e-lending pilot projects: next steps on from the Sieghart review.

Few people seem to be aware of the precise nature of the pilot projects that were a key part of the recommendations from the ‘Sieghart’ review of e-lending in public libraries. Fortunately the RFP (tender) document is available on the SCL website and what follows is taken verbatim from that:
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“A key recommendation … is to conduct a number of research pilots which will explore the most effective approaches to e-lending so that the outstanding concerns of publishers, libraries and authors can be resolved and a sustainable e-lending model can be implemented across Public Libraries.
The British Library Trust has agreed to fund this research and have made a grant of £40,000 available to SCL.
Aims and objectives
The aim of this research is to explore how e-lending works in practice (remote as well as downloadable in the library building) and the consequences of differing approaches to e-lending on libraries, publishers, readers and authors.
We are seeking a research partner to co-design a small number (ideally involving three or four library authorities) of e-lending research pilots in England and to evaluate them.
We are keen to appoint a research agency that has a demonstrable understanding of the complexity of the market that e-lending will operate in. We would like the research agency to help co-design with Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and Publishers Association (PA) a robust research project that takes into consideration the constraints of this potentially commercially sensitive area. The research agency will not be able to determine who the aggregators will be, what e-books will be available, which publishers will sign up, what e-reader device the library patrons will have or which they will need to have to access the e-lending service at their local library. This will be done via a tender process from which the PA and SCL will select pilot participants.
The key research questions are:
1) What is the reader journey? (possible measurements)
•    From accessing a library catalogue through to loaning / not loaning or potential purchase.
•    What are the key steps that they take?
•    What is the impact of loan periods on their choices?
•    What device are they utilising to choose / to loan / to read?

2) What is the impact on sales?
•    We would like the research agency to help develop measurement tools to enable publishers to measure the impact of the e-lending pilots on their sales in a consistent manner, to include consideration of best sellers, mid list and back list titles

3) What is the overall impact on the Library Service? (possible measurements)
•    Changes in membership levels (remotely and at the library)
•    Frequency of use both in terms of book borrowing (e-books and books) and use of the library services (remotely and visits to the library)

4) How does an e-lending offer change the customers’ perception of the library service?
•    What is the impact on book buying habits of people using the e-lending service? Does the availability of an e-lending service affect the book buying habits of people who do not currently use the library service?
•    General population or library users?
•    What is the potential impact on author’s income?
–To include consideration of the Public Lending Right and royalties
Outputs
We would expect that the project delivers the following outputs:
1) A concise and accessible report which identifies the key findings against the named objectives.
2) A clearly formatted Excel spreadsheet of aggregated data which does not disclose any information that might be confidential and or competitively sensitive to any of the pilot participants.

Project Timetable
The indicative timetable for the project is:
Invitation to tender published: 27th June 2013
Deadline for tender proposals 17th July 2013
Interviews (if applicable) week beginning 22nd July 2013

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So interviews for the research agency to undertake to projects should be taking place this week. No doubt SCL will keep us all informed of progress….

Ken Chad (ken@kenchadconsulting.com)

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2 thoughts on “e-lending pilot projects: next steps on from the Sieghart review.

  1. Pingback: ‘Frictionless’ ebook lending from public libraries | Shelf Free

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