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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Millard Johnson(Indiana Cooperative Library Services Authority)
Description: This is a collection of papers from an ARL conference held in Washington, DC in 1995. The same material is available in the Journal of Library Administration, Volume 26 Numbers 1/2 1998 and as a monograph published by the Association of Research Libraries (www.arl.org/pubscat/title.htm).
Purpose: The rising cost of library materials has led libraries to join together and use new technologies to try to maintain services while reducing increases in costs. But are libraries' efforts successful? If some libraries cancel subscriptions, do publishers simply raise the costs to continuing subscribers? Is extensive, systematic borrowing truly cheaper than ownership, or is it merely a matter of paying from another pocket? To answer questions about the cost effectiveness of various "resource sharing" practices, as well as to present the fundamental economics of information management in the networked age, the ARL convened a conference of experts in economics, network technology, and library practice.
Audience: The book is intended for librarians who have responsibility for decisions concerning participation in cooperative network activities intended to reduce costs to libraries or increase library services through cooperative library practices.
Features: As usual with printed conference proceedings, the papers are of uneven quality — some of the papers are omitted because speakers did not submit or withheld their copy. Some papers by economists attempt to tie economic theory to the library and Internet environment. Some papers by librarians simply describe systems in operation or planned. Still other papers make predictions about what will or might happen as a result of emerging technology and library cooperative efforts.
Assessment: Although the papers included in this work were written more than four years ago, the book contains useful information on the full spectrum of problems confronting a profession seeking to contain costs and use information technology cooperatively to provide better service.