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In Search of a New Library-Vendor Business Model

Sul Lee is a wise man in many ways. But I am referring to his practice of scheduling vendor presentations at the end of each conference day. He does so for two reasons, I think. First, he understands that vendors, more often than not, will approach conference topics differently from practicing librarians. Second, by having vendors follow three or four experts on a topic, he accords us latitude in our approach. Searching for a new library-vendor business model is the theme of this paper. What, you may ask, does redesigning that relationship have to do with "Research Collections and Digital Information"? My colleague, David Swords, and I believe that the underlying theme of this conference is transformation. Librarians are focused on defining a secure future for their organizations. (Electronic collections are but one new service model librarians are exploring as they compete for customer satisfaction.) Book vendors are also focused on defining a secure future for their organizations. We have only one option. Find a new business model together.