RUSA BRASS Discussion Group July 2009

RUSA BRASS Discussion Group
ALA Annual Conference - Chicago

Palmer House

Sunday, July 12, 2009, 10:30 - 12:00

79 Attendees

Topic: The Financial Crisis and its Impact on Business Reference

Business Meeting

Rita Moss, BRASS Chair. BRASS will be primarily virtual at ALA Midwinter. Connect is ALA’s new online presence to conduct all committee's activity. Please put all committee materials in Connect.Email Rita or Mark if problems develop. A guide will be forthcoming on Connect, but it is not difficult to use; you can set up your profile and then access BRASS communities and the committees you are on. Use whatever resources you need/want for your committee work --Google Docs, Connect, snailmail, email, etc. BRASS will book a room for those who must be on a committee that meets at ALA Midwinter but the room must be booked by October. RUSA representatives should check with their committee Chairs to see if they need to be at ALA Midwinter.

Input is needed for database tutorials done by BRASS members.

BRASS would also like to thank vendors who support BRASS—Emerald, InfoUSA, Standard & Poors.

BRASS Discussion

Louise Feldmann, Chair of the BRASS Discussion Group, welcomed everyone and said we would begin the session with the topic, The Financial Crisis and its Impact on Business Reference, and then opened the discussion to other questions and announcements. She began the session by asking attendees to talk about the opportunities, cuts, and changes at their institutions. The following notes are organized by topic.

Vendors and Price Increases. Discussion ensued about the need to let vendors know that we cannot handle increases and we will not be able to accept list prices. It was mentioned that vendors will often work with institutions if asked. It is worthwhile to negotiate. Gale has kept their price flat and added new material. Some vendors are charging more for online sources than print so we need to let them know this is not agreeable. Vendors who only sell to libraries are tending to keep their prices flat, but vendors to whom libraries are not their primary customer may not work with libraries and may not fully understand the dire situation libraries face. Since monopolies offer less competition, we need to talk with users and faculty about voicing the intent to give up these resources. Most vendors are using FTE to base price, while others want an enrollment number. Make sure you know what they are using.

Other comments:

Thomson Financial and Thomson’s Investext are two examples of how vendors aren’t as sensitive to libraries’ financial situations because the library market isn’t their primary market.

If you are confronted with price increases, push back and don't take the initial list price. Many vendors will negotiate.

Many vendors especially those that sell exclusively to libraries have made an effort to keep prices flat and some of them have offered these prices at multi-year contracts.

Be sure vendors use equivalent rather than enrollment in basing prices on FTE—best to supply them your number yourself.

Beware that some products, like the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, are little different from their print counterparts, but are being sold on a subscription rather than purchase model. We need to argue against vendors’ ideas that electronic should cost more because of its increased access (Gale given as another example).

We all need to complain when a vendor makes a bad change to an interface or content—need all of our voices to convince them of the error.

Reminder: Business Reference Sources Committee. Bobray reminded the group the Business Reference Sources Committee contacts vendors to improve products or to consider new products. We should let them know about any new products or improvements to products we would like to see.

Palgrave Dictionary Online.Attendees felt there should be a one-time subscription for a reference source. Palgrave offers a multi-year contract. They only add about two articles a year. Some libraries still get print instead. One library mentioned getting it in print and one year free online. PDO has some free online content.

Shelf Space vs. Online. Sometimes the cost of online sources can be bargained because shelf space is saved.

Global Financial Data is a new source for some libraries. Although GFD recently wanted patrons to have an account, they have now removed this restriction. It costs $10,000 annually regardless of institution size. For funding, libraries can position GFD as not just a business product but something history majors and others will also use. GFD is adding additional content such as real estate, price of sugar and price of slave comparisons. Sometimes just a part of GFD can be negotiated such as HFC, the derivatives hedge fund data. Global Financial Data is great for backfiles of macroeconomic numbers, easy to use, good for historians and generalists, not just business. Costs $10K/yr.

HeinOnline. See if your law school bought the text and analogies. JSTOR has analogies. HeinOnline: like JSTOR for law reviews. You law school may already have it.

Business Dynamics Statistics is offered free on U. S. Census site It used to be just summary data for public use. Government bodies require businesses to complete data on size and age and job creation and cuts. The BDS database captures this required data. County and Metro breakdowns are expected to be added to BDS in 2010. BDS is searchable by SIC codes. Business Dynamics Statistics: new database free from the Census Bureau

Government Information. Access to government information is more open with the current administration but it is important to keep pursing this with vendors.

StatUSA.STAT-USA can be difficult to work with. If you’re a federal depository library you are entitled to free access on limited workstations. Funding for StatUSA has been stopped at some institutions, so what are the alternatives? Several in the group have scaled back to this and their patrons haven’t missed it. Part of the information is free on government sites such as , which leads to U.S. Commercial Market Research Library The U.S. Consulate web page is another free source.

Real Estate. They give real estate prices by zip code. If you register, you can keep your searches, but some information is free without registering.

REIS is commercial. They have comps (not mortgages) for commercial and residential, but they only offer access to limited number of workstations and don't currently provide IP access.

Data Quick Their commercial real estate and residential information is available for computer work stations but not IP accessible. There is a price difference for geographic areas—major MSAs, smaller MSAs. Negotiations have been challenging when wanting access to just sections.

Microdata on Mortgages. The best is Haver Analytics with a 30,000,000 data set. This is what the Federal Reserve uses for studies. If you have a connection with the Federal Reserve, you might be able to obtain access. Corporate data is $350,000. The data is from services, not originators; and it is by bank, MSA at various levels. Lexis-Nexis actually includes it. It can be viewed by cities; and it gives race, bank loan, price by purchaser, etc.

  • Realty Trend for foreclosure information.
  • Urban Land Institute. ULI gives case studies on commercial real estate. Proactiveness is recommended when pursuing subscriptions with them. Cost is under $300.
  • Standard & Poors.Use Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for home resale values; historical prices for a number of MSAs. This is free on S&P website—includes all cities and deep histories. Addresses are not provided, it’s resale.
  • Real Estate Research Corp. Provides commercial real estate reports with data on different markets—sale, cap rates, market condition.
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data. Includes the value of mortgages, not of homes

FASB. FASB access will no longer be free for value-added properties. Commercial accounts have personalized features. The full version is $150 /year. Libraries can get access, not just accounting schools. It is not known if faculty and students can get accounts.

LibAnswers by LibGuide. is a question and answer service where you can create your own replies. Students can type in a question and the system takes them to an answer. Is anyone else using this? Emory already has it, and the University of Florida has three accounts already. The more on the system, the more information can be shared. You can get a free demo account. A free alternative to LibGuides was also mentioned-- Library a la Cartefrom the Oregon State University ( It allows you to create web pages and incorporate Web 2.0 features. You can create test sites for up to a year with it.

Public Library Issues. How are other public libraries facing the economic climate?

  • Less people are doing more so there is not time to do programming and work with resources such as Library a la Carte. Severe staff reductions.
  • One library recently underwent a change in their budgeting process to measurement outcome.
  • Libraries are not always seen as part of economic development.
  • A Pennsylvania public library gets funding from various areas—city, state, county—that must raise the money. They face 50% in cuts.
  • The Pennsylvania State Library is facing 50% cuts and could be phased out.
  • Temple U, a public institution, could lose $31,000,000 this year.
  • Oregon State U Library started a meeting with their Mayor and now meet every month.
  • There is a budget crisis in Chicago and Illinois state. The Governor is a strong supporter of libraries. Cuts are coming evenly across all government lines except fire and police.
  • There is a need to ally with state Library associations and use lobbying to bridge understanding of what we do—like state-wide database funding—and what it will mean to lose these services.
  • The Public Libraries program Public Libraries Economic Development held at ALA on Monday will discuss successes libraries have had. Good speakers. Some poster sessions will have information on what public libraries are doing and will provide bibliographies.
  • With budget cuts, will we be able to get what we need through ILL?
  • Public libraries refer some users to academic libraries for databases, and community members use academic libraries, too. Academic libraries refer alum to public libraries, and it was suggested they let students know early on that when they leave the university, the public library is where they can go for remote access to databases. Public and academic libraries need to support each other. It was suggested academic librarians contact librarians at public libraries; and since it is harder for public librarians to get away, try showing up early in the morning for their programs and network.
  • Public libraries need to market their business databases like they market their programming

Meeting was adjourned at 12:00. Notes provided by members of the BRASS Discussion Group Steering Committee.