Library Collections News - Updated April 26, 2019

Collections News provides general information and announcements about the status of library collections.  Changes in policy, levels of funding and approaches to building library collections will be reported here.   For more information about anything posted here, contact either the subject-specialist librarian for your discipline or the Libraries’ Associate Dean for Research Services, Mark Watson.  If you wish to request a purchase for the UO collections, please use this link.   Thanks!

Collection Reductions to be taken in FY 2020

In response to the University's need to reduce its annual operating budget, here is a memo from Dean Adriene Lim describing FY 20 reductions to the Libraries' base acquisitions budget.

No Collection Reductions to be taken in FY 2019!

Reductions to the collection's budget have been required for several years as available funds have not kept up with inflationary costs.   For FY 19, UO central administration stepped up in a big way to help the library address the problem.   A significant increase of $250,000 in recurring collections-related funding that begins this fiscal year will help the library provide high-quality scholarly and creative content to meet the information needs of UO faculty and students.  This is an amazing demonstration of support in this time of fiscal scarcity and will strengthen the Libraries' commitment to align programs, services, and expenditures with the University’s priorities in mind in order to use these dollars as effectively as possible.

Is it time for the "Big Deal" to go?

Over the year, the UO Libraries has purchased a number of large journal collections from publishers like Cambridge, Sage and Elsevier, trading flexibility for a huge increase in the amount of available content and stable pricing increases.   In times when collection funds are adequate to sustaining subscriptions, these packages or "big deals" as they called provide both highly and lesser used content for a price that is attractive compared to the cost of individual subscriptions.   When collection funds are more scarce, and inflationary pressures demand reductions, long term packages are less advantageous because the dollars spent are locked up and the lesser used content cannot be trimmed in lieu of preserving high priority titles.   Three consecutive fiscal years of collection reductions--2018, 2017 and 2016--have greatly reduced the number of titles that can be cancelled outside of these large deals, and, collection managers within the library believe the time has come to re-evaluate the UO's participation in purchases of this type.   For more information about Big Deals, please refer to these articles:  Is the Big Deal Dying? and Is it Such a Big Deal?  

This fall, Collection Managers and the rest of the subject specialists will be assessing the usage and costs of packages from Taylor & Francis, Cambridge and Sage.   The group expects to identify many lower use titles that the library will want to drop in favor subscribing to higher use titles.  In each case, the analysis will focus on comparing the cost of subscription to the cost of interlibrary loan (ILL).   The technology that lies behind resource sharing and document delivery has greatly improved over the years and offers a viable and relatively fast option for obtaining content.

"Just in Case" to "Just in Time":

In order to stretch limited funds as far as possible and to ensure budgetary flexibility in the years ahead, the Libraries is adjusting its purchasing practices to prioritize immediate needs and to move away from purchasing materials based on their potential for future use.  In the past, research libraries made efforts to collect comprehensively across all the fields of knowledge, but the tremendous rise in associated costs have made this strategy more and more unsustainable.   In an era where electronic access to information makes the sharing of scholarly information via interlibrary loan and consortial sharing networks very fast and efficient, research libraries are moving to leverage their combined holdings instead of relying on comprehensive local collections (follow this link for a good summary of this trend.)

To provide an example of how this plays out in daily operations, the Libraries will be changing its approach to approval plans moving forward.  This year all the approval plans that provide automatic shipment of books from university presses will be switched to "slip-only."   Librarians will receive notifications of what titles would have been shipped in their discipline and make title by title decisions about what to purchase.   The hand-picked titles will be chosen in light of their importance and their availability through the Alliance consortium.  Dollars can be stretched further and, if reductions are needed again in the future, more discretionary money will be available to work with instead of being locked up in an approval plan.

The UO Libraries will always make the effort to serve your teaching and research needs.  Do not hesitate to contact your subject specialist!