ER&L 2013: Freeing Funds for Flexibility

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“Street Yoga 2” by Jason Verwey

Proactive Deselection of Library Subscriptions

Speakers: Doralyn Rossmann & Nathan Hosburgh, Montana State University

Proactive deselection is getting rid of things before you have to. It allows for meeting requests for new subscriptions, adjusting for curricular change, adjusting for research change, redirecting funds elsewhere, and reducing the budget if needed.

Step one: Identify core journals. This sets a positive tone. They created lists organized by LC class and provided them to the liaisons for departments. (They filtered out packages and JSTOR collections.) The communication with faculty varied by librarian, as well as the type of feedback provided. This resulted in some requests for new subscriptions, and enhance the credibility of the library as good stewards.

They kept track of who said what in the feedback, so that if down the road that person left, they could revisit the titles.

Step two: Journal coverage in a unified discovery tool. They identified the compartmentalized/marginalized titles that were not included in the unified discovery tool index (report from vendor).

Step three: Database coverage in a unified discovery tool. This can be challenging to make sure the comparison is even. Also, what is a database versus a journal package with a searchable interface? Not clear how they compared A&I information, since there is no good tool for that kind of overlap.

Step four: Usage statistics. Typical challenges (which COUNTER format, not COUNTER, no stats, changing platforms, etc.) along with timeliness and file format. This also identified resources that were not listed on the DB page.

Step five: Coverage in A&I databases. This may help identify A&I sources you should add, but it’s time consuming and may not have big payoffs if you are emphasizing a discovery service as a primary search interface.

Step six: Coverage in aggregators or freely available. Can be risky, though.

Step seven: Other considerations. Impact factor — does it matter? Cost metrics, alternative access options like PPV or ILL, swappability in big deal packages.

Step eight: Feedback from liaisons. Get input on titles considered for cancellation  Share externally to make sure that everyone is on board and have time to comment.

Step nine: Do we have the right stuff? Review ILL statistics and compare with download stats (should be trending down as subscriptions go up). Citation studies, LibQual+, and liaison communication. Publicize what was added each year with freed funds, and which department requested it.

They plan to review this every year, and keep it updated with additions/deletions and coverage information. They are also considering the sustainability of high cost packages plus inflation.