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Academic libraries typically renew their serials subscriptions (Individual print and/or online titles) annually by comparing prices, availability and service terms proposed by different subscription agents. In Singapore (and possibly other countries in the region), we have only up to 3 (active and competing) subscription agents to choose from. At Singapore Management University (SMU), the library maintains about 500 serials titles. The “legacy” practice had been to split the order between the two of larger agents and designate a staff each to take charge of related operational matters. This session will present a different approach in the serials renewal cycle which we undertook since 2013 that resulted in the development of criteria to evaluate agent performance and; the development of Service Level Agreements between the agents and the library. The presentation will also discuss how the change brought about savings, in terms of time and money, allowing us to improve service levels and focus more resources on the provision of other value-add services which benefit our users.

Learning objectives:

  • Development and use of evaluation criteria to measure subscription agent performance
  • Development and use of Service Level Agreements (SLA) between agent and library
  • How the process of developing an SLA clarified the roles and responsibilities of agent and library in the delivery of information services


Serials renewal, Subscription agent, Academic libraries, Service Level Agreement (SLA), Performance Measurement


Collection Development and Management


Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference, 23-25 February 2015

City or Country

Austin, TX, USA

Embargo Period