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An Environmental Analysis Corroborating PDA and the Winthrop Example
Dacus Library Faculty Publications
  • Antje Mays, Winthrop University
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Libraries seek active ways to innovate amidst macroeconomic shifts, growing online education to help alleviate ever-growing schedule conflicts as students juggle jobs and course schedules, as well as changing business models in publishing and evolving information technologies. Patron-driven acquisition (PDA), also known as demand-driven acquisition (DDA), offers numerous strengths in supporting university curricula in the context of these significant shifts. PDA is a business model centered on short-term loans and subsequent purchases of ebooks resulting directly from patrons' natural use stemming from their discovery of the ebooks in library catalogs where the ebooks' bibliographic records are loaded at regular intervals established between the library and ebook supplier. Winthrop University's PDA plan went live in October 2011, and this article chronicles the philosophical and operational considerations, the in-library collaboration, and technical preparations in concert with the library system vendor and ebook supplier. Short-term loan is invoked after a threshold is crossed, typically number of pages or time spent in the ebook. After a certain number of short-term loans negotiated between the library and ebook supplier, the next short-term loan becomes an automatic purchase after which the library owns the ebook in perpetuity. Purchasing options include single-user and multi-user licenses. Owing to high levels of need in college and university environments, Winthrop chose the multi-user license as the preferred default purchase. Only where multi-user licenses are unavailable does the automatic purchase occur with single-user title licenses. Data on initial use between October 2011 and February 2013 reveal that of all PDA ebooks viewed, only 30% crossed the threshold into short-term loans. Of all triggered short-term loans, Psychology was the highest-using. Of all ebook views too brief to trigger short-term loans, Business was the highest-using area. Although the data are still too young to draw conclusions after only a few months, thought-provoking usage differences between academic disciplines have begun to emerge. These differences should be considered in library plans for the best possible curricular support for each academic program. As higher education struggles with costs and course-delivery methods libraries have an enduring lead role.
Citation Information
Mays, Antje. “An Environmental Analysis Corroborating PDA and the Winthrop Example”, Against the Grain, vol.24:no.2, April 2012, pp.64-67.