Progress Through Partnership: Consortia Based e-Resource Subscription Initiatives in India

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Conference Article

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Workshop on Consortia Based Subscription of Online Resources (CBSOR-2007)


Indian libraries are constantly grappling with the issue of ever-escalating cost of scholarly resources (especially e-resources) coupled with budgetary constraints. However, price escalation in journal subscription has great impact on libraries. Indian scenario depicts that, over the decade (1986-’96) libraries were dropped roughly around 15% of their foreign subscriptions. To encounter with these prevalent situations have resulted the emergence of resource sharing - site licensing - and ultimately a significant growth in number of ‘Library Consortia’. In fact, consortia based subscription of online resources (CBSOR) has proved to be a common strategy among the libraries (having similar interests, purposes and needs) to sustain the buying power in collection development. This paper examines the consortia as ‘semiformal organization’ and is one of the emerging toolkits for libraries to survive. It also draws attention to the ideas on consortia and viewed in different angles, viz. factors for creating successful consortia, potential benefits, organizational models, etc. The paper highlights various supportive measures that have been taken by the government (both central & state), learned-societies, stakeholders and other renowned libraries of India for the balanced development of the North Eastern libraries. This paper recognizes the growth of library consortia across the globe and a special emphasis have been made to Indian efforts done in this direction. However, it enumerates a brief account of some of the major initiatives taken from Indian libraries during last couple of years. A detail study highlights the environmental circumstances (economic, political, cultural, etc.) that are unique to India, hampered the consistent growth of consortia in Indian libraries and even some of the initiatives could not materialized properly. Still, an encouraging sign is being observed in the recent growth of consortia in Indian libraries. The consortia like – INDEST, UGC InfoNet, FORSA, CSIR, HELINET, IIMs, ISI Libraries Consrtia VIC, ISRO, ICMR, etc. are the most ambitious among the initiatives taken so far in the country. This paper also emphasizes the common hurdles towards the formation of consortia in Indian context.

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