Licensing and Negotiating

Since we are watching a long video again and also have a solid number of readings, I will keep this lecture short.

Let's talk about Abbie Brown, first. In her talk, note that she highlights the middle ground on:

  • principled negotiation
  • assertive communicators

She also discusses, based on her experience, some stereotypes that get in the way of negotiating. These include:

  • Librarian stereotypes: Years ago, I was at a dinner with a friend of mine and their family when my friend mentioned me going to library school. The father of my friend then said, "isn't that women's work?" So the existence of this stereotype is true, and if applicable to you, I hope you do not have to deal with it. My advice is to stick with Abbie Brown's suggestion to focus on principled negotiation and assertive communication. And if you're judged based on other stereotypes, please don't tolerate it.
  • Library stereotypes: libraries are major players in the economy and have important economic buying power. Know that you come from a position of power.
  • Vendors stereotypes: these are just as incorrect. As Brown notes, the people who work for vendors often have Master's degrees from library science programs. In fact, I went to library school with people who now work for vendors, and students in this class have and do work for vendors. These people are certainly aware of the complexities surrounding libraries and librarians and the values that librarians uphold. So you often will have a lot of mutual understanding from the start and should not necessarily have to assume any baseline antagonism.
  • In the end, try work against any and all of these stereotypes. I think that if you do this, then it will reduce a lot of anxiety that we might carry with us when we go to the negotiating table.

I like that also that Abbie Brown stresses the importance of building and maintaining relationships:

  • Focus from the beginning on building and maintaining a good relationship with your vendor. There are benefits to this, as Abbie Brown lists.

Brown's practical suggestions:

  • talk through things, with colleagues and vendors
  • write well and succinctly, and put in writing (and be careful what you put in writing)
  • I know that some of you have already had hesitations about the licensing agreements we've discussed already. Brown covers this in some detail and in real world ways and discusses how, e.g., SERU, is not always used but is still helpful to have out there as a point of reference.

In addition to Brown's talk, we also read a few articles. The Smith and Hartnett article provides a nice real world example of the negotiating process that includes a work flow around licensing (again, the workflow!). Remember, document everything and revisit your documentation. That's how formalized checklists come into being and why they're useful. Having a workflow in place around licensing will help make your work more efficient and help ensure that all bases are covered.

The Dygert and Barrett article covers the specifics of licensing---what to look for, what shouldn't be given away, how to negotiate principally, and more. Likewise, the Dunie article gets into the specifics of the negotiation process and includes definitions of terms, business models, and strategies.

This week will not necessarily prepare us to become negotiators. The main point I want to make this week is this: if you find yourself in a position where one of your job responsibilities is to negotiate with vendors for e-resources (or for anything else), then come back to these sources of information and spend additional time studying them and taking notes on them. Sources like these, and others like them in the literature, will prepare you if you study them.