‘Patron-driven acquisition’ (PDA) is, according to the Editor’s Note in Patron-driven acquisitions: history and best practices (De Gruyter Saur, 2011), synonymous with several phrases, namely ‘demand-driven acquisitions’, ‘patron-selection programs’, ‘user-driven collection’, ‘research-driven acquisition model’, ‘patron-initiated purchase’. In its most general sense, PDA refers to any system in which library’s decisions over which books to buy are driven principally by demand from patrons, rather than collection librarians’ judgement. The phrase is, however, often used in a narrower sense to refer to a system whereby a supplier (typically an aggregator such as EBL, ebrary, NetLibrary, or MyiLibrary) makes a collection of e-books available to a library free of charge. Purchases (or leases) of titles using the library budget are then triggered by patrons’ selection and use.
For libraries, PDA offers a number of advantages. In particular:
- it hugely increases the range of titles available to users
- titles have to be purchased only as they are required by users: this prevents wastage of library budgets on the acquisition of books that nobody reads (an extensive problem).
- ‘The story of patron-driven acquisition’ by Kari Paulson, tracing, in an engaging narrative, the genesis and evolution of PDA;
- ‘Patron-driven business models: history, today’s landscape, and opportunities’ by Sue Polanka and Emilie Delquie, providing a concise and crunchy survey;
- ‘Elements of a demand-driven model’ by Swords himself, providing an outline of (a) the acquisitions thinking behind PDA, (b) the workflow involved, and (c) a budgeting model.
The book has been typeset, smartly, by Rainer Ostermann and handsomely produced by De Gruyter. It is an impressive piece of professional publishing. I’m grateful to Mark Huskisson for having alerted me to it.