On February 27, senior library professionals from eight institutions involved in the provision of library and information services met at the National Library Building to discuss a joint approach to the acquisition of international electronic databases. These databases are used for research and reference purposes by students at all levels.
While addressing representatives from the University of the West Indies; the University of Trinidad and Tobago; COSTAAT; the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago; the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies; the Institute of Marine Affairs; the University of the Southern Caribbean; the Library Association of Trinidad and Tobago and Nalis, Neil Parsanlal, Chairman of the Board of Nalis said that it was about time the institutions came together to treat with the common challenge faced by all with respect to the funding of databases to meet the needs of their audiences and to ensure that the country gets value for money from international vendors. He said that with less funding, institutions, including NALIS, had to reduce their subscriptions, leaving researchers with limited options.
The meeting explored the possibility of a consortia – a strategic alliance aimed at optimising the utilisation of funds and cost sharing. A subcommittee was assigned the task to review the extensive list of databases subscribed to by each institution for their specific clientele, investigate multidisciplinary packages which will provide greater access to a wider collection of databases and develop the terms and reference for the consortia arrangement. The subcommittee is to present its report in three weeks.