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Publisher Information Professionals relationship

Managing Relationships 101: Publisher-Vendor-Library Relationships and the rapidly changing workplace


This panel will provide an overview of current best practices and case studies for managing publisher- vendor- library relations in a rapidly evolving environment, as well as a forum for discussing issues pertinent to the management of the publisher-vendor-librarian relationship in the Middle East.


Good relationships between publishers, vendors, and librarians are essential for providing effective service and good products to library users. But as in any relationship, things can get very complicated. Our distinguished panelists bring their perspectives and experiences negotiating the publisher-vendor-library relationships and explore what initiatives help to promote the kind of collaborations and best practices that can help us move our industry forward together. We will begin with a discussion of the evolving nature of publisher-vendor-library relationships in our ever-changing workplaces with a look at a recent case study of a major acquisition and discuss the role that relationship management played. Panelists will then explore the role of the Library Board in managing relationships in the Middle East with representatives from publishers and libraries asking how librarians and publishers both can benefit from participating on a library board. The session will wrap up with a discussion of how the SLA can help to build positive relationships with these three constituencies who often appear to have competing goals.

Session Chair:

Ellen Gibson

Ellen Gibson is the Marketing Manager for Reference in the books division of the University of Chicago Press. In this role she is responsible for product development and marketing initiatives for the Chicago Manual of Style Online and Scientific Style and Format Online. She was co-chair of the American Library Association’s Publisher-Vendor-Library Relations Committee from 2011-2013.


Allan Groen

Allan Groen is Associate Director for Public Services at the Qatar National Library. In this role he is responsible for all aspects of planning and operations for Public Services and for vendor price negotiations regarding electronic resources. Allan received his MLS from the University of Alberta.

Vanessa Middleton

Head Librarian
Petroleum institute, AbuDhabi, UAE

Vanessa Middleton: currently serves as The Head Librarian of Petroleum Institute Libraries in The United Arab Emirates. She earned her undergraduate degree in accounting from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. She received her Master of Library and Information Science degree from the Wayne State University, USA. Vanessa has over 15 years of experience working in academic, public and special libraries including Wayne State University, Ford Motor Company, Detroit and Kalamazoo Public Libraries. Before joining Petroleum Institute, she was The Research & Instructor Coordinator at The American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. She has served as lecturer at American University in the Emirates’ Library & Information Science. Her research interests include comparative international librarianship, information literacy and online learning communities. She is a member of the Association of College and Research Libraries, Gulf Information Literacy Network Steering Committee. Vanessa is enthusiastic about empowering students in emerging nations to become 21st century engineers.

Zoë Loveland

Zoë Loveland is Director of Segment Planning EMEA LA for ProQuest where she has been for the last 9 years. She is responsible establishing regional academic advisory boards and providing guidance on regional academic and library market trends to ProQuest. Zoë has worked for ProQuest for 9 years and during that time has managed strategic marketing teams for ProQuest’s large aggregated and digital collections databases. She is interested in library advocacy and has co-written and presented a paper on “Making Metrics Meaningful: Measuring the Usage of Online Resources in the Humanities” for Insights and the UKSG conference in 2013. Zoë holds a degree in English and American Literature from The University of Warwick.

Affra Alshamsi

Affra is doing her PhD at Sheffield University, at the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). She serves as the Electronic Medical Library Manager, and Medical Libraries Director, Directorate of Planning Affairs- Ministry of Health, Oman since, 2013. She worked at Royal Hospital Central Medical Library as a library manager, from 2005 to 2012, where she established the first and largest electronic medical library in the country. She was also the e-library and resources manager at the Oman Medical Speciality Board (OMSB) Medical Information Centre, from March 2011 to April 2014, where she founded and managed the OMSB Electronic Medical Resources Consortia, which was the first electronic resource consortium in the country. She has also worked as a member of the National Virtual Science Library Project Steering Committee, and also the Negotiation Committee, from 2011 to 2013. She is part of Springer’s Library Advisory Board, Middle East and North Africa, 2008 –Present.

Affra received her Master of Information Management from the University of Sheffield, she holds a Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Medical Librarianship from the Sultan Qaboos University, her Bachelor of Chemistry from United Arab Emirates University and she was also awarded a certificate by Yale University for participating in their International Associates Program, 2009, where she identified approximately $60,000 in medical library cost savings for 2010.

Affra is very active in professional organizations, has worked with several publishers and provided them with insight and advice on products, sales schemes, pricing modules and other related aspects.

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