Patron Driven Acquisitions

What is it?

Library users find and identify desired books and/or journal articles before the library purchases them. The library pays only for what its patrons use. Cowles Library has experimented with several of these access models, sometimes called Demand Driven Acquisitions (DDA) or Evidence-Based Acquisitions (EBA), and at any given time is using one or more of them to supplement our ongoing collection development.


PDA allows the library to spend money on materials that Drake faculty/students want at their point of need, which ensures that materials we purchase are actually used. This model more effectively uses the library’s acquisitions budget and allows for potentially greater depth and breadth of resource acquisitions.

How It Works – General

The library loads thousands of records for potentially curriculum-relevant titles into SuperSearch for patrons to discover. For library users, finding PDA titles in SuperSearch is exactly the same as finding titles the library has already purchased.

How It Works – E-books

When Drake patrons view or download an e-book they discover in the catalog, the library either pays for a short-term loan or purchases the e-book depending on how many times it has been used previously. Purchase is triggered after actual uses (use trigger varies by vendor).

How It Works – Journal Articles

In many cases it makes more financial sense for the library to purchase individual journal articles rather than pay for a full subscription. This is called document delivery; it is a well-established service already in place and available to Drake faculty, staff and students. The steps are:

  1. Find an article or citation in a database where no full-text is available.
    1. If a “Check for Full Text @ Drake” link is displayed, use it to search for a full-text match in our collections.
    2. If no “Check for Full Text @ Drake” link is displayed, search the library’s “Find Journals” list to see if we subscribe to the journal.
  2. If neither of the above produce a full-text match, fill out an Interlibrary Loan form with the citation information. The library will acquire the article for you and email you when it is ready for you to view.
  3. If the user finds a listing for a journal that says “Access Via Get It Now”, this article is available via the document delivery service. The article is delivered to the requester’s e-mail address, usually within a few hours. View a demonstration.