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The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and the second largest library in the world by number of items catalogued. So it’s safe to say that the Library, a national institution with more than 40 years, has goals and needs that stand apart from the average public or academic library.
David Lofthouse from the Content Development and Implementation Department at the British Library works with selectors, acquisition staff and budget holders at the Library to help the organization maximize its budgets, streamline existing processes and devise new processes while building relevant collections.
The Library follows public procurement policy to ensure it obtains value for its money and as a member of LUPC (London Universities Purchasing Consortium) has access to the SUPC (Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium) Book Framework agreement. In 2015, the Library awarded the English Language Print Books contract to ProQuest (Coutts) via this agreement. The British Library looks to continually review processes with suppliers to make the most of all opportunities for further efficiencies both at the implementation of the contract and also through a schedule of regular service review meetings.
With the contract in place, David’s team at the British Library worked with ProQuest to put into place the plans and processes that best met the Library’s needs. The Library decided on two main book acquisition workflows:
The efficacy of an Approval or New Title Alert plan depends upon the accuracy of its profile. The British Library worked closely with ProQuest in fine-tuning the initial profiles:
The transition to ProQuest for English-language print books, said David, took place rather smoothly, and any kinks “were ironed out quickly.” He points to a more streamlined process in place that frees up time for the selectors.
New Title Alerts are expected to create a more steady and predictable spend pattern. Going forward, David sees opportunities for making even better use of OASIS workflows to add greater efficiency to the print acquisition process to meet the Library’s growing needs.
In all, refining the print acquisition process with ProQuest OASIS has been a positive experience, said David. “ProQuest staff from IT and Selection met our needs and reacted promptly to help us refine our profiles and react to changes.”
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s largest libraries. Its collections include more than 150 million items, in over 400 languages including books, magazines, manuscripts, maps, music scores, newspapers, patents, databases, philatelic items, prints and drawings and sound recordings. www.bl.uk
Image: By C. G. P. Grey - C. G. P. Grey's Photography, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=228081