROM is a one-time purchase.
  4. Selectors are sometimes asked to come up with new funding when an electronic resource increases drastically in price. As with print subscriptions, full text subscriptions are carried despite price increases.
  5. Selectors may be asked to review rapidly inflating continuing purchases of all types or to consider alternative electronic resources. Selectors have never been asked to come up with additional funds from their discretionary resources or by canceling other resources.
  6. Selectors are buying e-books using money allocated to book funds. There's nothing wrong with this practice. Selectors should simply follow the newly developed procedures for ordering.
  7. A selector gets an ERRF back because the price indicated includes the price of the content fee but not the access fee. Occasionally selectors do not have a complete quote for an electronic resource. Acquisitions may need to go back to the selector and have her/him work with Betty Day to obtain a current and complete quote.
  8. Three selectors pool funds to purchase an electronic resource. There's nothing wrong with this practice. A memo indicating the sources of funding should accompany the request.
  9. A selector uses money from their monographic discretionary fund to buy an electronic journal. Money from monograph funds cannot generally be used to purchase a continuation. Continuing purchases such as journals or database subscriptions need to be funded from a source for continuing purchases.
  10. A selector cancels two print products to buy one electronic resource. There's nothing wrong with this practice.
  11. A selector buys an item off the big ticket priority list with their own funds. There's nothing wrong with this practice. Big ticket priorities have been funded in a variety of ways.

Successful Best Practices

One time

  • Regular discretionary funds
  • Shared purchases
  • End-of-year when available
  • New funding when available

Continuing publications

  • Cancellations
  • Shared purchases
  • New funding when available
  • End-of-year when available