25 July 2018 Blogs, Academic, Community College, Corporate, Government, K-12, Public, Librarian

New Research Dispels Myths About Demand-Driven Acquisition

Nearly 450 librarians from around the world shared information with us about how they acquire books. What they said might surprise you.

Nearly 450 librarians from around the world shared information with us about how they acquire books. What they said might surprise you.

By Alison Roth

Demand-driven acquisition (DDA) gives libraries the power to make acquisitions that are triggered by patron usage and demand. The often-controversial model has been around for well over a decade, but has been in the spotlight more frequently lately as libraries look for different ways to build their book collections and save money.

In late 2017 and early 2018, ProQuest conducted a global survey of librarians to get their insights on DDA and other acquisition models for print and ebooks. The data was so compelling – for example, 92% of librarians said that DDA is the model their library uses most – that we decided to turn the data into a whitepaper.

“Using DDA allows us to understand patron needs more directly, which means we are spending our funds on content that better fills their needs,” said Elizabeth Mengel from the Johns Hopkins University Library, one of the survey respondents. “That is ultimately what is important.”

A few additional highlights from the whitepaper:

    93 percent of librarians said their library uses multiple acquisition models to obtain books. That’s a major increase from a 2016 ProQuest study, where only 70 percent used multiple acquisition models. As one librarian said: “the different models of acquisition are like pillars for our collection, so I can’t see removing one as the whole thing could fall down.”
    Reasons that libraries turn to DDA include “just-in-time” access for patrons, increasing the relevance of their collections, and providing a better method of evaluation before purchase. For example, the La Trobe University Library in Australia has seen 100 percent usage of DDA-acquired content, versus 20 percent of librarian-acquired content.
    Not all libraries use DDA – and those who don’t cite reasons like lack of budget, lack of staff time and expertise, and lack of need. But some of these libraries are considering adding DDA to their collection development strategy.
    DDA is used by some libraries to build small and targeted collections that meet the needs of specific populations. One university added a DDA plan just for ebooks in health sciences, specifically for remote students who do not live near campus.

Get the full story on DDA by downloading the whitepaper, Why DDA is Here to Stay: An Analysis of the Demand-Driven Acquisition Model for Libraries.


Alison Roth is the lead business blogger at ProQuest. A former journalist, she enjoys AP style, direct quotes and a good Oxford Comma debate. She was inspired to become a writer many years ago by Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry, and is still influenced by his style to this day. You can follow Alison on Instagram at @five_speed