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CLIR Annual Report: 1998 – 1999

CLIR Annual Report: 1998 – 1999

The Economics of Information
The CLIR staff, during its planning retreats and in discussions with the Board, spent considerable time this year better defining the scope of the Economics of Information program. There are economic dimensions to nearly all of CLIR’s projects and programs. However, there are several issues that require specific economic studies. The staff identified the need for analysis in the following areas:

  • How to measure the productivity of users of information resources.
  • How to value heritage assets. CLIR is commissioning a report on managing cultural assets from a business perspective. The report, to be written by KPMG Peat Marwick, will draw on that firm’s experience in developing a model to assess risks to the collections of the Library of Congress.
  • How to help provosts and other university administrators measure the costs of information.
  • How to develop business models for new services that grow out of CLIR’s activities. Work is under way within the Digital Library Federation to develop the first models.

After discussions with the Board, CLIR decided to commission a consultant to work with the economics advisory committee to bring focus to the developing agenda.

Licensing Discussions

This year CLIR cosponsored, with the Scholarly Publications Section of the Association of American Publishers, a series of meetings of selected librarians and publishers. One purpose in meeting was to explore licensing to determine if there are areas of commonality between the two groups. The informal group was charged with the following agenda:

  • to review the national-level dialogue in the United Kingdom on the topic of licensing and its result of reaching agreement on definitions and on certain practices
  • to review Yale’s LIBLICENSE project and new licensing software
  • to review the current state of licensing between libraries and publishers in the United States

The group concluded that a simple, practical goal was best: to adapt LIBLICENSE so that it can be used in 80 percent of the licensing arrangements librarians make with publishers.

Investment in Information Project

On August 3, 1998, the advisory committee for the Investment in Information project met with an economist to discuss the kind of economic study of information resources that would be most helpful to academic administrators. Two possibilities emerged from that meeting—the first focused on information productivity and the second on benchmarking and modeling. As the economist’s recommendations were discussed with the Board during its subsequent fall meeting, the benefits of the two proposals were questioned, and other recommendations were offered. The staff was charged with developing options for consideration.

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