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Changing Library Vendor Contracts: A Case Study In Acquiring E Books From An On Line Book Vendor

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Meeting the Needs of Engineering Faculty, Researchers, and Students

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.314.1 - 14.314.17



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Paper Authors


Charlotte Erdmann Purdue University

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Charlotte Erdmann is Engineering Librarian, Coordinator of Collections and Associate Professor of Library Science at Purdue University's Siegesmund Engineering Library. She is interested in collection development, statistical analysis of library use data and intellectual property searching. Erdmann is also Purdue's Representative to the Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program and is active in the Engineering Libraries Division, American Society for Engineering Education and the Patent and Trademark Depository Library Association.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Changing Library Vendor Contracts: A Case Study in Acquiring E- Books from an Online Book Vendor


Safari Tech Books Online offers several options for providing computer books to campus users. Purdue University used the vendor for 1 ½ years and discovered that the current titles option was not working as well as expected. The option included providing access to the current year and two previous years for all available publishers and was less labor-intensive for the library staff. A statistical analysis was done that examined the use patterns, including most heavily used books and publishers, as well as books with and without catalog records. This paper discusses the new option chosen and compares the statistical use patterns before and after the change. The university library ultimately changed its plan to more closely meet user needs by limiting the number of publishers, maintaining high use titles, and selecting specific titles as needed. Additionally, problems that were encountered before and after the change are discussed.


Purdue University is a tier-one research university with approximately 40,000 students and supports undergraduate and graduate students in computer-related departments and schools in the Colleges of Science, Engineering, Technology, and Management. The Purdue University Libraries system is a decentralized system with 13 locations. Three libraries regularly purchase computer books. The addition of an e-book vendor had the potential to better serve clients and reduce staff selection time and maintenance issues.

Purdue University Libraries began a subscription in March 2005 after trial access of four products. This paper provides a literature review, background with a brief profile of the university library and vendor, description of first implementation, statement of problems encountered, and statistical data that influenced the request to change the e-book subscription, and implementation of those changes. During 2006, librarians expressed concerns and re- evaluation began in the fall of 2006.

This case study examines one large university library system’s experience subscribing to Safari Tech Books Online, an e-book vendor. For detailed explanations of Safari’s plans, the author encourages the reader to check the vendor section for details.

Literature Review

This paper does not explain features, interfaces, or functionality of the Safari Tech Online Books system. This has already been done in previous reviews that outline the e-book product. Turner1 (2003) of the University of Southern Mississippi reviewed Safari when 1200 titles were available

Erdmann, C. (2009, June), Changing Library Vendor Contracts: A Case Study In Acquiring E Books From An On Line Book Vendor Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5862

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