Treading Lightly


Could it be true that some hope may be in sight for a cooperative resolution to the problems of library journal pricing? In the Chronicle of Higher Education (09.21.2007) a report cited that the work previously done through NISO and other institutions, has led to a possible solution via SERU. To quote the article:

Libraries and publishers can now agree to use the “Shared E-Resource Understanding,” or SERU, a five-page document that lists a few dozen stipulated points. (For example: “The subscribing institution will employ appropriate measures to ensure that access is limited to authorized users and will not knowingly allow unauthorized users to gain access.”)

Whether or not every publisher would agree to such terms is questionable, and in the same regard not every library has the staff numbers or monetary backing to “ensure” that all “appropriate measures” will be in place.

I find the statement from Judy Luther,

“…libraries and publishers are more comfortable with the digital environment, and they feel less need to protect themselves with fortresses of legalese,”

to be rather curious. My experience has been that the publishers are quite concerned with the digital environment. They fear open access to content, unauthorized digital copying, and interlibrary loan sharing via digital channels.

Still fingers crossed that this model works out for the best.

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