Jerusalem, October 6, 2014
In a world that is moving rapidly toward openness and transparency, new norms dictate that users be entitled to employ their institutional discovery tool to search for and access the content to which their library subscribes. In conformity with this new norm and recommendations from industry groups such as the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) and NISO’s Open Discovery Initiative (ODI), providers of scholarly content—primary publishers, secondary publishers, and aggregators—have been contributing their content to discovery services such as Ex Libris Primo.
An example is ProQuest, a provider of both a discovery service—ProQuest Summon™—and a significant number of important secondary (A&I) databases and full-text aggregations, which is committed to making such content available to library discovery services. Today, more than 200 of ProQuest’s most widely used collections, including approximately 50 A&I databases, have been indexed in Primo. Additional collections will become accessible via Primo in the coming months. In exchange for the content that ProQuest has made available for indexing, Ex Libris has opened up its entire set of APIs to ProQuest, which can now fully integrate its software with Ex Libris products.
In this new ecosystem, both Ex Libris and its customer community expect a similar agreement with EBSCO, providing for a fair exchange of content and technology interfaces. Regrettably, despite our best attempts over many months of discussion to reach such an agreement, including our offering EBSCO full integration capabilities with Ex Libris products in exchange for all EBSCO content, EBSCO remains intransigent, rejecting all proposals.
In the spirit of transparency, we would like to shed further light on our discussions with EBSCO.
In its statement of its open policy on metadata sharing, EBSCO has publicly proposed to make a limited set of databases available for indexing by discovery systems such as Primo. Other EBSCO databases, which libraries purchase primarily for their subject indexing, such as CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and America: History and Life (together with their full-text versions), are excluded from the EBSCO policy without any indication of a transparent process for their inclusion in the future. Customer feedback received by Ex Libris and extensive customer analyses that we have undertaken demonstrate that large numbers of our customers subscribe to these databases and that the databases constitute important foundation tools in a range of core subjects.
In return for its partial content, EBSCO requires access from its EBSCO Discovery Service™ (EDS) to all APIs—for all Ex Libris products. While attempting to gain competitive advantage over Primo by retaining sole use of some of the key EBSCO databases, EBSCO expects Ex Libris to waive its technological advantage by providing EBSCO with full integration capabilities. We made it clear to EBSCO that we do not consider this proposal a fair exchange and offered instead full integration capabilities with Ex Libris products in exchange for all EBSCO content, similar to our agreement with ProQuest. EBSCO declined this offer. EBSCO further declined a second proposal of partial content in exchange for partial interfaces.
While both offers by Ex Libris have been rejected, they remain on the table for consideration by EBSCO. Ex Libris would welcome a fair agreement that will allow us to index the content currently offered by the EBSCO policy and address the inclusion of the subject-index databases in an agreed timetable.