Pointy. And blunt. Like a pebble.

My “feeling pointy” post got 1600 page views in seven hours today. A dozen retweets of the post. A dozen comments here, several dozen more in other social networks, 6 private emails came to me through my contact form, and a DM through Twitter, all addressing what I wrote.

I would suggest that I am not alone in believing these things, or feeling these pressures. I would also suggest that our vendors need to start paying attention.

Fortunately, maybe they are.

A VP at Proquest called me today, and their tech people have been in lengthy and in-depth conversation with our head of instruction. She’s making them screencasts. They’re taking notes. Good luck, Proquest. We really do wish you the best. We want your stuff to work.

A librarian friend of mine commented today that she likes how if she posts to Twitter about an EBSCO problem, she gets a reply from them. Good job, EBSCO — we like being listened to.

And someone from ACS sales did call me this afternoon, along with our actual sales contact corresponding with our head of collection development. (Still no word from the woman who was so condescendingly unhelpful.) I had a long talk with the ACS somebody, and here are my conclusions:

  • If you find the right person, ACS will work with you to a point; they will be sharing options and prices with us early next week.
  • We are unlikely to be able to do better than our current “deal” because of how ACS does pricing.
  • Individuals within the corporate They are aware of how painful the position is that I find myself in.
  • The corporate They believes in their content, and its value.
  • The corporate They does not think libraries are ever going to actually cancel content.

And are they wrong? Their content IS good. We know it. They know it. And they don’t think we’ll cancel, no matter what they do with prices, because WE DON’T CANCEL. In some cases it’s because we’re cowards, and are afraid to do it. In some cases its because it’s key content needed to support our community of researchers, so we short some other area of the budget to pay for the content. In some cases we just feel helpless to be the ones to enact change and start the avalanche. Librarians are much happier, it seems to me, being the pebbles who don’t get to vote after the avalanche has begun.

Well, this pebble would like to vote. Depending on what pricing info I get, and the feedback I gather from my campus community, maybe I will. Regardless, I will be making my decision because it is in the best interests of my campus, my users, and my libraries. It will not be because I tacitly approve of ACS’s approach to pricing their content.

And just because the vendors are paying attention doesn’t mean the problem is solved. This is not over just because someone reaches out. Now we need substantive change in how these things are managed and handled and planned and communicated.

Vote, pebbles. Vote.


  1. This pebble is voting. We cancelled over $10K of journals from EBSCO because they were so little utilized that I couldn’t justify the cost anymore. EBSCO called and asked why I cancelled so many journals. I told them that in a world where I am lucky if my budget is flat and where publisher’s increase rates 10% or more a year that we can’t sustain that anymore. I told EBSCO to tell the publishers that from here on out I am matching every increase with a cut in subscriptions. I’m doing the same with every subscription that comes across my desk now.

    Let’s see how long I can keep it up. ‘-)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s