Liberty Project 2015 and Beyond

Liberty Project 2015 and beyond ~ The project might need to become a non-profit organization once it begins to expand in the future.

One of the next phases of the project includes finding and purchasing DRM (digital rights management) eBooks. A standard agreement needs to be created between libraries and publishers to purchase eBooks. The cost of eBooks will be initially rather large once the project begins to acquire DRM titles. Incorporating eBooks into KOHA will take substantial time. Liberty will have to integrate the Adobe DRM software into KOHA and we are estimating it will take one programmer approximately three months to complete.

It will take a significant amount of time to add more eBooks. Some of the steps needed will be to contact the publishers and authors to acquire eBooks using a standard contract, they will need to be cataloged and uploaded onto the server. The Liberty Committee would like to hire a cataloger to edit the MARC records of the books.

DRM eBooks are the popular titles found on the best seller lists. Depending on the vendor, libraries typically pay anywhere from $9.99 to $89.99 for one eBook title. There are restrictions involved with these titles such as only one checkout at a time or a limited number of checkouts until the title must be repurchased. The popularity of the author/title will need to be weighed against the amount of people using the system for eBooks. Liberty will need to make sure that there is a sufficient number of each title available to prevent long waiting lists for eBooks. The DRM titles will be costly and the Liberty team is looking into other grant opportunities to secure funding for the initial purchasing of these materials.

A universal index (discovery layer) needs to be created of both the paid and free eBooks, integrating an eBook indexing solution so that patrons can complete searches on any term or word within the eBook database. Patrons would be able to view the source within the book itself. This provides the user with a great new ability not generally available in the print world, a compendium of a large collection of easy-to-search books. This new ability would allow improved resource sharing of libraries with unique collections to leverage their collections with other libraries’ unique collections. In essence, Liberty will be able to trade rights for certain materials to gain access to others.

The last part of the project will consist of analyzing system use and developing a Liberty 2.0 update. Marketing and promotion of Liberty will be completed at this point. Librarians participating in the project will be provided with training opportunities on using the project.

Once the project is fully implemented, it will be made available to the seventy-one libraries in the Northwest Pennsylvania Region to access eBooks and digital content. Other libraries in Pennsylvania will be able to participate in the project after the initial implementation.

The Liberty Committee is currently evaluating a fee structure for the future. Adobe will charge Liberty a fee for the DRM titles so some cost recovery basis has to be built into the Liberty fee. We are investigating a system similar to our Interlibrary Loan Delivery System (IDS) in which libraries are charged a yearly membership fee based on their usage using a step approach. The more usage the higher the step and the higher the fee. Another option would be to charge for usage on a monthly subscription basis.