Haere Mai, Welcome to EPIC.
A purchasing consortium which enables access to quality databases in NZ libraries

About EPIC

Introduction to Electronic Purchasing in Collaboration (EPIC) including what it does, its core strategies and who belongs to EPIC.

What is Electronic Purchasing in Collaboration (EPIC)?

Electronic Purchasing in Collaboration (EPIC) is a consortium of libraries that license electronic resources to be used in New Zealand libraries.

What does Electronic Purchasing in Collaboration (EPIC) do?

EPIC’s vision is to provide access to high-quality electronic information for all New Zealanders.

EPIC is a New Zealand initiative that provides access to electronic resources (e-resources) through a consortium of member libraries.

The initiative enables member libraries to increase their purchasing power through collaborative purchasing. EPIC provides libraries with the advocacy and support to work with global information providers.

EPIC’s core strategies are to:

  • procure sets of quality e-resources for all-of-country access and/or self selecting groups of libraries
  • use New Zealand libraries across all sectors as the delivery agents 
  • ensure fair and affordable subscription cost models
  • fund operations through a subscriptions component and host support from the Department of Internal Affairs acting through the National Library of New Zealand as the lead agency
  • facilitate collaboration, within the consortium and with other agencies, to achieve affordable solutions to e-resource management
  • adopt a partnering approach with e-resource providers.

EPIC acts to:

  • enable collaborative and flexible procurement options for libraries
  • provide a single point of billing, reducing costs for vendors and libraries
  • support libraries to effectively access and use e-resources
  • assist libraries to interpret and promote e-resources.

Who belongs to EPIC?

EPIC has over 130 members drawn from all library sectors. The Ministry of Education also funds access for all New Zealand schools to a range of subscriptions through EPIC. To be eligible for EPIC membership, organisations must be based in New Zealand and provide a library/information service.

What is the background of EPIC?

In 2002, a National Library survey showed New Zealand libraries were interested in forming a self-funded consortium for the purchase of electronic content. Two multi-sector working groups were set up, and made recommendations on a possible consortium structure, funding arrangements and content.

A proof of concept project was started in 2003. The initial focus was on a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to identify and select possible vendors and products. Key principles emphasised were:

  • collaboration in the national interest
  • a model with the potential to include any New Zealand library
  • expanded access to e-resources for all users
  • a financially self-sustaining consortium after set-up
  • a partnering approach with e-resource providers.

The outcome of the RFP was a proposed all-of-country deal, meaning every person in New Zealand could access the resources through a consortium member library. The deal was put to libraries in November 2003 and commitment was gained to form the consortium, now known as EPIC.

Page last updated: 1 April 2015.