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It’s 2017, and library patrons still have limited ways to access the text of articles behind pay walls. The current mix of subscriptions, interlibrary loan or document delivery, and pay per view is unsustainable for endangered library budgets, and thus is unsustainable for publishers. It’s time to begin leveraging the tools we use for e-books-- discovery services, demand-driven acquisition (DDA), and perpetual purchase-- and apply them to articles. After all, the distinction between a monograph and a serial is fluid. Books in series, book-length articles, article-length books, and special issues sold as monographs illustrate the folly of treating them as inherently different creatures.

This article presents our argument in favor of DDA for serial content, and also reports the results of related surveys we conducted.


First published in Against the Grain, Feb. 2017, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 35-39, 43.

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Against the Grain