IRPG meeting at MWALA

Credo Reference hosted the IRPG (Independent Reference Publishers Group) meeting last month at Midwinter ALA, and the discussion was certainly provocative. The panel, which included Todd Carpenter of NISO, Peter McCracken from Serials Solutions, Rolf Janke from Sage Reference and Ron Boehm from ABC-CLIO, was instructed to respond to a comment from Sue Polanka, of Wright State University and the No Shelf Required blog. Sue’s comment was:

One day I’d like to purchase/license all of my reference content, regardless of publisher, and load it on the platform of my choice for the best cross searching available. This platform could be an existing one, like GVRL, Credo, ebrary, EBL, NetLibrary, etc. or some shareware, something developed by libraries. Benefits to patrons and librarians include: Greater access, more content, single search interface for ease of use and discoverabilty, easy to implement in library instruction and on web sites. These systems need to have unlimited simultaneous use, 24/7 access, with no DRM or other restrictions on downloading or printing, the most multimedia available during today’s expensive economic times and an actual ebook price, up front, would be appreciated. (from her blog entry – Reference Publishers Debate Single Platform)

The response from the different constituencies represented was very interesting. Traditional, print publishing companies have many challenges to face in terms of moving their businesses forward and breaking the strangle hold that the infrastructure required for physically printing books has on them. There are many issues to be considered around standards, and cooperation between different publishers and vendors. Overall, it was an interesting discussion, and one that I think will only become more relevant as library budgets face cuts and libraries look to get the most value out of their dollars.

See my notes from the meeting here.

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