Patron-driven acquisition in action in Sweden

A recent research project examines PDA in Swedish academic libraries, with the aim of creating a knowledge base that can be used by other libraries.

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These questions about the needs and goals of individual library collections are fundamental. Byström and Perols point out that one PDA model is not necessarily better than other – the key thing is that libraries select a model that suits the aims for their own collections.

During the project there were a few unforeseen problems; mainly around the use of eISBNs and deduplication. The team found that it was difficult to make predictions about usage and costs as there were so many variables involved, including the quality and relevant of titles, number of potential users, and simplicity of access.

This report concludes by strongly recommending that libraries planning for PDA should fully consider the risks and opportunities well in advance in order maximise the opportunities and avoid the biggest pitfalls. The project team have produced a useful and extensive checklist to help libraries with this planning. Questions asked, for example, include:

  • what are your organisations long term goals for PDA?
  • what limits does your library wants to set and which profile settings are particularly important?
  • what PDA functionality is important to your library (for example, how many simultaneous users; does the library need several different accounts with different profiles)?
  • which distributor’s collection meets your specific needs?
  • what about access and authentication, and link resolvers?
  • what are your expectations in terms of help and support from the distributor? What about reporting and analytics?
  • how might PDA change workflow, and what are the possible bottlenecks?
  • what financial and budgetary arrangements are necessary?

As Byström and Perols pointed out in their presentation, there are a variety of possible reasons for embraking on a PDA process, notably creating a better collection, offering better service, replacing manual purchasing, or saving money. However, all these goals probably can’t be achieved at the same time. Their message: learn as you go, and be prepared for change.

A copy of the research report and checklist, in English, can be found here

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