Wednesday, 17 April 2013

PDA checklist for academic libraries

In this breakout session Karin Bystrom and Karin Perols talked about a Swedish project to develop a checklist with important factors for academic libraries to consider before starting with Patron Driven Acquistion (PDA).

PDA is a method of buying resources offered by e-book aggregators, which involves showing un-owned e-books in a local catalogue which then become loaned/rented or purchased under certain conditions set by the library.

The project ran between February to November 2012 and its purpose was to create a base of knowledge that could be useful to other libraries interested in implementing PDA. This would be done by:
  • Collecting earlier experiences;
  • Carrying out a PDA vendor survey (completed by Dawson, EBSCO, ebrary, EPL and MyiLibrary);
  • Having a test period (April - September);
  • Creating the checklist;
  • Publishing a report in December 2012.
The checklist would be written as a result of experiences and be intended to be used by other libraries so that they can be better prepared through thinking through the prerequisites.

Possible PDA objectives were identified as: better collections; better service; saving money; and replacing manual purchasing.

Creating a PDA profile
This involves limiting the titles offered. This can be done in a number of ways, according to: subject categories; publishing year; language; publishers; classification; readership level; price cap; keywords (using include/exclude).
Which limits does your library want and which profile settings are important? Choose your vendor in accordance with your requirements.

In this project the university libraries of Malmo and Uppsala had it set at 3 loans before each purchase was made, whereas at Sodertorn it was 2 loans. At the end of the project it was concluded that  for Uppsala it would have been better to have 2 loans rather than 3 before the title is purchased.

PDA functionality
What functionality is required? Borrowing; loans; mediated function; number of loans per person/per day; interface layout; multiple accounts.
Which PDA model and settings are important? Choose your vendor in accordance with your requirements.

Vendor collection
Look at: the readership level; type of books; publishers; updates to the collection.
Check if the collection from the vendor meets the library's needs.

Think about how the PDA titles will be made accessible: making PDA e-books visible through the local catalogue, union catalogue, etc.; getting MARC records supplied; use of a link resolver; authentication.
Consider where to make your e-books visible. Try to avoid a separate platform login.

E-book functionality
Look at the platform; use of DRM; downloading; mobile interface; speech synthesis; simultaneous users.

Managing the collection
  • De-duplication (only against other e-books). A few members of the audience mentioned the fact that de-duplication is a major problem, especially as some titles have two records, one for the print and one for the electronic version;
  • Unique e-ISBNs (some e-books have different e-ISBNs according to publisher, even though the book itself is the same!);
  • Managing titles already purchased;
  • Updates.
Consider which method for de-duplication is most effective. Create a structured schedule for updating the PDA collection.

What are the library's wishes and demands regarding support, e.g. start-up help and response times?

What statistics are needed? Is it important to be able to separate out the use of PDA titles from 'ordinary' titles?

Look at: Budget (Decide what you can spend at the beginning of the process.); price model; economy reports; invoices; deposit.
What does the vendor's price model include?

Look at: workflow; involvement of all staff; competency development; coordination; assessment.
Analyse how PDA will affect workflows and identify possible bottlenecks. Analyse the need for organisation.

A short English version of the report with full checklist is available (

There are both pros (e.g. getting users involved in choosing library material) and cons (e.g. unpredictability) to PDA. You will need to learn as you go and be prepared for change. Although academic libraries will have their differences, is is hoped that the experiences of the Swedish university libraries will help them to prepare and plan for PDA and help minimise any possible problems.

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