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Governance Minutes Archive

November 7, 1990

  These minutes were approved as submitted at the ULC meeting on

  December 5, 1990.

 

                  UNIVERSITY LIBRARY COMMITTEE MINUTES

                            November 7, 1990

 

 

  PRESENT:

  John Bowen, Vet Med                     Kara Goldberg, SGA

  Carol Burch-Brown, Provost's Office     Arthur Keown, Business

  Norman Dodl, Education                  Bon Richardson, for Arts & Sci.

  Holly Ferguson, CSAC                    J. D. Stahl, Faculty Senate

  Paul Gherman, Library                   Rod Young, Agri. & Life Sci.

 

  GUESTS:

  Bill Kuster, SGA                        John Straw, Library

  Paul Metz, Library

 

  ABSENT:

  Edward Fox, Arts & Sciences             Michael Vorster, Engineering

  Ken McCleary, Human Resources           Karen Watson, GSA

  J. Scott Poole, Architecture

 

  MEETING SUMMARY:

 

  The meeting was called to order at 4:04 p.m., and the minutes of

  the October meeting were approved as submitted. After a brief

  report from the Director, the rest of the meeting was devoted to

  Paul Metz's presentation on the Serials Review Project. The

  minutes of this presentation are fairly long and detailed owing to

  the importance of the subject and the need for information sharing.

 

  REPORTS:

 

      I.  LIBRARY ANNOUNCEMENTS (P. Gherman):

 

          A.   The CD-ROM network installed in the second floor

               reference area links a number of CD-ROM databases.

               Within a few weeks, the library plans to conduct a

               trial of putting this network on the CBX, so that

               faculty will be able to access the databases from

               around campus. Some problems are still being worked

               out, such as how to queue the dial-ins, if too many

               occur at once, therefore, it will truly be an

               experiment to see if it can be made to work.

 

          B.   The library has received word that it will be a

               participant, with the National Agriculture Library,

               North Carolina State and about a dozen other land-grant

               institutions, to experiment in transmitting

               full-text bitmap documents over the internet.  This

               has been successfully tried between NAL and NC State.

               Now the experiment will test whether it is feasible to

               transmit scanned documents back and forth over the

               internet. The long-term advantage will be the ability

               to transmit documents directly to faculty work

               stations rather than to fax machines. This ultimate

               result is still a long way from reality.

 

          C.   VTLS Word Search capability is still being tested.

               The library is awaiting delivery and installation of a

               greater amount of storage for the library's computer.

               Once that is done, the library will bring up word

               searching for use by the librarians, who will test the

               impact of word searching on the system.

 

  NEW BUSINESS:

 

     II.  REPORT ON THE SERIALS REVIEW PROJECT (P. Metz):

 

          Paul Metz's presentation to the University Library Committee

          is the first step in the Serials Review Project which will

          be on-going during this academic year. The project involves

          the comprehensive review of the library's serial holdings

          preparatory to necessary cancellations. The library plans

          to involve faculty in the process as much as possible, to

          communicate what is being done, why it is being done, and to

          solicit input from the faculty. For faculty input to have

          real value there are certain things they need to know. This

          presentation begins the process of disseminating the

          information the faculty will need to understand and is

          divided into four general areas: why we have to conduct the

          review and cancellation project; the philosophical

          guidelines for the project; how the library proposes to

          proceed; and finally, how the committee can help. Dr. Metz

          used a series of overhead transparencies to illustrate his

          presentation (see attached-ALL TABLES & FIGURES REFERRED TO

          WILL BE FOUND AT THE END OF THE MINUTES)

 

          The main problem the library faces is serials inflation.

          Serials or continuations refer mainly to journals, but also

          to proceedings, annuals, directories, reference sets, and

          monographic standing orders (series of monographs published

          irregularly).  The worst inflation is occurring in

          scientific serials published in Europe. Fundamentally, the

          problem is an increasingly monopolistic situation; every

          journal, by its nature, is unique, and journal publishing is

          increasingly centralized. (See Table 1 for price increases

          in sample journal titles, and Table 2 for the frequency

          distribution of expensive journals. The second table

          illustrates journals subscribed to by this library; these

          are yearly subscription prices.)

 

          This inflation is devastating the library materials budget.

          (See Table 3 for the 6-year trend in the materials budget.)

          Particularly disquieting is the effect on the balance

          between serials purchases and firm order purchases which the

          library tries to maintain (firm order referring to any

          purchase made on a one time basis). Serials account for

          about 70% of the materials budget and binding, approval

          plans, and memberships, etc., account for about 10%, leaving

          just 20% for firm orders, where, of course, inflation has

          also occurred. (See Table 4, the 6-year trend in the

          library's purchasing power.)  Concurrently with this

          inflation, in the last 10 or 15 years, the library's share

          of the university budget has dropped from about 3 1/2% to

          about 2 1/2%. In this same time span, whole new formats

          have been developed. A decade ago the library didn't have

          Dow Jones, Westlaw, PschLit or ERIC on CD-ROM, video

          cassettes or music on CDs. And also the decade has seen

          many new and excellent journals begin publication. In 1978

          there were 60,000 journals; last year there were 133,000

          journals published. The library is committed to maintaining

          the budgetary flexibility necessary to order the truly

          outstanding new journals.

 

          Because of the state's current fiscal situation, the library

          has lost the money it had expected to receive during the

          second year of the biennium from new initiative funding.

          Table 5 illustrates the price increases during 1990/91 from

          the three largest European science publishers, and Table 6

          illustrates the inflation which is anticipated by Faxon, our

          major vendor. These increases are for the current year, and

          the library can cover these from the new initiative money

          which the library did receive for the first year of the

          biennium. The problem will occur next year. We already

          know the budget will be flat, at best, and that anticipated

          inflation will cost somewhere between an additional $200,00

          to $400,00. During the past decade of inflation the library

          has made cuts in the number of monographs purchased because

          firm orders have received a diminishing share of the

          materials budget. If next year's necessary cuts all came

          out of books the library would have experienced a 60% drop

          in books orders since 1983-84. For every 5 books purchased

          in 1983-84, the library would be buying only 2 next year.

          This cannot continue, and explains why the library must now

          make plans to cancel serials.

 

          Figure 1 lists the main goals and philosophical guidelines

          to which the library will adhere in arriving at the

          necessary cancellations (see attached). Cutting operating

          funds before materials is a firm goal, but obviously can be

          carried only so far. ARL statistics show this library

          already near the top in percentage of library budget spent

          for materials, so there is little fat remaining in the

          operations budget. The library intends to preserve book

          purchasing and has gone as far as it can in reducing the

          firm order share of the materials budget. Twenty-nine

          percent of all use of the collection is circulation (books),

          and there is a surprisingly large use of monographs in-house

          as well. In addition, books are important in cross-

          disciplinary use. The library intends to maintain the

          budgetary flexibility to order the very best new journals.

          Three main criteria will be used to arrive at the cuts. 1)

          Scope: there are titles that are popular, but that don't

          really support university programs; those will have to be

          cut. 2) Price: decisions to buy journals are almost always

          made on the quality of the journal, not its price, but now

          there will be cases where some strong but overpriced

          journals will have to be cut. The library will try to

          convert some of these subscriptions to film, if possible. 3)

          Use: the library will cancel what is not used. The staff

          conducted a study to document the use of current journals

          last spring, and is currently conducting a study of the use

          of bound journals in order to provide adequate statistics.

          Use data alone will not drive the project, but they will

          inform it.

 

          The librarians will prepare lists for each department of

          journals and other continuations proposed for cancellation.

          These will be much longer lists than even the worst-case

          scenario of what would actually be cut. The reason for this

          is to give the faculty some choice. This first list will be

          department specific, and will be given to each department's

          library representative to circulate to all department

          faculty. Meanwhile, librarians will be preparing a general

          list of suggested cuts in newspapers, back-up copies,

          reference room source books, etc. The departmental lists,

          with faculty comments, will come back into the library,

          where the bibliographers will then compare and adjudicate,

          before returning the composite list and the general list to

          all departments for further comment and for faculty to check

          for cross-disciplinary needs. Ultimately, the library is

          trying to avoid a quota-based kind of mentality in arriving

          at these cuts.

 

          To reiterate, the list will identify the serials that may be

          canceled. It will be a longer-than-necessary list, not only

          to allow faculty a choice, but also so that should the

          following year again be a flat budget year it will not be

          necessary to repeat the entire exercise.

 

          Figure 2 shows the tentative time schedule for this project.

          Figure 3 shows ways in which the faculty can help. If the

          library had not had a decreasing share of the university

          budget in the last decade, it would not be faced with the

          problem in this magnitude. However, the fault also lies

          with journal publishers, some of whom are guilty of price

          gouging. Further, it is very important that the faculty

          understand why the library is determined to protect the book

          side of the materials budget from a further loss. The

          necessity for serials cancellations is a painful, complex,

          and easily misunderstood issue. Paul Metz, Paul Gherman,

          and the bibliographers are all available to answer questions

          or help in any way they can to inform the teaching faculty

          and to listen to faculty concerns and comments.

 

  The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

 

                                 TABLE 1

                 Price Increases, Sample Journal Titles

 

  Title                                 1981      1987      Current

 

  Behavioral Brain Research             $85       $468      $1,044

  Jour. of Financial Economics           74        386         417

  Engr. Fracture Mechanics              183        713       1,660

  Linear Algebra & its Applications     342        923       1,275

  Jour. of Multivariate Analysis         81        246         400

  Nutrition Research                     75        215         423

 

 

                                 TABLE 2

            Highly Expensive Journals, Frequency Distribution

 

          Number of Journals                 Price Range

                5                            $5,000+

                9                            $3,000-4,999

               12                            $2,000-2,999

               92                            $1,000-1,999

 

  NOTES:  1.   Includes  Faxon  titles  only;  am  trying  to   obtain

               comparable data for our other subscription agents.

          2.   Excludes indexes and abstracts; true journals only.

          3.   Several  of   the  titles   over  $5,000  are   journal

               packages,   usually   including  3-4   closely  related

               journals.

 

                                 TABLE 3

               Six Year Trend in Library Materials Budget

 

                                          1983-84        1989-90

  Subscriptions & Standing Orders       $1,393,500     $2,365,000

      %age Change                                 +69.7%

  Firm Orders                             $749,700       $722,400

      %age Change                                  -3.6%

  Materials Total                       $2,333,900       $3,390,500

      %age Change                                 +45.3%

  Firm Order as %age of Materials          32.1%          21.3%

 

                                 TABLE 4

         Library's Monographic Purchasing Power, Six Year Trend

 

  Fiscal Year  Firm Order Expend.  Unadj. %age    Inflation  Real Loss

  1983-84       $749,700

                                       3.6%         39.7%      31.0%

  1989-90       $722,400

 

 

 

                                 TABLE 5

       Mean Journal Price Increases 1990 to 1991, for Key European

                    Publishers (LSU subscription list)

 

          Publisher                Increase

 

          Elsevier                   35%

          Pergamon                   27%

          Springer-Verlag            26%

 

 

                                 TABLE 6

          Journal Inflation, Va Tech Subscriptions with Faxon,

                           1989/90 to 1990/91

 

          Domestic                   12%

          Foreign                    23%

          Weighted Average           17.5%

  NOTE:  Subscriptions  are 1/3  foreign  in  titles, 1/2  foreign  in

  dollars.

 

 

                                FIGURE 1.

                   Goals and Philosophical Guidelines

 

  *  Cut operating funds first, materials last

  *  Preserve book purchasing

  *  Preserve the ability to buy the very best new journals

  *  Cut duplicate titles first

  *  Cut ephemera first

  *  Base cuts on:

          Scope - cancel materials not supporting key university

                  missions

          Price  -  it  will  be  necessary  to  cancel  a  number  of

                    reputable, used, but overpriced journals

          Use - cancel serial titles which are not used

  *  Work closely with and listen to the faculty

  *  Propose many more candidates than will be cut

  *  Identify titles for future cancellation, if necessary

  *  Cancellations represent library's  best assessment of university-

     wide needs and  are not based  on fixed  percentage of each  fund

     code

 

 

                                FIGURE 2

                         Anticipated Time Table

 

  Dec 30       Use data compiled

  Feb  8       Department Lists sent to liaisons for review

  Mar  1       Library internal review completes General List -

                 newspapers, reference sets, duplicates

  Mar 15       Departments conclude review of Departmental Lists

  Apr  5       Master List (all Department Lists and General List)

                 back out to departments

  May  3       Departments respond

  May 31       Cancellation list completed

 

 

                                FIGURE 3

                           How You Can Help Us

 

  *  Obviously, any support in reversing the downward trend in %age of

     university budget would help. Richmond and Burruss must

     understand our woes.

 

  *  But also help colleagues understand that no funding source would

     reasonably be asked to keep up with this level of inflation.

 

  *  Help colleagues understand that we are digging our heels in on

     books because the violence we've already done is measurable and

     very harmful.

 

  *  Share information you have.

 

  *  Tell your colleagues that this is a complex problem which the

     grapevine will easily misconstrue. Refer them to us and urge

     them to call us. We'll be available.

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