Monday, March 05, 2007

Library continues to be starved of resources

In what is now an annual tradition, the library announces its plans to cut more periodical subscriptions and reduce acquisitions.

The budget for acquistions did not increase. Because of increasing costs of subscriptions, $125,000 worth of reductions must take place. They are being forced to cut, cut, cut.

Where is the library in all of this talk about the growth initiative? Why is the library being starved when their resources are at the core of what we stand for?

It is not worth the effort to even check to see if our library has any recent new titles or significant periodicals. They can't afford it. Off to Universal Borrowing I go, which reflects terribly on our academic priorities. Why should resources be instantly available to students here? Instead, send them off to wikipedia. . .

Here is the memo:

Good Afternoon,

Below is the text of a memo that is being sent today to deans, department chairs and departmental or college Library representatives. Let me emphasize one point of the memo. Ron Hardy and I really need the input of colleges and departments on the proposed cancellations in light of current and future curricular trends, accreditation needs and other relevant information known to your department or college. Ron and I will be happy to talk to colleges, departments, the faculty senate or other groups about these issues. Please let Ron or I know if you have any questions.


Periodical Review 2007
Patrick Wilkinson, Director of Polk Library

The goals of Polk Library’s Periodical Review 2007 are twofold:
¨ to discontinue a sufficient number of less-needed print journal titles to stay within the library’s material budget for 2007/08
¨ to expand if possible the number of high-quality, peer-reviewed journals available online for student and faculty research.

To meet these goals, the Library needs to evaluate its current collection and restructure its budget. The staff of Polk Library requests your help and asks for your response no later than April 9, 2007.

What Your College or Department Needs to Do By April 9

Attached is a list of the print journal subscriptions currently supporting your college or department curriculum. This list has an “X” next to titles proposed for cancellation and gives the journal’s cost, percent assigned to your department, total use observed from three studies, and full-text availability. The journals proposed for cancellation generally had low comparative use, high overall cost, a high cost per use ratio, or full-text available online.

Your department or college is specifically requested to respond to the proposed cancellations in light of current and future curricular trends, accreditation needs and other relevant information known to your department or college. To assist in your evaluation, we have attached a list of relevant titles with full text currently available online.

In addition to commenting on proposed cancellations, you may recommend the acquisition of new journal titles or online options. Please note that any new titles added would need to be done in the context of an overall reduction in the number of titles that the library receives.

All comments on the proposed cancellations or requests to add a new title must come officially from the department chair. In Business Administration, Education and Human Services, and Nursing, the library asks that the comments come officially from the chair of the college library committee or dean whichever is most appropriate for the college. These official responses should be sent to Ron Hardy, Polk Library’s Head of Information Resources, no later than April 9, 2007.

Final decisions for cancellations and new subscriptions will rest with Polk Library. If a department or college does not respond by April 9, Polk Library will assume that the titles proposed for cancellation can be cancelled without further departmental or college comment.

During this process, Ron Hardy and I are happy to talk with colleges, departments, the Faculty Senate and individual faculty about the Periodical Review 2007 in general or about specific titles. Please feel free to contact us.


The challenges that the library’s materials budget faces are clear. Polk Library’s total materials budget was $944,978 in 2001/02 and is $888,227 for 2006/07. This represents a decline in real dollars of $56,751. In addition, based on a conservative estimate of price increases of 6% a year, the purchasing power of our materials budget has declined approximately $330,000 since 2001.

In response to these challenges, the staff of the library has worked with faculty on how best to allocate its funds to provide educational and research material. Working together, we have already cancelled less-needed print journals, reference materials, online databases and microforms. We have reduced the amount of content that the library provides in multiple formats.

To minimize the impact of the necessary cancellations of print resources, Polk Library has expanded the number of periodical and journal titles available online to 15,420. It established the Ingenta Table of Contents service that covers over 30,000 publications. This service allows you to get the current table of contents of important journals or trade publications e-mailed to you, often before they physically arrive in libraries. Now, journal articles from other libraries are routinely delivered to your computer desktop in 3 to 5 days. If necessary, the library will purchase an article and deliver it to your desktop in less than 48 hours. In addition to Interlibrary Loan for books and videos, Universal Borrowing allows you to directly checkout materials from other UW libraries.

The Library would now like to take advantage of some of the new opportunities to expand the number of high-quality, peer-reviewed journals online. For example, the library currently subscribes to Academic Search Elite. This online service provides access to 1,500 full-text, peer-reviewed journals and is heavily used. If the library can restructure its budgets in this periodical review, it could upgrade this service to provide double or triple this number of peer-reviewed journals covering a wide range of academic disciplines. The trend is for students and faculty to look for information online; in 2005/06, there were approximately 800,000 uses of the library’s online databases.

Based on the library’s best budget projections for 2007/08, the library faces a shortfall of over $125,000 in its collection budgets. This projection assumes a flat budget and a 6% to 12% increase in the cost of journals, databases, etc. The library will need to make decisions by mid-May so the changes can be implemented for 2007/08.

Guidelines for Decisions

After April 9, Polk Library will review comments and make final cancellation and addition decisions using the following guidelines. All ten guidelines below will be used for cancellation decisions. The last eight guidelines will be used for addition decisions.

· The publication has received low use in the use studies.
· The publication has a high cost per use.
· The publication is indexed in an index owned or licensed by the library.
· The publication fills an information need not covered by other titles.
· The publication is expected to support student research.
· The publication directly supports the department’s curriculum.
· The publication is available from the library online in full text or full image. See for a list of journals that are available online.
· The publication is reasonably priced, and its publisher does not have a history of inordinate annual price increases.
· The publication is owned by another library within UW System.
· The publication is available through interlibrary loan or document delivery.

Final Decisions

Final decisions will be communicated to colleges and departments by mid-May. Cancellation decisions must be made in May so that savings will occur in the 2007/08 fiscal year.

Thank you for your cooperation and input. And I would like to repeat that Ron Hardy and I would be happy to talk with you or attend a meeting. Please feel free to contact us.

Pat Wilkinson Ron Hardy
wilkinso or 2147 hardyr or 2097


Anonymous said...

I would just like to mention that Ronald K. Hardy is my "homeboy".

Go Ron!!!


-your secret admirer

Ronald Kane Hardy said...

My last comment vanished, let me try again.

If I may, please allow me to clarify one point:

The library's acquisitions/periodicals budget is not getting cut by $125,000.

That is the amount that we are projected to be overbudget in 07/08 due to the 12%-14% annual increase in the cost of our journal subscriptions, and the 3%-10% annual increase in the cost of databases and other resources.

The library's budget for materials has remained flat, or seen small cuts, but the cost of information resources rises at a rate beyond normal inflation levels.

If you have $500,000 in journal subscriptions this year, you can expect them to cost $550,000 to $570,000 next year, while the budget remains the same.

Quite the dilemma!