What I wish vendors knew about academic libraries…

I’ve recently had a flurry of meetings with account managers and other representatives from a number of our subscribed databases and journals.  It struck me how often I had to explain certain things about the higher education environment which I had incorrectly assumed account managers would already know about.  So here’s my wish list.

What I wish vendors knew about academic libraries

  • The serials crisis
  • Older and newer universities – effect on incomes, assets, (perceived?) status
  • Jisc banding and differentiated pricing
  • Student fees and their contribution to universities’ funding (it’s only part of the picture)
  • Effect of international students and their higher fees
  • Lifting of the cap on undergraduate numbers from September 2015 and effect on recruitment & revenue
  • Not all universities teach all subjects (so don’t try to sell me something we don’t need…)
  • Other factors affecting budgets: VAT, exchange rates

If vendors knew about these things, perhaps they wouldn’t be so surprised when I tell them about shrinking budgets that can’t cover what we had this year, let alone allow for new subscriptions.  Or that I don’t want a free trial if there’s no hope of responding to  positive feedback with access next year.  Or that I am not interest in Resource Y, however fabulous, because we don’t teach that subject.

What else would you add?  Let me know in the comments!



  1. Just had ACS tell us about denial of access to our students and therefore we should buy a sub. I am very tempted to email back about our denial of access to our money as we haven’t got much!

    Perhaps also we should send invoices to the companies for our time when we have to give 121 tutorials on how HE works. Indeed perhaps we should offer to do this in house for all the major providers via SCONUL on the basis that this would “Save the time of the librarian!”

  2. How about “No I won’t do an email for you to Very Senior Academic because they’re super-busy, and guess what? They employed a professional librarian so we can do the filters, trials and recommendations and let them focus on their work!”

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