Glossary of Terms in the Consortium Directory Online


Consortium – An organization, usually consisting of a number of member libraries, which may be of the same or different types, that have organised either formally or informally to undertake collective activities such as collective purchasing of online content or to share resources, training or a union catalogue.

Member – A participant in a consortium, although the active member is frequently a library, the parent institution is considered to be the member.

Vendor – A publisher, aggregator or other supplier which has licenced content or services to at least one consortium.

Ringgold ID – A unique number (Ringgold Identifier) for each organization, to unambiguously identify each institution, consortium or vendor.

Consortium Activity – Type of consortium, describing its basic structure for online content acquisition or other activities. Types of consortium classifications:

  • Cataloguing Consortium: An organisation where cataloguing and other technical services tasks may be accomplished centrally and possibly for a fee. Shared cataloguing practices and/or a joint online union catalogue, cataloguing may or may not tie in with Interlibrary Loan.
  • Interlibrary Loan Consortium: Systematic consortium-wide Interlibrary loan arrangements, with or without supporting a union catalogue.
  • Library Management System: Collaborative purchase of library management software and systems which may or may not be a shared system for the whole consortium. Often called an automation consortium. Often an automation consortium will have consortial licenses for other electronic resources and software, such as book reviews, readers advisory content, authentication software etc.
  • Licensing – Closed: A consortium which purchases content for all its members, providing all members with access to all licensed content. Procurement of information resources is not dependent on how the costs are apportioned, which is decided upon within the consortium, this is relayed to vendors in the cases where they are required to invoice institutions separately. While the closed consortium means that all members are included in a product purchase, it does not mean that new members cannot join the consortium. Sometimes libraries might organize around a single resource but may be open to licensing new content.
  • Licensing – Opt-In: A consortium which obtains offers from vendors or publishers for their content, members may then choose whether to opt-in to the purchase or not.
  • Resource Sharing Consortium: May include the following activities; non-systematic Interlibrary loan, a union catalogue, cooperative collection development, sharing of owned special collections, sharing staff time, joint storage of material.
  • Training: Consortia which provide library training and professional development programmes for all members and staff.

What is available in the PDF Profiles

  • Key Contacts: Where permissible under Data Protection Legislation, CDO provides the contact details of key personnel within the consortium, the director, manager or coordinator and/or those who negotiate with publishers and vendors to secure deals on online content. Where Ringgold is unable to provide contact information due to Data Protection, a link to that information on the consortium website is provided.
  • About: Basic information about the consortium and its background and operations.
  • Vendors/Products Licensed: Supplying vendors or their online products licensed by the consortium for all or select members. It is limited to a listing of the vendor providing products to the consortium, including multiple databases rather than a listing of each individual database as information is not always available at a granular level. It is an indication of a relationship that exists between the consortium and the providing vendor. Sometimes the vendor is providing pricing for members to opt-in.
    • National licenses: Online information products for which the consortium has obtained a national licence, e.g. everyone in that country with access to the internet can access the content.
    • Regional licenses: Online information products for which the consortium has obtained a regional, state-wide, or province-wide licence, e.g. everyone in the defined area with access to the internet can access the content.
    • Trials: Online information products that the consortium has trialled.
  • Members: The lists of members by type, band or sector.
  • History: Basic history of the consortium and its foundations.
  • Aims & Objectives: The consortium’s purpose and desired outcomes.
  • Structure: The operational structure of the consortium and its committees, working groups and boards.
  • Key Activities: The functions that the consortium undertakes, its services to other entities and projects.
  • Electronic Content Acquisition Policy: The types of content that the consortium is interested in licensing, any terms, criteria, pricing requirements and bases, model licenses, time-frames, negotiation process, and other standards expected by the consortium.
  • Financial Details: The sources of funding of the consortium.

Analysis section

Types of reports on vendors of consortia available:

  • Inclusive (All distinct clients): Returns a deduplicated list of all client consortia with a relationship with any of the selected vendors.
  • Unique Clients: Returns a list of all client consortia which only have a relationship with one of the selected vendors.
  • Prospects (requires vendor basis): Returns a list of all client consortia which do not have a relationship with the vendor selected as the basis but do have a relationship with the other selected vendors.
  • Common Clients (requires vendor basis): Returns a list of all client consortia which have a relationship with the vendor selected as the basis and any of the other selected vendors.



Need more help? If you require clarification on any aspects of using our products and services please do not hesitate to contact us. In addition, extra training can be provided online or in person.

Email your enquiries to, or Skype us at ‘ringgoldinc’