You are here

Resource Forum and Ranking Survey FAQs

Who can participate in the Resource Forum and Ranking Survey?

All library staff at BC ELN partner libraries are encouraged to submit suggestions that meet the nomination criteria to the Resource Forum. Each partner library will be asked to submit ONE Ranking Survey response per cycle on behalf of their institution.

What are the nomination criteria for resources submitted to Resource Forum and Ranking Survey?

As you nominate resources, please keep in mind BC ELN gives priority to licensing resources that:

  • Offer economies of scale by benefiting the most BC ELN partner libraries system-wide
  • Balance a broad spectrum of academic disciplines (arts and humanities, sciences, social sciences including business, and general or cross-disciplinary resources)
  • Will be licensed by a reasonable number of new licensees, thus leveraging buying power for greater savings
  • Are not already licensed by other consortia (View resources licensed by other consortia: eHLbc, COPPUL, CRKN, ConCan)

Why can't I nominate products that other consortia license?

Consortial licensing works by leveraging the number of licensees to achieve better pricing for all. Several consortia licensing the same resource results in a splintering of buying power, and BC ELN likely won’t get the numbers required to achieve truly favourable pricing.

Can BC ELN get my library a better price on a resource we already license?

It depends:

  • Is the resource already very inexpensively priced? In this case it is unlikely that BC ELN could negotiate a better price even as a consortium.
  • Is the resource already licensed separately by many libraries? If BC ELN cannot demonstrate to a vendor that a large number of new libraries would license the resource if a consortial deal were arranged, it is highly unlikely that a vendor would participate.
  • Is it evident that only a few libraries license the resource but a large number of additional libraries would license it if there were a consortial deal? In this case BC ELN may be able to leverage group buying power to negotiate favourable pricing with the vendor.

Can BC ELN pursue licenses for highly specialized subject resources?

Vendors are unlikely to provide favourable pricing for the small number of BC institutions that might be seeking a highly specialized or niche resource. Consortia Canada, which has the capacity to leverage national numbers, is better suited to seeking consortial pricing on these resources.

BC ELN’s strength is its focus on licensing electronic resources which serve broader post-secondary sector needs at low costs. These resources may be traditional (e.g. journal databases) or non-traditional (e.g. image databases). This strategy enables institutions to devote savings to licensing the specialized content of value for their unique programs.

How many suggestions can I submit to the Resource Forum?

There is no limit on the number of suggestions that library staff can make when the Forum is open.

Does BC ELN provide resource suggestions?

Absolutely. BC ELN Office staff regularly speak to vendors and have an awareness of relevant resources that could be of benefit to the consortium. In these cases the BC ELN Office will suggest resources to the Forum. Suggestions do not indicate “a stamp of approval” from BC ELN; libraries should evaluate each suggested resource individually. See Evaluating Resources.

How often is the Ranking Survey held?

The Ranking Survey is held every two to three years. A biennial approach is taken to the Ranking Survey to maximize partner libraries' limited capacity to license new resources and to make efficient use of BC ELN office time and energy.

Are resources selected for consortial licensing any other way?

While BC ELN uses the Resource Forum and Ranking Survey as a way to ensure that partner libraries have an active voice in determining what is licensed, it is not the only method used for resource selection. BC ELN is in regular contact with partner libraries, vendors, and other consortia in order to identify opportunities for licensing as a consortium or in partnership with others.

Can BC ELN evaluate resources and/or provide recommendations for libraries?

BC ELN’s role is to facilitate and coordinate the new resource selection process, gather information, and act on the direction of partner libraries. Unfortunately the BC ELN Office does not have the capacity nor the expertise to evaluate all suggested resources, and it wouldn’t wish to be seen as favoring one resource or vendor over another. It’s the role of partner libraries to conduct independent resource evaluations in advance of joining or renewing a license. For more information, see Evaluating Resources.

Do certain library types (e.g. urban institutions, larger universities), influence the rankings more heavily than others?

No. Each library vote (i.e. choice of three highest-priority resources) has equal weight in the process. When ranking selections, libraries should all consider which resources would bring the most value to the entire consortium.

Should I vote based on what my library already has, or based on what my library wants?

In order to gauge libraries' desire for a resource as well as their ability to license it, BC ELN asks each partner library to:

  1. Choose its top three resource preferences – 1 high, 1 medium, 1 low – regardless of whether the institution has funds to pursue the license (libraries should make selections that reflect BC ELN's mission and are most likely to benefit the entire consortium);
  2. Tell us if your institution currently has licenses for any of the resources listed in the survey; and
  3. Let us know if your library would be likely to license the resource through BC ELN within the next two years (i.e. your library has the funds and the intent to move forward– indicating yes does not commit your institution to licensing the resources)