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Consortia in Europe: describing the various solutions through four country examples.


This article describes and discusses consortia models in Europe. Emphasis is given to those consortia that support content provision and access to electronic information resources (1) The data and information assets of an organization, department or unit. See data administration.

(2) Another name for the Information Systems (IS) or Information Technology (IT) department. See IT.
 in society. Four country cases are introduced as examples of the heterogeneous solutions chosen by the consortia. The main results and impact of the consortia are discussed. International cooperation has played an important role in the development of consortia in Europe. Regional and global collaboration initiatives are also discussed.


The number of library consortia existing worldwide is significant. More than 180 organizations are listed on the International Coalition of Library Consortia's Web site, and almost 40 of these are European organizations. Europe is a mix of different cultures, languages, and nationalities, with varying historical and cultural backgrounds; there are more than forty countries and around forty languages spoken in Europe. In many countries more than one language is spoken as a native language. In many parts of Europe, especially in the south and east, electronic resources in languages other than English LOTE or Languages Other Than English is the name given to language subjects at Australian schools. LOTEs have often historically been related to the policy of multiculturalism, and tend to reflect the predominant non-English languages spoken in a school's local area, the  are required. Very often, providing these alternate resources has proved difficult. The economic situation in European countries differs very much as well. In most parts of Europe, the national information technology (IT) infrastructure is of very high quality and forms the basis of the development of digital services. However, this is not yet the case in all European countries.

The models chosen for consortium cooperation in Europe range from centralized cen·tral·ize  
v. cen·tral·ized, cen·tral·iz·ing, cen·tral·iz·es
1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.

 to decentralized de·cen·tral·ize  
v. de·cen·tral·ized, de·cen·tral·iz·ing, de·cen·tral·iz·es
1. To distribute the administrative functions or powers of (a central authority) among several local authorities.
 solutions and from well-organized to poorly organized consortia; funding and staffing solutions vary as well. Giordano (2002) has analyzed an·a·lyze  
tr.v. an·a·lyzed, an·a·lyz·ing, an·a·lyz·es
1. To examine methodically by separating into parts and studying their interrelations.

2. Chemistry To make a chemical analysis of.

 library consortium models in Europe. He has found three basic models: national centralized models, national decentralized models, and regional models. National centralized models are typical for the Nordic consortia. France is an example of a national decentralized model. In Belgium the French and Flemish speaking universities have each formed their own consortium. These might be called regional consortia. In many countries, more than one model is in use. For example, in the UK there are discipline-based, regional, and national consortia.

Today there is a strong emphasis on national and international cooperation in libraries. In Europe, cooperation within the European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the

European Community
 is highlighted, and there are also some signs that cooperation with Asian countries Noun 1. Asian country - any one of the nations occupying the Asian continent
Asian nation

country, land, state - the territory occupied by a nation; "he returned to the land of his birth"; "he visited several European countries"
 is becoming more active. The changes in the working environment of libraries most likely have increased the need for and the benefits of cooperation. In the digital environment, services can be centralized, resulting in significant savings, and the division of labor between various stakeholders Stakeholders

All parties that have an interest, financial or otherwise, in a firm-stockholders, creditors, bondholders, employees, customers, management, the community, and the government.
 can be redistributed re·dis·trib·ute  
tr.v. re·dis·trib·ut·ed, re·dis·trib·ut·ing, re·dis·trib·utes
To distribute again in a different way; reallocate.

Adj. 1.


FinELib: The National Electronic Library Program

The National Electronic Library program of Finland--FinELib--was launched by the Ministry of Education in 1997. The aim of its activities during the first years of its operation was to support higher education higher education

Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art.
, research, and learning in Finland. The program was started in accordance with the government's Information Society Programme. The basic goals of FinELib were to increase the amount of electronic information available to users, to improve information retrieval information retrieval

Recovery of information, especially in a database stored in a computer. Two main approaches are matching words in the query against the database index (keyword searching) and traversing the database using hypertext or hypermedia links.
 from the Internet, and to develop a graphical user interface graphical user interface (GUI)

Computer display format that allows the user to select commands, call up files, start programs, and do other routine tasks by using a mouse to point to pictorial symbols (icons) or lists of menu choices on the screen as opposed to having to
 to give access to heterogeneous information resources available to users from different sources. The goals have remained the same, but the focus of the program has been enlarged. Since 2004 the emphasis has been on promoting access to information for everybody.

For the period 1997-99, operations were of a project nature (Hormia-Poutanen, 1999), but from 2000 onwards on·ward  
Moving or tending forward.

adv. also on·wards
In a direction or toward a position that is ahead in space or time; forward.

Adv. 1.
 operations have become a standard part of the activities of Helsinki University Library--the national library of Finland. During the first years of operation, the principles that guide the activities were formed. These principles cover such topics as licensing policy, share of central funding, selection of resources to be licensed, development activities, and cooperation with the library network as well as with other important national and international players (Hormia-Poutanen, 2002a).

The funding model is based on centralized funding from the Ministry of Education and consortium members' own funding. In the first years of operation there was government funding for the universities only. Today, polytechnics and public libraries also receive government funding. The level of central funding in 2005 is 4.5 million euro.

The FinELib Consortium: Crossing Organizational Boundaries

The National Electronic Library program is itself a consortium that, in 2005, consists of 108 members. All universities, polytechnics, and public libraries, as well as 36 research institutes, belong to the FinELib consortium. Libraries in Finland are accustomed to working within their own sector; funding is also allocated to each sector separately. FinELib is one of the first programs in which different types of organizations work hand-in-hand to obtain synergy The enhanced result of two or more people, groups or organizations working together. In other words, one and one equals three! It comes from the Greek "synergia," which means joint work and cooperative action.  from cross-sectoral cooperation. Due to large, shared national projects, such as the implementation of the national portal, the Ministry of Education has also seen the need to coordinate activities across the library sectors.

The main principles guiding the management of the consortium have been defined in the Memorandum of Understanding A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a legal document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action and may not imply a legal commitment.  (MOU (Minutes Of Usage) A metric used to compute billing and/or statistics for telephone calls or other network use. , 2004), which has been updated recently and covers the period 2004-2006. FinELib has a service agreement that covers two main services: the licensing of e-resources and the maintenance of the national portal. In these service agreements, the responsibilities of the National Library and the customer have been defined.

The program is managed through three working groups. The high-level steering group is responsible for policy making, strategic planning Strategic planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. , drawing up the annual Plan of Action, and evaluating the results. The group consists of top-level management from the universities, polytechnics, research institutes and their libraries, the public libraries, the Ministry of Education, and the end-users. The consortium group is responsible for more practical issues and consists of library directors from the four library sectors. The expertise of the various fields of science Fields of science are widely-recognized categories of specialized expertise within science, and typically embody their own terminology and nomenclature.

Natural sciences

Main article: Natural science
, as well as technology issues and the interests of end-users, are represented in the expert groups. Their main task is to submit proposals for resources to be licensed in the future and to develop National Electronic Library Interface (Nelli) portal services at the organization level. Although the final decisions have to be made by the National Library, this three-tier organization guarantees that all consortium members can make their voices heard and influence decisions.

National Electronic Library Program: An Active Player in the Development of the Information Society

In 2005 FinELib is a well-known and highly valued national program. Funding is directed toward the acquisition of high-quality electronic resources as well as the development of the national portal. The funding also includes additional costs, such as staff and staff development. The estimated total cost in 2005 is over 12 million euro, consisting of central funding and the organizations' own funding.

From the libraries' point of view, FinELib is regarded as a service center for libraries. A good deal of effort goes into developing the working methods within the service center to meet the needs of the libraries. Emphasis is also given to expanding the expertise of the staff. In 2005 the staff consists of twelve members, half of whom work on licensing issues and half on implementation and development of the national portal.

In 2005 FinELib signed license agreements covering 19,500 e-journals; 230 databases; and 25,000 e-books, dictionaries, handbooks, and even software (see Table 1). The acquisitions that are made through FinELib cover 84 percent of the acquisitions of electronic resources at Finnish universities. Thus, FinELib has a key role in providing electronic materials for the user population of universities. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 user surveys and usage information, the selection of resources meets the needs of the users well (Hormia-Poutanen, 2002b). Over the years FinELib has been operating, there has been a growing trend in usage.

The National Electronic Library Interface, Nelli, was launched for universities early in 2005. The implementation process was also started at public libraries and polytechnics. The portal will become a national service for end-users. The National Library will provide centralized services for the participating libraries, which will save a good deal of work. The portal will then be tailored at the organization level to meet the needs of local users. Individual users can tailor the portal to meet their needs as well.

Thus far, the most significant result of the FinELib program is the increase and improvement of high-quality content services on the Internet. The electronic material available to researchers, teachers, and students is considerably more extensive than ever before, and it can be accessed nationwide (Hormia-Poutanen, 2004).

Cooperation across organizational boundaries can also be considered as a very important result of the program (Hormia-Poutanen, 2002c). There is a strong emphasis on horizontal cooperation in the public sector in Finland today. Examples of this are the government policy programs, which encourage the ministries to cooperate to solve questions defined in the government platform. The impact of Nelli will be assessed later, when the service is in full production.


HEAL-Link (Hellenic Academic Libraries Link) started as one of the four action lines of a project funded by the Greek Ministry of Education under the umbrella of European Union Structural Funding. The project aimed at developing cooperation involving all the academic libraries in Greece. The action line that brought HEAL-Link into being was a mandate for cooperation to face the problem of the ever-shrinking journal collections in Greek academic libraries (Kohl & Dervou, 1999).

HEAL-Link started operating in 1998 by signing its first agreement with Elsevier for access to the electronic journals in ScienceDirect. More agreements were signed during 1999 (for example, with Elsevier, Kluwer, Academic Press, MCB (Memory Control Block) An identifier (16 bytes) that DOS places in front of each block of memory it allocates. , and Springer springer

a North American term commonly used to describe heifers close to term with their first calf.
), thus giving its members access to 3,500 full-text journals. OhioLINK has been the model for developing HEAL-Link (Xenidou-Dervou, 2001). Swets has been assisting HEAL-Link in negotiations and financial administration since the very beginning.

During its first three years of operation, HEAL-Link members were obliged o·blige  
v. o·bliged, o·blig·ing, o·blig·es
1. To constrain by physical, legal, social, or moral means.

 to keep their print subscriptions to the above-mentioned publishers, while the project shouldered the extra costs relating to relating to relate prepconcernant

relating to relate prepbezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc 
 license agreements. In 1998 six of the thirty-four academic institutions had more than 80 percent of the total print subscriptions and carried the corresponding cost. By 2001 all of them were in debt and could no longer keep up the print subscriptions they were obliged to retain according to the license agreements. Following a proposal by the steering committee steer·ing committee
A committee that sets agendas and schedules of business, as for a legislative body or other assemblage.

steering committee
 of HEAL-Link, the Council of Rectors of the Greek Universities decided that the consortium should move over to e-only agreements with mandatory cancellation of print subscriptions for the corresponding e-journals. One printed archive copy was to be deposited at the National Documentation Center. The cost was to be distributed among the institutions in accordance with the financial support each of them was receiving from the state. The Council of Rectors suggested that the financial contribution from each university budget be sliced off the top by the ministry and given to the coordinating organization to cover the cost of the license agreements. The ministry decided not to cut the budgets of the academic institutions any further but to shoulder the cost of all the HEAL-Link agreements with extra funding over the next three-year period (2003-2005). Starting in 2003 HEAL-Link had agreements with twelve publishers, thus giving its members access to 7,500 full-text, peer-reviewed journals peer-reviewed journal Refereed journal Academia A professional journal that only publishes articles subjected to a rigorous peer validity review process. Cf Throwaway journal.  (Xenidou-Dervou, 2003). In November 2004 the ministry promised to continue the central funding for the next five years, until 2009.

HEAL-Link has no legal structure. All the institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding with the coordinating institution. It is governed by a governing body Noun 1. governing body - the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something; "he claims that the present administration is corrupt"; "the governance of an association is responsible to its members"; "he  of thirty-four members, one from each academic institution. The chairman of the governing body has the authority to sign the license agreements. A five-member steering committee appointed by the governing body is responsible for the negotiations and the running of the consortium. There are two full-time employees (one system administrator and one librarian) who keep the consortium portal up-to-date and offer a help desk to the members. These two employees are paid by the project, which will run until 2006.

In addition to licensing, HEAL-Link has also been active in developing a portal to provide access to e-journals (Xenidou-Dervou et al., 2002). The portal has been running since 1999. Users can also retrieve information on copyright issues in Greece using Zephyr Zephyr or Zephyrus: see Eos. , a Z39.5 interface that has been developed by the University of Crete The University was established in 1973 and started functioning in the academic year 1977-78. As a higher education institution, it is a legal person of public law, i.e. it operates under the supervision of the State. The seat of the University is in Rethymnon. , and simultaneously search the Online Public Access Catalogues (OPACs) of all Greek academic institutions, including the HEAL-Link portal. In 2005 HEAL-Link plans to start using a commercial federated search Federated search is the simultaneous search of multiple online databases and is an emerging feature of automated, Web-based library and information retrieval systems. It is also often referred to as a portal, as opposed to simply a Web-based search engine.  and open URL URL
 in full Uniform Resource Locator

Address of a resource on the Internet. The resource can be any type of file stored on a server, such as a Web page, a text file, a graphics file, or an application program.
 software application.

In 2005 HEAL-Link has sixty members (see Table 2). Members of HEAL-Link include all the Greek academic institutions funded by the Ministry of Education, plus a large number of research institutes of the General Secretariat Secretariat, 1970–89, thoroughbred race horse. Trained by Lucien Laurin and ridden by Ron Turcotte, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes to capture the Triple Crown in 1973.

(foaled 1970) U.S.
 for Research and Development, which operates under the Greek Ministry for Development. By constitution, all higher education institutions in Greece are public bodies.

The basic aim of HEAL-Link is to provide the entire academic and research community in Greece with access to full-text e-journals. This means that all the members have equal access to the full-text content. In addition to the main task, HEAL-Link also negotiates license agreements for groups of members interested in specific databases.

The acceptance and use of HEAL-Link e-journals has exceeded all expectations. Even without any publicity, there was hardly any resistance to switching to electronic resources only, and the usage statistics from the publishers demonstrate the high usage, which is continuously growing. The reason is that Greek universities moved from collections of 500 to 1,000 journals each on average to a collection of almost 9,000 peer-reviewed journals (including the open-access journals that have been added to the collection).


NEICON: Nationwide Consortium Supporting Access to Electronic Information

NEICON (the National Electronic Information Consortium) includes 181 organizations in 2005. Among these are classical and specialized universities, public libraries, academic institutes, and other noncommercial organizations. The primary goal of the NEICON consortium is to provide Russian organizations with access to scientific information resources via the Internet (see Table 3).

The consortium's funding is based on multichannel Using two or more paths for transmission or processing. It can refer to a variety of architectures including (1) multiple I/O channels between the CPU and peripheral devices, (2) multiple wires in a cable, (3) multiple "logical" channels within a single wire or fiber or (4) multiple  financing consisting of fees from libraries, funds from the Ministry of Culture, and grants from various organizations, the most important being the Open Society Institute (OSI (1) (Open System Interconnection) An ISO standard for worldwide communications that defines a framework for implementing protocols in seven layers. Control is passed from one layer to the next, starting at the application layer in one station, proceeding to the ) and the Ford Foundation. All funds are transferred via the consortium's accounts and are controlled by the consortium. Most of the money is spent on subscriptions. Subscription costs are covered partly by third-party funds and partly by membership fees. The subsidy share varies from one resource to another and may also depend on the organization itself. For instance, the funds of the Ministry of Culture may only be allocated to the public libraries, which come under the control of the ministry. Administrative expenses (wages, business trips, seminars, telecommunications) are covered with funds from various sources. Initially, when the consortium was being created, equipment and staff wages for the first year were covered with an OSI grant; today administrative expenses are covered by funds from the Ministry of Culture and membership fees.

The NEICON consortium is a legal entity that was registered according to the law of the Russian Federation The primary and fundamental statement of laws in the Russian Federation is the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Hierarchy of Laws
Domestic Sources of Law
 in November 2002. NEICON is a noncommercial partnership established by five institutions: the Russian State Library Russian State Library (RSL), Russia's national library, located in Moscow; the largest library in Europe and the second largest in the world (the Library of Congress is the largest). , the Russian National Library The Russian National Library in St Petersburg, known as the State Public Saltykov-Shchedrin Library in 1932-92 (i.e. in the Soviet era), is the oldest public library in Russia. It should not be confused with the Russian State Library, located in Moscow. , the Library of Foreign Literature, the Pushkin Library (a noncommercial foundation), and the Science Information Support Foundation. All consortium members have signed a framework partnership agreement. Each subscription is based on an additional agreement specifying the costs and methods of payment. The consortium is directed by a coordination council, which makes corrections to and approves the strategic plan for the current year. The council has developed a network of experts who promote the use of the resources at their parent organizations.

One of the core aims of NEICON is to promote the use of electronic resources in its member organizations. The Russian end-users are not yet accustomed to using electronic resources and are somewhat reluctant to do so. They also lack the necessary skills.

NEICON Services and Results

The main service the consortium offers its member organizations is negotiation licenses with good pricing and legal conditions. In some cases, license agreements have been reached totally free of charge. Since the majority of the providers are foreign, the consortium helps to solve legal problems concerning the adaptation of the licenses to Russian law. Advice is also given on solving problems associated with economic issues for example, currency-related questions and methods of making international payments abroad.

In addition to licensing, training on consortium activities, licensing, resources, etc. is organized for the consortium members. Since the Russian Federation Russian Federation: see Russia.  is a large country, NEICON usually organizes training sessions in the regions to reduce transportation costs. Such regional training sessions are usually organized at universities or central libraries, and all interested organizations in the region are invited. NEICON collects and analyzes usage statistics to evaluate use. Statistics are also collected about trial access to track potential users. End-user surveys are also run by the consortium.

The main results of NEICON include a significant increase in the electronic resources available to Russian organizations and a steady growth of the number of users. At the beginning of 2002 Russian participants in the eIFL Direct project had only a few EBSCO Publishing EBSCO Publishing is a company that provides serial content in the form of online bibliographic and full text databases which can be accessed after purchasing a subscription. EBSCO is popular among libraries, schools, and other institutions.  databases, which included about 3,000 journals. In 2004 license agreements were signed with several leading providers: EBSCO Publishing, Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). , Oxford University Press, LexisNexis, CAB International CAB International (CABI) is a not-for-profit inter-governmental organization. CABI was established in 1910 and is owned by 45 member countries. It is comprised of three divisions, each undertaking different activities relating to scientific research. , ProQuest, World Bank, Elsevier B.V., and several Russian languages Russian language, also called Great Russian, member of the East Slavic group of the Slavic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Slavic languages).  resource providers. The total number of journals available through NEICON contracts is about 10,000 e-journals. The number of organizations subscribing to EBSCO EBSCO Elton B. Stephens Company  databases in 2002 was 65, but NEICON now has 181 official members.

Providing access to the electronic resources is, however, only the first part of the goal of the project. The main goal for the next few years is to provide the members of the consortium with information services See Information Systems.  on existing resources; namely, to create a suitable approach to analyzing the completeness of the information support in each organization and the databases used and to create a single point of access. NEICON has high hopes for the Open Access Initiative, which is also expected to develop in Russia. Another priority is to help create and develop scientific resources in the Russian language, which are very scarce at the moment.

The NEICON consortium is a unique organization in Russia. NEICON is contributing a great deal to the development of the information society and promoting information equality in society, something that has been somewhat problematic over the last few decades. The Ministry of Culture has been supporting NEICON for the last three years, and support from other government bodies is expected.


UK Library Consortia: Regional, Discipline-Based, and National Consortia

The UK has a variety of different types of library consortia ranging from regional consortia, to specialist discipline-based consortia, to national consortia that focus on electronic library resources. They are constituted and managed in a variety of ways. Some are traditional consortia consisting of a defined group of libraries working together to enhance services for users through, for example, procurement The fancy word for "purchasing." The procurement department within an organization manages all the major purchases.  of library resources, staff training and development, and reciprocal access agreements. Ball defines these consortia as "an association of independent organisations that act in concert to procure To cause something to happen; to find and obtain something or someone.

Procure refers to commencing a proceeding; bringing about a result; persuading, inducing, or causing a person to do a particular act; obtaining possession or control over an item; or making a person
 for themselves goods and/or services specific to libraries" (Ball & Pye, 2000, p. 25). Other consortia--in particular the national consortia--are what might be termed "loose" consortia that negotiate with suppliers on a national basis; libraries opt-in to selected deals for the resources they require.

Typical of a traditional regional consortium is the North West Academic Libraries (NoWAL), a consortium of all the UK University and College of Higher Education libraries in Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester Greater Manchester, former metropolitan county, 497 sq mi (1,288 sq km), W central England. It comprised ten administrative districts: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan. , Lancashire, and Merseyside in the northwest of England. In addition to consortia purchasing of printed journals and books, NoWAL has also moved into the area of electronic resource purchasing, including a recent agreement with NetLibrary for electronic books. In addition, the consortium offers collaborative staff training and development, promotes interaction with providers of information and communications technology Noun 1. communications technology - the activity of designing and constructing and maintaining communication systems
engineering, technology - the practical application of science to commerce or industry
 (ICT (1) (Information and Communications Technology) An umbrella term for the information technology field. See IT.

(2) (International Computers and Tabulators) See ICL.

1. (testing) ICT - In Circuit Test.
) services for higher education in the northwest, and promotes cross-domain and cross-sectoral collaboration with organizations such as public libraries, museums and galleries, and the National Health Service (NHS NHS
National Health Service

NHS (in Britain) National Health Service
). Research undertaken by Ball (Ball & Pye, 2000) indicates that expenditure by the eight higher education library consortia that geographically cover the whole of the UK amounts to over 85 million [pounds sterling], or 125 million euro.

Discipline-based consortia are also successful in the UK. An example of such a consortium is the Consortium of Health Independent Libraries in London (CHILL). CHILL currently has thirty-five members, representing over one million users, including major libraries such as that of the British Medical Association The British Medical Association (BMA) is the trade union to which the vast majority of British doctors belong. It is based in Tavistock Square in central London. It owns the "British Medical Journal". , public information organizations such as the Family Planning family planning

Use of measures designed to regulate the number and spacing of children within a family, largely to curb population growth and ensure each family’s access to limited resources.
 Institute, research institutes such as Cancer Research UK, and major health organizations such as the Public Health Laboratory Service. Whilst operating mainly as a purchasing consortium (it has negotiated contracts for 8,500 printed journals for its members), it has also initiated other resource-sharing projects and provides a common voice to represent the interests of its members in national information or health initiatives.

A rather different type of consortium, whose primary focus is not purchasing, is the Consortium of Research Libraries (CURL). CURL's stated mission is to "increase the ability of research libraries to share resources for the benefit of the local, national and international research community" (CURL, 2005). To further that mission, the consortium works on collaborative research, advocacy, and the forming of strategic alliances to benefit research support. CURL's membership comprises the major research libraries in the UK, including the British Library British Library, national library of Great Britain, located in London. Long a part of the British Museum, the library collection originated in 1753 when the government purchased the Harleian Library, the library of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, and groups of manuscripts. , Oxford and Cambridge University libraries The Cambridge University Library is the centrally-administered library of the University of Cambridge in England. It comprises five separate libraries:
  • the University Library main building
  • the Medical Library
, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales Wales, Welsh Cymru, western peninsula and political division (principality) of Great Britain (1991 pop. 2,798,200), 8,016 sq mi (20,761 sq km), west of England; politically united with England since 1536. The capital is Cardiff. , the library of Trinity College Trinity College, Ireland: see Dublin, Univ. of.
Trinity College

Private liberal arts college in Hartford, Conn., founded in 1823. It is historically affiliated with the Episcopal church, though its curriculum is nonsectarian.
 Dublin, and twenty-two other university and specialist research libraries--a total of twenty-eight members in all. An important research tool supported by CURL, and funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC JISC Joint Information Systems Committee (UK)
JISC Japan Industrial Standards Committee
JISC Joint Industry Safety Committee
), is the union catalog union catalog
A library catalog combining in alphabetical sequence the contents of more than one catalog or library.
 COPAC COPAC Chip Off-Line Pre-Authorized Card  (, which gives free access to the merged online catalog Similar to an online library or databases in the information storage respect, ‘’’online catalogs’’’ allow potential customers to browse a company’s items for sale from a different location using the internet.  of all its members and contains some 30 million records.

CURL is currently engaged in a number of significant research projects that benefit both the libraries and users of CURL institutions as well as the wider community. Ongoing projects include the Archives Hub, which provides a single point of access to the descriptions of archive collections held in universities and colleges in the UK; Britain in Print, which provides electronic access to significant collections of pre-1700 British books for the benefit of the general public; SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access), which focuses on institutional e-print repositories; and, most recently, ETHOS (Electronic Theses Online Service), which aims to provide electronic access to all UK university research theses.

In addition to regional and specialist consortia, the UK also has other organizations that act as consortia (particularly in relation to purchasing) at the national level. The first is Eduserv Chest, a not-for-profit organization that acts as a "buying club," negotiating for commercially available e-resources for the UK education and research communities as well as institutions outside the UK in various Scandinavian countries Noun 1. Scandinavian country - any one of the countries occupying Scandinavia
Scandinavian nation

European country, European nation - any one of the countries occupying the European continent
 and the Republic of Ireland. It has one simple objective: to negotiate for and manage e-resources requested by the community. It is "driven only by demand and the need to provide better value for money than can be obtained elsewhere" (Eduserv Chest, 2004). Demand is assessed in conjunction with the JISC User Group--comprising subject librarians from around the UK--and a product "wish list" is compiled and evaluated.

Eduserv Chest developed from an organization called CHEST (Combined Higher Education Software Team), which, as its name suggests, was originally focused on national negotiations for computer software licenses In computing, software that is copyrighted and licensed under a software license is done under a variety of licensing schemes. For end-users there are proprietary licenses and there are free software licenses, and there are proprietary Within these schemes are further classifications. . During the 1990s it added bibliographic databases For computer programs to manage an individual's bibliographic references, see Reference management software

A bibliographic or library database is a database of bibliographic information.
 to its portfolio by negotiating a national license for the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI ISI International Sensitivity Index, see there ) Citation Indexes A citation index is an index of citations between publications, allowing the user to easily establish which later documents cite which earlier documents.

The first citation indices were legal citators such as Shepard's Citations (1873).
. The UK service was hosted by Bath University at the Bath Information Data Service (BIDS). A large number of UK academic libraries opted to license the ISI Citation Indexes through CHEST, and successful negotiation for other databases followed. Currently, CHEST offers a wide range of commercially available e-resources including abstract databases, full-text e-journals and e-books, and courseware. Agreements are usually for three or five years, almost all being site licenses, which means that all students and staff within an organization may use the licensed resource either on or off campus. Payment is by a single, fixed annual fee to Eduserv Chest.

Probably the key organization in consortia purchasing in the UK is the Joint Information Systems Committee (]ISC (1) (Internet Systems Consortium, Redwood City, CA An organization founded by Paul Vixie, Carl Malamud and Rick Adams in 1994 and later sponsored by UUNET and other Internet companies. ), which is funded by the UK Further and Higher Education Funding Councils Funding Council may refer to:
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England, a public body of the Department for Education and Skills in the United Kingdom
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, an intermediary body in Wales
. JISC has a wider remit To transmit or send. To relinquish or surrender, such as in the case of a fine, punishment, or sentence.

An individual, for example, might remit money to pay bills.

TO REMIT. To annul a fine or forfeiture.
 than just libraries and e-resources as it is also responsible for the UK higher and further education computer network JANET (the Joint Academic NETwork) as well as the development of the technological infrastructure to support learning, teaching, and research. However, it is the JISC collections In 2006, the JISC Content Procurement Company Ltd (trading as JISC Collections) was formed. Originally operating within the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), JISC Collections was made into a company limited by guarantee that mutually trades with its members and is  strategy and the activities of the JISC Collections Team that will be examined in this article.

The Role of the JISC in Supporting Education and Research through Consortia Licensing

The draft JISC Collections Strategy of 2004-2006 states that the Collections Team mission is "To negotiate for, and, where appropriate, to licence, quality assured electronic materials that will provide the JISC community with a range of resources to support education and research" (JISC, 2004). While negotiations for content are conducted at a national level (sometimes using the services of an external Negotiating Agent), it must be stressed thatJISC is a loose consortium. Once terms have been negotiated with a publisher, any higher education institution may accept them. Participation in any particular deal is voluntary, not compulsory. Such a system is perhaps not ideal. As pointed out by Friend when discussing the National Electronic Site Licensing Initiative (NESLI NESLI National Electronic Site Licensing Initiative (UK) ): "we cannot bargain as effectively as we could if we knew that we could offer the publisher a definite number DEFINITE NUMBER. An ascertained number; the term is usually applied in opposition to an indefinite number.
     2. When there is a definite number of corporators, in order to do a lawful act, a majority of the whole must be present; but it is not necessary they
 of subscriptions. The situation is not ideal, but it is one we have to live with given our political environment" (Friend, 2002, p. 21). Nevertheless, many libraries and colleges do opt-in to national JISC deals and good terms have been negotiated.

The JISC budget for Content and Services is just over 10 million [pounds sterling] (14.68 million euro). However, this is not all for licensing content but includes the financing of content-related services such as the JISC data centers, which host JISC-licensed content and services such as ATHENS (a service used to authenticate (1) To verify (guarantee) the identity of a person or company. To ensure that the individual or organization is really who it says it is. See authentication and digital certificate.

(2) To verify (guarantee) that data has not been altered.
 and authorize To empower another with the legal right to perform an action.

The Constitution authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

authorize v. to officially empower someone to act. (See: authority)
 users for access to online services).

Six format-based Working Groups support the Collections Team in acquiring online resources, and members of the groups are drawn from the educational community. Formats covered are journals, e-books, images, moving pictures and sound, geo-spatial data, and learning materials.

Examples of the wide range of resources available for libraries to subscribe to Verb 1. subscribe to - receive or obtain regularly; "We take the Times every day"
subscribe, take

buy, purchase - obtain by purchase; acquire by means of a financial transaction; "The family purchased a new car"; "The conglomerate acquired a new company";
 or license within the JISC portfolio include the following:

* Licensing of over 9,000 scholarly journals through NESLI2 negotiation with 10 major e-journal publishers

* Acquisition, in perpetuity Of endless duration; not subject to termination.

The phrase in perpetuity is often used in the grant of an Easement to a utility company.

in perpetuity adj. forever, as in one's right to keep the profits from the land in perpetuity.
, of more than 125,000 e-book titles published between 1473 and 1700 in the Early English Early English

a style of architecture used in England in the 12th and 13th centuries, characterized by narrow pointed arches and ornamental intersecting stonework in windows
 Books Online (EEBO EEBO Early English Books Online ) collection

* Partnership with the Universities of Michigan and Oxford in the EEBO Text Creation Partnership The Text Creation Partnership (TCP) is a not-for-profit organization based in the library of the University of Michigan since 2000. Its purpose is to produce large-scale full-text electronic resources (especially in the humanities) on behalf of both member institutions  to create fully searchable text files

* Licensing of Ordnance Survey map Ordnance Survey map n (Brit) → carte f d'État-major

Ordnance Survey map n (BRIT) → carta topografica dell'IGM 
 data, which is then made available through the Digimap service

* Licensing of the Managing Agent and Advisory Service (MAAS) Media Online collection of hundreds of films and videos, copyright cleared and digitized by JISC

* Building an e-reference e-book portfolio comprising Britannica Online, xreferplus, and Oxford Reference Online

A range of economic models is utilized by the JISC to make e-resources as widely available and accessible as possible to the education community. The models used depend upon the type of resources in question. "Heritage collections" include digitized images of rare and/or inaccessible inaccessible Surgery adjective Unreachable; referring to a lesion that unmanageable by standard surgical techniques–eg, lesions deep in the brain or adjacent to vital structures–ie, not accessible. See Accessible.  materials such as journal back files and older books. The static nature and high value of these scholarly collections allows the JISC to provide access and financial benefit through perpetual licenses at a national level. Education institutions are not required to pay a subscription fee for the content but may be required to pay a modest access fee.

"Mature resources" are those that are well established within the community. In such cases, negotiations on price and license terms are undertaken at the national level but, once an institution has opted-in to the deal, the license agreement is between the publisher and the subscribing institution. It should be noted that JISC negotiations require that a Model Licence is signed by the publisher. The original license conditions were drawn up in extensive consultations between the JISC, the Publishers Association, and the Association for Learned and Professional Society Publishers The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) is an association which represents over 350 non-profit publishers, such as university presses and professional associations, in more than 30 countries.  (ALPSP ALPSP Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers ).

"Specialist resources" are those that provide high value to those undertaking research, teaching, or studying in a particular niche discipline. Careful consultation with the JISC community ensures that subscription take-up is predicted accurately. This means that theJISC can negotiate good terms, and, in some cases, the JISC will subsidize sub·si·dize  
tr.v. sub·si·dized, sub·si·diz·ing, sub·si·diz·es
1. To assist or support with a subsidy.

2. To secure the assistance of by granting a subsidy.
 such deals.

Finally, in line with its overall mission, the JISC is keen to promote innovative resources. These may originate o·rig·i·nate
1. To bring into being; create.

2. To come into being; start.
 from the commercial sector or from the JISC community, and the JISC National Data Centres often play a key role in developing exemplar ex·em·plar  
1. One that is worthy of imitation; a model. See Synonyms at ideal.

2. One that is typical or representative; an example.

3. An ideal that serves as a pattern; an archetype.

 services. In such cases, JISC provides a planned subsidy that may well decline as products move through their life cycle.


Cooperation is the basis of library activities. Libraries cooperate within their parent organization, between libraries, and also with various stakeholders. Cooperation has also played a key role in promoting consortium licensing and in developing expertise at libraries. In Europe the International Coalition of Library Consortia The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) is an informal, self-organized group of primarily higher-education library consortia from around the world for the discussion of issues of common interest among the consortia members.  (ICOLC ICOLC International Coalition of Library Consortia ), the European ICOLC, and Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL) have had very important roles in promoting cooperation between libraries and in promoting consortium development and licensing. Cooperation among these three players has become more active over the last few years.

The first licensing principles in Europe and in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  were developed in collaboration. In Europe a group of German and Dutch libraries created the Ligue des Bibliotheques Europeennes de Recherche re·cher·ché  
1. Uncommon; rare.

2. Exquisite; choice.

3. Overrefined; forced.

4. Pretentious; overblown.
 (LIBER) principles, which have had a very important impact on licensing in Europe. For example, in Finland the Council of University Rectors has recommended that the LIBER principles should be followed when licensing electronic content for Finnish institutions. ICOLC principles have been created in collaboration with North American North American

named after North America.

North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.

North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus.
 libraries. The latest update was carried out as a North American-European collaboration, indicating that our aims are the same in different parts of the world. International licensing principles have made the aims of libraries known to publishers and have helped consortia worldwide to reach their goals in negotiations.

ICOLC meetings in North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere.  and Europe, eIFL meetings, and the ICOLC and eIFL mailing lists An automated e-mail system on the Internet, which is maintained by subject matter. There are thousands of such lists that reach millions of individuals and businesses. New users generally subscribe by sending an e-mail with the word "subscribe" in it and subsequently receive all new  have made it possible for consortia to share experiences and learn from each other. Altogether, it is very important that consortia have forums in which to meet and discuss consortium issues. In addition to international cooperation, regional cooperation has been important, especially in northern and southern Europe Southern Europe or sometimes Mediterranean Europe is a region of the European continent. There is no clear definition of the term which can vary depending on whether geographic, cultural, linguistic or historical factors are taken into account. . eIFL has played a crucial role in supporting the Eastern European countries in knowledge sharing, promoting Open Access, and developing consortia activities, as well as in licensing.

Nordic Cooperation

Nordic research libraries have a long tradition of networking and sharing resources. The Nordic Council Nordic Council, international consultative body, created in 1952 by Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Finland joined the council in 1955. The territories of the Faeroes and the Åland Islands have been represented since 1970; Greenland gained representation  for Scientific Information, NORDINFO NORDINFO Nordic Council for Scientific Information , was for many years an initiator and a source of funding for initiatives to promote such cooperation. Cooperation and networking within the field of consortium licensing can be seen as a natural extension of this Nordic tradition.

The task of licensing on behalf of academic libraries was taken on in the mid- to late 1990s by organizations with experience in library cooperation within their own countries--in Denmark by the Danish National Library Authority The Danish National Library Authority (Danish: Biblioteksstyrelse) is an inter-disciplinary public and research library institution and an independent agency under the Danish Ministry of Culture. , in Finland by the National Library, in Norway by the Norwegian Archive, Museum and Library Authority, in Iceland by the National Library, and in Sweden by the Royal Library.

The Nordic national consortia--DEF (Denmark), FinELib (Finland), ABM-utvikling (Norway), and BIBSAM (Sweden)--have a lot in common, but each of them still has its own characteristics. National licensing in Iceland has developed somewhat differently from the other Nordic countries and will not be examined further here.

The Nordic licensing offices are formally integrated into large, stable government organizations. Usually, one licence is signed on behalf of all the participating members and one invoice is issued. The membership of each consortium is usually large and well defined. These characteristics contribute to making Nordic consortia attractive as negotiating partners for publishers. Overlapping membership between consortia can be a challenge in other countries. This is practically nonexistent non·ex·is·tence  
1. The condition of not existing.

2. Something that does not exist.

 in the Nordic countries.

Since the time of establishing national licensing offices, the staff at DEE FinELib, ABM-utvikling, and BIBSAM have been engaged in an informal network. The group now meets regularly and communicates via an internal e-mail listserv. Estonian librarians have also participated in the meetings, especially when they have taken place in Finland. The objectives of the network have changed over the years. Early on, license negotiations and library consortium management were brand new tasks for the staff involved. The Nordic network provided a welcome opportunity for organizations to discuss and exchange experiences with peers who found themselves in similar situations, faced with similar challenges.

The transition from paper-based to digital journal collections has progressed rapidly in the Nordic countries, supported by well-developed technical infrastructure. The increasing costs of scientific journals has motivated libraries to cancel print subscriptions to journals that are also available online, but only if archival access is granted through the license. E-only licenses, with no discount for print subscriptions, are preferred by both FinELib and BIBSAM. This has allowed Finland and Sweden to explore alternative models for cost division within their consortia (Stange et al., 2003). In Norway the transition toward e-only has been slowed down by unfavorable Value Added Tax value added tax n (BRIT) → impuesto sobre el valor añadido or agregado (LAM)

value added tax n (Brit
 (VAT) regulations. DEF members prefer to have the option to purchase print subscriptions at discount rates. These differences can complicate com·pli·cate  
tr. & intr.v. com·pli·cat·ed, com·pli·cat·ing, com·pli·cates
1. To make or become complex or perplexing.

2. To twist or become twisted together.

 the picture in multiconsortia negotiations with journal publishers.

Some of the concrete results of collaboration include joint Nordic licenses and work-around cost division models. In 2002 Nordic licenses were signed with the American Chemical Society The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a learned society (professional association) based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. Founded in 1876 at New York University, the ACS currently has over 160,000 members at all degree-levels and in  (ACS (Asynchronous Communications Server) See network access server. ) for access to ACS Web Editions and ACS Journal Archives and with the Nature Publishing Group Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is an international publishing company that publishes scientific journals. It is a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd, which in turn is owned by the Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.  for access to Nature Journals. For legal as well as practical reasons, each consortium signed separate licenses. The Nordic licenses had almost identical content apart from membership and contact information. The same concept has subsequently been tried with a few other publishers without Nordic agreements being reached. In some cases, two of the Nordic consortia signed a licence, while others declined.

South European Libraries Link (SELL)

Consortium collaboration in southern Europe started in 2001. SELL consists of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain (Catalonia), and Turkey. A statement by the Catalonian consortium in Spain on the ICOLC mailing list in 2000 provided the impulse to start collaboration between these countries. The statement made it clear that the southern European countries face the same kind of problems. SELL organizes annual meetings in the participating countries. The cooperation of the consortia in the Nordic countries has been the role model for SELL.


Cooperation is the basis of the activity of NEICON in Russia. As the consortium operates in a large territory, libraries are grouped in certain regions to serve as mini-consortia within NEICON. The NEICON consortium is a member of eIFL and ICOLC. eIFL has been the main initiator of the creation of the consortium in Russia, and knowledge and experience has been gained through eIFL. Currently (in 2005), eIFL is the primary foreign partner of NEICON and is helping to promote the project.

Experiences of Regional Cooperation

The experiences of collaboration in the three cases described above are positive overall. Within the Nordic consortia, sharing knowledge on consortium issues, licensing, and negotiating has expanded the expertise of the staff involved. For example, benchmarking of prices, processes, and tools used in the licensing process has been invaluable. The exercise the Nordic group has developed around cost-division models is an example of a practical problem that has been solved through cooperation.

For the publishers, negotiations with the group of Nordic consortia representatives has offered an opportunity to efficiently reach a large market through one or more well-defined points of contact. As similar terms are wanted in the Nordic licenses, the process of reaching agreement on specific terms could be made more efficient. One objective has been to convert these efficiency measures into better discounts for the consortia and thereby offer a deal that would attract many participants. Another objective of the group negotiations was to provide the publishers with information about the characteristics of the Nordic consortia. Through better mutual understanding of local, national, and Nordic issues, licenses could be tailored to the group's special requirements. It is difficult to judge how well these objectives were met, as there is hardly one single consortium deal that can serve as a relevant point of reference. However, one specific outcome was the message that the Nordic consortia preferred e-only agreements for e-journals, that archival access was important as part of the provisions in such licenses, and that these two issues could be efficiently communicated through approaching the publishers as a group. Lessons learned also include a better understanding of the complexity of consortium negotiations.

In southern Europe the development of regional ties has helped to address common problems and overcome isolation. The southern consortia support each other by building up mutual strengths, eIFL has played an important role in promoting consortia development and licensing in Eastern Europe Eastern Europe

The countries of eastern Europe, especially those that were allied with the USSR in the Warsaw Pact, which was established in 1955 and dissolved in 1991.


eIFL was established in October 1999 as an initiative of the Open Society Institute (OSI). OSI is a private grant-awarding foundation that is part of the Soros Foundation A Soros Foundation is one of a network of national foundations, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, which fund volunteer socio-political activity, created by George Soros, international financier and self-proclaimed philanthropist, and coordinated since early 1994 by a management  Network. In 2002 elFL became an independent foundation. The goals of eIFL are to build sustainable national consortia within the participating countries; be the premier multicountry negotiator to secure affordable access to commercial electronic information services; advocate the development of locally produced digital resources; promote the resources of open-access content providers; leverage multinational expertise and resources to expand the availability of and access to commercially produced and open access information; keep members at the cutting edge of relevant information and technology services; and develop model partnerships with global funding agencies, foundations, consortial groups, and content providers.

Today, eIFL is a major international umbrella organization
For the fictional company set in the Resident Evil videogame series, see Umbrella Corporation.

An umbrella organization is an association of (often related, industry-specific) institutions, who work together formally to coordinate activities or
; its network encompasses nearly 4,000 libraries across European, African, and Asian countries. New members from the Middle East joining eIFL this year will increase the number of participating countries to 50 (see Table 4).

Central and Eastern Europe The term "Central and Eastern Europe" came into wide spread use, replacing "Eastern bloc", to describe former Communist countries in Europe, after the collapse of the Iron Curtain in 1989/90.  as well as the former Soviet Union have been at the core of eIFL activities from the very beginning, building upon the work of the Open Society Institute in those countries as far as library development and modernization modernization

Transformation of a society from a rural and agrarian condition to a secular, urban, and industrial one. It is closely linked with industrialization. As societies modernize, the individual becomes increasingly important, gradually replacing the family,
 issues are concerned. In Europe the current members are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, FYROM FYROM Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia  (former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia), Moldova, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro Serbia and Montenegro (sûr`bēə, mŏn'tənē`grō), Serbian Srbija i Crna Gora, former country of SE Europe, in the Balkan Peninsula, a short-lived union (2003–6) of the republics of Serbia and the much , Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. These countries have sophisticated education systems, thus representing an emerging market for international providers of scholarly information. Unaffordable un·af·ford·a·ble  
Too expensive: medical care that has become unaffordable for many.

 subscription costs alongside relatively little awareness of the electronic alternative to print subscriptions posed a barrier to access to international academic journals and databases. When eIFL started working in 1999, this lack of access to electronic resources determined that the key priority should be to guarantee sustainable access to Internet-based digital material through multicountry negotiations with providers, resulting in highly discounted subscription rates that are affordable for the participating countries. In addition, eIFL has developed a model contract and model licenses to be used in connection with the deals reached by eIFL with individual publishers.

Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland played an inspiring role for the rest of the countries, considering that they already had some experience in setting up consortia for union catalogs and library automation systems. Those library consortia that already existed saw their networks and roles strengthened. Some of the countries listed above have a consortium registered as a legal body, and in a number of countries, due to local legal restrictions, consortia are bound by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and are not legally registered. Funding for subscriptions also varies; some of the libraries receive central funding, while in other cases libraries contribute to the cost according to cost-sharing formulas worked out internally.

Because eIFL operates on a global scale, special attention had to be paid to communication. Information technology is widely used in information sharing See data conferencing.  amongst eIFL consortia; this includes listservs, discussion groups, and the eIFL Web site, but getting to know each other and exchanging views face-to-face at national and regional workshops and the annual general assembly remains equally important.

eIFL's efforts have yielded fruitful fruit·ful  
a. Producing fruit.

b. Conducive to productivity; causing to bear in abundance: fruitful soil.

 results for creating sound library consortia, empowering them with effective bargaining powers vis-a-vis the providers and keeping participating countries updated with cutting-edge trends and the latest news on information and technology services. Furthermore, important achievements have been reached on capacity building and information- and knowledge-sharing activities. All in all, eIFL has managed to achieve these results through its close relationship and sound knowledge of the situation in the participating countries, by enjoying active participation in national consortia, and by gaining a good reputation for being an effective negotiator and a reliable partner. As it has progressed, eIFL has encountered many challenges when carrying out its activities given the various infrastructures, wide geography involved, and different political situations, as well as the varying degrees of public access to information, the availability of funding, and the lack of skills when working in the electronic environment. However, these shortcomings A shortcoming is a character flaw.

Shortcomings may also be:
  • Shortcomings (SATC episode), an episode of the television series Sex and the City
 have been decisively counterbalanced coun·ter·bal·ance  
1. A force or influence equally counteracting another.

2. A weight that acts to balance another; a counterpoise or counterweight.

 with the enthusiasm and commitment of library professionals in the participating countries.

While eIFL is continuing its core activities--namely, the negotiation of licenses for electronic resources, training programs on electronic resources and consortium management, and the geographical expansion to new developing countries--in 2005 it has added new services to its agenda such as the promotion of Open Access, pilot projects in institutional repositories An Institutional Repository is an online locus for collecting, preserving, and disseminating -- in digital form -- the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution. , and capacity building and expertise in intellectual property issues, thus representing the interests of the participating countries in key international policy forums. Last but not least, eIFL is also looking into technology solutions that will help maintain affordable management of electronic information resources such as portals and open source software for libraries.


In the four country cases described above, the activities of the national consortia in developing content provision through licensing are supported by the relevant governments. The funding structures as a whole, however, are different in each country. In Greece, in addition to government funding, European Union funding has also been important. In Russia, funding consists of government and Open Society Institute funding and membership fees. When comparing the expenditure of consortium activities in the examples, a clear difference based on various factors can be seen. In the UK the expenditure of eight higher education library consortia is around 125 million euro; in Finland the total cost of the national consortia is over 10 million euro and in Russia about 1 million euro. The policy of allocating government funding to licensing has had very high impact, especially on research and education. In most European countries, however, licensing is not supported centrally. It is more common that support is given to digitizing "Digitizer" redirects here. For the computer device, see Digitizing tablet. For the digitizer in Tablet PC's, see Tablet PC.

Digitizing or digitization
 cultural heritage. Actually, both action lines are needed to meet the needs of different user groups.

In Greece, Russia, and the UK the funding allocated to consortium activities is temporary; in Finland the government funding is permanent and it covers some of the licensing costs, all national portal costs, and all staffing costs. Under the umbrella of the eIFL, member countries cover the costs of licenses themselves. In Greece funding will be allocated for resources until 2009 and staffing is based on project funding Project Funding reflects the overall financial analysis and entails the analysis that is needed in order to get the financial means approved and funds made available to be able to perform the discipline of project management. .

On the basis of experiences in Finland, it is obvious that permanent funding has been crucial in developing the program and in gaining significant results in a short timeframe. Permanent funding has also raised the status of the activities in the country. Having permanent staff has been a prerequisite pre·req·ui·site  
Required or necessary as a prior condition: Competence is prerequisite to promotion.

 for innovative development of services and processes. The lack of permanent staff can be a major obstacle when developing content provision and all the related services in society. Volunteer work can result in good results in the short term, but it is very difficult to offer permanent services based on that kind of solution.

In all the examples, electronic journals are the core resources to be licensed, but other information resources are also acquired. In the UK a wide variety of resources are licensed, ranging from journals, e-books, images, moving pictures and sound, and geospatial Geospatial is a term widely used to describe the combination of spatial software and analytical methods with terrestrial or geographic datasets. The term is often used in conjunction with geographic information systems and geomatics.  data to learning materials. The scope of licensing is far wider than in the other country examples described. JISC also emphasizes the promotion of innovative resources. This is something other consortia could consider adding to their agendas.

Often licensing is not the only service the consortia are providing. Many consortia develop methods of easy access to information. HEAL-Link in Greece has developed a homemade home·made  
1. Made or prepared in the home: homemade pie.

2. Made by oneself.

3. Crudely or simply made.

Adj. 1.
 portal solution and is planning to change the system to a commercial one in order to be able to use Open URL linking, for example. NEICON in Russia is planning to develop one entry point to access the licensed content. Experiences of the national portal and Open URL solution in Finland are so far limited, because only half the universities are in production. Expectations are very high, however, and experiences so far are very promising.

The authors of the country cases were asked to list major challenges for the future. The need to implement new business models and develop cost effectiveness, evaluation of usage and user behavior, as well as organizing archival rights access were mentioned among the top priorities. There is an urgent need to develop business models that allow consortia to manage license costs. In Greece the libraries were forced to move to e-only in order to manage the costs of licenses. In the longer run this is not enough. There have to be mechanisms to manage the costs of e-only licenses as well. The current trend where price increases are higher than the inflation rate is not sustainable. There is also new digital content coming onto the market. The consortia need the flexibility to purchase new types of content in addition to current collections. It will be very interesting to see what the impact of Open Access publishing Open access publishing is the publication of material in such a way that it is available to all potential users without financial or other barriers. An open access publisher is a publisher producing such material.  will be on the commercial publishing market. The work eIFL is doing in the promotion of Open Access is considerable. Other initiatives such as Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC (Scalable Performance ARChitecture) A family of RISC CPUs from Sun that runs mostly under Sun's Solaris, but also under Linux and BSD operating systems. After development began in the mid-1980s by David Patterson of the University of California at Berkeley and Bill ) and national initiatives are also important.

The financiers of the licenses are interested in the cost effectiveness of the licensing as well as in licensing indicators. Neither of these issues is a simple one. How much do we save with consortium licenses compared with printed acquisitions? How can we estimate the value of increased access? How much money and time do e-only solutions save at libraries? How can we estimate the cost effectiveness of quality, for example, the quality of contracts? How much time does a researcher save due to easy access to vast amounts of high-quality resources? When the consortia have the answers to these questions it may be easier to persuade the financiers to support licensing more generously.

Greece, Finland, and Sweden have more or less moved over to e-only journal collections. Archival rights issues are crucial when such a policy has been chosen. In Greece, in addition to the legal archival rights, one print copy of all the journals licensed is deposited in the National Documentation Centre. Sweden and Finland have chosen to have archival access to electronic content. How archival access will be organized in reality remains to be seen. For libraries the most practical solution would be to gain archival access from publishers' servers. Some consortia, for example OhioLINK, have chosen to mount the content on their own servers. In these cases archival access is not a major problem.

Evaluation of use and user satisfaction is one of the challenges many consortia are currently facing. When consortia have to cut collections, they need to have the tools to do it properly. Usage information is one tool, user satisfaction information another. Both quantitative and qualitative information should be used when analyzing the collection and its usefulness to users. Evaluation of use and user satisfaction also helps to show the impact of content provision on society.

Cooperation has supported libraries in Europe in developing their consortia as well as their licensing activities. OhioLINK has been a model for consortia activities in Greece, and Nordic cooperation a model for the South European Libraries Link. All European consortia have gained from the activities of ICOLC, and eIFL has been building bridges between library consortia all over the world.


Web site addresses for consortia discussed in this article.



CURL: Eduserv Chest:



HEAL-link: ICOLC members: .html

ICOLC principles: http://www.library. consortia/2004currentpractices.htm





SELL (South European Libraries Link):


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Giordano, T. (2002). Library consortium models in Europe--A comparative analysis. Alexandria, 14(1), 41-52.

Hormia-Poutanen, K. (1999). Developing the National Electronic Library in Finland. NordInfo-Nytt, 22(2), 17-24.

Hormia-Poutanen, K. (2002a). The National Electronic Library in Finland, FinELib--Licensing content for research and learning environments on the basis of user needs. In Sigrun Klara Hannesdottir (Ed.), Global issues in 21st century research librarianship: NORDINFOs 25th anniversary publication (pp. 234-257). Helsinki: NORDINFO

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Hormia-Poutanen, K. (2004). Developing the Digital Library in Finland as part of the Information Society. In Zhan Furui (Ed.), The Proceedings of Digital Library--Advance the efficiency of knowledge utilization. Beijing: Scientific and Technical Documents Publishing House.

Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). (2004).JISC collections strategy. Retrieved October 1, 2005, from http://www/

Kohl, D., & Dervou, C. (1999). Getting acquainted: HEAL-Link, the Greek National Academic Library Consortium. Library Consortium Management: An International Journal, 1(3/4).

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). (2004). FinELib consortium principles 28.1.2004. Retrieved October 3, 2005, from .html.

Stange, K., Hormia-Poutanen, K., Bergstrom Gronvall, K., & Laurila, E. (2003). Cost division models in BIBSAM and FinELib consortia. Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, 16(3), 285-292.

Xenidou-Dervou, C. (2001). Consortial journal licensing: Experiences of Greek academic libraries. Interlending and Document Supply, 29(3), 120-125.

Xenidou-Dervou, C. (2003). Moving from print to electronic: A survival guide for Greek academic libraries [Based on a paper given at the 26th UKSG UKSG United Kingdom Serials Group  Conference, Edinburgh, April 2003]. Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community, 16(2), 145-152.

Xenidou-Dervou, C., Tzedaki, S., Fragkou-Mpatsiou, A., & Korfiati, M. (2002). Libraries' consortia and their educational dimension: The HEAL-Link experience. Libraries Without Walls 4: The Delivery of Library Services to Distant Users. Proceedings of an international conference held September 2001, organised by CERLIM CERLIM Centre for Research in Library and Information Management (Manchester Metropolitan University) . London: Facet Publishing.

Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen is the director of the National Electronic Library Services department at the National Library of Finland, a member of the management board of the Library, and coordinator of the FinELib steering committee. The National Electronic Library Services department is responsible for the development of FinELib, a national program aimed at developing content provision in Finland through licensing and developing methods of easy access to information. The department is also responsible for promoting cross-sectoral library cooperation in Finland. Kristiina's current interests include management of change in library networks, electronic publishing An umbrella term for non-paper publishing, which includes publishing online or on media such as CDs and DVDs. , scholarly communication Scholarly Communication is an umbrella term used to describe the process of academics, scholars and researchers sharing and publishing their research findings so that they are available to the wider academic community (such as university academics) and beyond. , and consortia development issues. She is active in various national and international initiatives, including the Virtual University and Open Access programs in Finland and initiatives by ICOLC, European ICOLC, and eIFL.

Claudine Xenidou-Dervou is the librarian of the Science Library at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (often referred to in English as Aristotelian University), named after the philosopher Aristotle, is the largest university of Greece. Its campus covers 429 metric acres close to the center of the city of Thessaloniki.  and coordinator of the steering committee of HEAL-Link. From the start she has been heavily involved in policy making and negotiations with publishers for HEAL-Link. She is also the coordinator of two projects at the Aristotle University: one running from 2002 to 2006 and funded by the Ministry of Education to develop new library services, and the other running from 2005 to 2006 and funded by the Ministry of Culture for the digitization dig·i·tize  
tr.v. dig·i·tized, dig·i·tiz·ing, dig·i·tiz·es
To put (data, for example) into digital form.

 of a collection of manuscripts of modern Greek authors.

Rima Kupryte has a degree in LIS from Vilnius University History
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
In 1568, the local nobility (szlachta) asked the Jesuits to open an academy either in Vilnius (Wilno) or Kaunas.
, Lithuania. She established a modern new Law Library in Lithuania during the first few years of the country regaining its independence. She worked for seven years as a coordinator and later as a manager of the Network Library Programme, Open Society Institute Budapest, which supported library development in almost thirty-five countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Africa. After a spin-off The situation that arises when a parent corporation organizes a subsidiary corporation, to which it transfers a portion of its assets in exchange for all of the subsidiary's capital stock, which is subsequently transferred to the parent corporation's shareholders.  from one of the OSI programs, an independent organization entitled en·ti·tle  
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.

2. To furnish with a right or claim to something:, was created, Kupryte moved to the new organization and is now managing director of, which strives to lead, negotiate, support, and advocate wide availability of electronic resources for library users in countries in transition and developing countries. To date, the organization is active in fifty countries.

Kari Stange is Senior Executive Officer at BIBSAM, The Royal Library's Department for National Coordination and Development, located in Stockhohn, Sweden. Together with BIBSAM colleagues, she coordinates a licensing consortium for electronic resources on behalf of seventy Swedish research libraries. Her current interests include issues related to scholarly communication, the transition from print-based to electronic information, and purchasing models for consortia. Stange has degrees in biological science, environmental chemistry, and library and information science.

Alexander Kuznetsov is executive director of the National Electronic Information Consortium of Russia (NEICON). He has an engineering and technical background and is a specialist in computer networks and databases. In 1997-2000 he was responsible for the Moscow Internet project of the Soros Foundation of Russia and provided scientific, education, and cultural organizations in Moscow with access to the Internet by developing the Moscow Internet backbone (communications, networking) Internet backbone - High-speed networks that carry Internet traffic.

These communications networks are provided by companies such as AT&T, GTE, IBM, MCI, Netcom, Sprint, UUNET and consist of high-speed links in the T1, T3, OC1 and OC3 ranges.
. In 2000 he started activities in the Soros Foundation Pushkin megaproject and became Russian coordinator of the eIFL project. In 2002 NEICON was registered as an independent official body. Its main activities are developing Russian national consortia, fundraising, Russian content development, negotiations, and subscriptions of the Russian academic community in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Science. In 2003-2004 Alexander was a member of the eIFL Advisory Board.

Hazel hazel, any plant of the genus Corylus of the family Betulaceae (birch family), shrubs or small trees with foliage similar to the related alders. They are often cultivated for ornament and for the edible nuts.  Woodward has been University Librarian and Director of the University Press at Cranfield University Cranfield University is a British postgraduate university based on three campuses. The main campus is at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England. The others are at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, and Silsoe, also in Bedfordshire, some  for over five years. Prior to that she was at Loughborough University Loughborough University is located in the market town of Loughborough, Leicestershire in the East Midlands of England. The University offers degree programmes and research.  as Head of Electronic Information Services. Hazel's research interests include electronic publishing and scholarly communication (the subject of her Ph.D. thesis), and she has published many papers in the professional literature on digital library issues. She is very active professionally, being currently the Chair of the JISC E-Books Working Group and a member of the JISC Journal Working Group (which oversees NESLi2), as well as contributing to various SCONUL SCONUL Society of College, National and University Libraries (UK) , UKSG, and ICOLC committees.
Table 1. Key Figures for FinELib in 2005

Indicator    Key Figures

Total cost   12 million euro
Funding      Central funding (4.5 million euro)
               Organizations' own funding
Consortium   108 members, including universities,
               polytechnics, public libraries, and research
Governance   Memorandum of Understanding
               Service agreements (portal, licensing)
Licenses     19,500 e-journals, 230 databases, 25,000
Usage        3.7 million article downloads

Table 2. Key Figures for HEAL-Link in 2005

Indicator    Key Figures

Members      Sixty academic and research institutions
Governance   Memorandum of Understanding
Funding      Central funding by the Ministry of Education
Services     Licensing
             Portal development and management
Licenses     9,000 e-journals
Archiving    In addition to archival rights, one print copy is
               deposited at the National Documentation

Table 3. Key Figures for NEICON in 2005

Indicator    Key Figures

Total Cost   Approximately 1 million euro
Funding      Central funding, grants, membership fee
Consortium   181 members
             104 universities, 34 academic institutions,
               37 public libraries, 6 other institutions
Governance   Coordination council
             Frame agreement
Services     Licensing, training
Licenses     About 10,000 e-journals
Usage        About 1 million documents downloaded in 2005

Table 4. Key Figures for eIFL in 2005

Indicator    Key Figures

Members      50 countries
             4,000 libraries
Services     Licensing
             Provision of model licenses
             Consortium and capacity building
             Knowledge sharing
             Open Access program
             Intellectual property and related issues program
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Author:Woodward, Hazel
Publication:Library Trends
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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