The challenge of creating the Cyprus Academic Library Consortium (CALC): Impacts and benefits
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This paper describes the development of the Cyprus Academic Libraries Consortium (CALC) and the process of formulating its own agreements with Publishers, but not before explaining how the Public Universities of Cyprus managed to participate in the Hellenic Academic Libraries Link (HEAL-Link) Consortium. Insufficient funds, lack of organization, danger of overlapping information resources, create a slow growth rate and obstacles in the provision of information material by Academic Libraries to their users. Realizing these problems and trying to avoid them CALC was created - comprised of seven members, with its main action limited only to subscriptions to Electronic Resources. Furthermore, criteria are outlined describing reasons for choosing services and electronic resources from Publishers. Also, the dissemination of cost per member institution for each deal is described through a formula created by the library directors and agreed to by the senate of each member institution. Although there are benefits of academic libraries joining the CALC consortium, the fact that there are practical and financial problems as well as challenges is not ignored. Methods, such as an evaluation on the usage of the resources and promotion of the same, must be applied by the librarians of each university consortium member. Qualitative methods are discussed and quantitative methods are presented as essential, to better evaluate the impact of resources in the research area (Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and Return on Investment (ROI) formulas). With attention to situations like the overcoming of the Swets (CALC s main supplier) bankruptcy, the paper continues to show that success can be achieved through proper record keeping, hard work and good relations - which is how CALC managed to continue its subscriptions to the Publishers and avoided any interruption of access to the electronic journals. Although setting up a consortium can provide many benefits, CALC is also in the process of acquiring its Legal Entity in order to be better able to process its administrative and cost actions. Further development and future actions are mentioned, including discovering how researchers are using the library's resources to help with their teaching and research.