Deciphering Vendor Contracts : A Closer Look at the Jargon

The CALL Relations with Information Vendors and Continuing Education Committees presented a Brown Bag Lunch at John Marshall Law School on October 10, 2012. As Associate Director for Access & Organization at the John Marshall Law School, Ramsey Donnell has reviewed countless contracts, looking out for the library’s best interest. In an interesting and informative one hour session, Mr. Donnell shared some of his insights with librarians from CALL.

When negotiating contracts with vendors you must first and foremost consider how your library will use the service or product. Some of the things you need  to pay special attention to include Authorized Users (how many people can use it, and who are they), Access (IP authentication or signing in with passwords), Limitations on Use (academic, commercial, administrative), Confidentiality, and Term and Termination. Don’t agree to anything you can’t, or won’t, adhere to; and make sure that you’re able to get what you need.

By Sara Baseggio, Technical Services Librarian, Sidley Austin, LLP,

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