Primary Research Group has just released a new report titled, “The Survey of Library Database Licensing Practices.” The complete report is a fee-based document but Primary Research has made some highlights available at no charge.

The 115-page report looks closely at how 70 academic, special and public libraries in the United States, the UK, continental Europe, Canada, and Australia plan their database licensing practices. The report also covers the impact of digital repositories and open access publishing on database licensing. Among the many issues covered: database licensing volume, use of consortiums, consortium development plans, satisfaction levels with the coverage of podcasts, video, listservs, blogs and wikis in full text databases, spending levels on various types of content such as electronic journals, article databases and directories perceptions of price increases for various types of subject matter, legal disputes between publishers and libraries, contract language, impact of mobile computing and other issues. Data is broken out by size and type of library.

Some Of the Findings:

+ The libraries in the sample spent a mean of $1.259 million USA for content licensed in electronic or joint electronic print format in 2010.

+ Libraries in the sample were more interested in seeing videos and podcasts indexed in databases than listservs, wikis, blogs or other cybermaterials.

+ Consortium contracts account for a mean of 43.72% of libraries’ total licenses for electronic content.

+ 17% of higher education libraries in the sample have paid a journal processing fee for an author.

+ Prices for journals and market research rose the most in the past year.

+ Libraries in the sample required a mean of 7.74 hours of legal assistance in contract disputes though the range was 0 to 200 hours.

+ Less than 10% of higher education libraries use e-Book lending services, and all were very large libraries.

+ Nearly 43% of libraries with annual licensed electronic content spending of greater than $1.2 million annually track patron use of open access journals. Digital repositories now account for 17% of the journal articles obtained when libraries need an article that is not in their own collection.

Complete Table of Contents (MS Word Doc)

One Question (With Findings) About Negotiating Contracts (MS Word Doc)

Ordering Information and Links

Via Resource Shelf


  1. I have to say I’ve long had a hatred for the licensing terms for electronic databases and journals and databases that university libraries are forced into. Its forced libraries into denying access to materials to non-student/staff members of their libraries which they provided to clients with respect of print journals.

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