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Rachel Fleming                                    Kristin Calvert

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Giving them what they want: providing information for a serials review project

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Poster Presentation
Abstract: In preparation for a comprehensive serials review project, we created a homegrown Access database in order to bring together and analyze information about our collection from multiple sources. Bibliographic and order information were taken from the catalog; online access information was exported from the A-to-Z list; and in-house as well as electronic use statistics were gathered. These were assembled into a single, easy-to-use form showing the comprehensive range of data for each title. From there, the information could be tailored to best serve each level of review during the decision making process.
This session will begin by discussing the challenges in assembling and presenting the data to diverse constituent groups. We will discuss the results of the cancellation project and the role having a comprehensive database of information played throughout. Finally we will discuss the reasons for choosing this method of review over a commercial product and our suggestions for others in similar circumstances.

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Giving them what they want: providing information for a serials review project

  1. 1. Rachel Fleming Kristin Calvert Giving Them What They Want Serials Librarian Western Carolina University Electronic Resources Librarian Western Carolina University Providing Information For a Serials Review Project Background Creating the Database Future of the Database In spring 2011, it became apparent that a state budget cuts Microsoft Access provided the means to collect and Outside Sources Data ILS Data Cancellation Outcomes by Category The database was invaluable in conducting the recently would affect North Carolina universities, including significant reductions to the library budget at Western Carolina University. organize data for the review. Although some data was not available, every effort was made to be AtoZ Journal List Sources Bibliographic Records completed review. Although the library is currently implementing EBSCO’s ERM Essentials and incorporating Library budget scenarios included a 20% budget reduction in the comprehensive. Access made it simple to import data Online availability Title ISSN it into e-resources workflows, we plan on continuing to use collections budget, indicating the need for a complete review of from various sources into a single database without Publisher the Access database to guide subscription and retention continuing resources. extensive manual labor. Reports combining various decisions for serials. The ERM is expected to improve the aspects could be easily compiled based on imported overall management of e-resources, but does not have all Structure of the Review data to review all or part of the collection. Access’s Subscription Agent the capabilities necessary for evaluating resources for form builder provided a means to visually present Abstract/index report codes Order Records cancellation. In particular, ERM Essentials cannot Faculty involvement and data-driven decision making were large amounts of information simply. Access Price Format incorporate use data or perform cost-per-use calculations. identified as priorities for the review. Subject librarians Database Vendor Fund Codes The reporting and data export functionality is also limited. canvassed faculty about core journals in the spring semester. Reports based on fund codes were used for the bulk Subscription Type The Access database was designed to allow for future Collecting and organizing information fell to the Electronic of the serials review. The Access database provided Content Provider years of data to be appended onto existing tables. additional support for the Serials Librarian additional Online Use Provider name Resources Librarian on her arrival in March 2011. Coordinated Date Metric review began when the new Serials Librarian arrived in June, to reports which allowed specific review of subsets of Item Records Creating your own database provides a high return on a be completed before October. data based on material type or location codes. Use relatively low investment of time and no monetary investment. A home-grown database ensures access to Librarian Assignments the information you want and need while allowing for See handout for Reports & Librarian Department Check-in Records dynamic reporting and flexibility over time Budget Reduction Strategies details on designing Program Fund Code Spreadsheets Holdings the database. 1. Reduce duplication of content — journals available electronically. 2. Reduce duplication of content — other formats. 3. Analyze usage and coverage of periodical Spreadsheet - all data available in Access database subscriptions 4. Analyze database subscriptions and reduce redundant and/or low-use subscriptions. 5. Analyze journal packages to determine where cost reductions may be possible, including cuts of titles within packages or complete journal packages. (http://www.wcu.edu/29534.asp) Hunter Library Budget Reduction Website adapted from UC Santa Cruz University Library website with permission. (http://library.ucsc.edu/collections/budget-reduction-process) Explaining the Data Categories of Review Second Audience: Subject Librarians Effect of the Data Presenting the Data We held a workshop with subject librarians to go over data and prepare for Audiences for the Data Standing Orders Identified for review by subject librarians and faculty. Subject librarians were responsible for analyzing the preliminary the review. In addition to explaining the data included on the Subject librarians who provided spreadsheets of titles to faculty usually Subject librarians reported that having the data as presented recommendations, introducing subject expertise, and liaising with spreadsheet, we explained data collection and discrepancies in preparation created new spreadsheets based on those provided by the serials to them provided a solid framework for beginning the review Three main audiences exist for the data, each in turn: serials Databases Identified for review by reference librarians as a group departments for faculty feedback. for likely questions. We were also asked, and later provided, a “sample librarian. Subject librarians’ spreadsheets were likely to be organized by process. While many engaged in additional research or librarians, subject librarians, and teaching faculty. Because the with input from departments. looked up the information again to develop a stronger grasp script” of a meeting with a department, along with a list of how we might what would happen to access if a title were cut. Data presented to the database provided such a vast array of data, the presentation of Reviewed by library faculty with input from departments. faculty were stripped of extraneous information and library jargon. on it, the data presented and the library recommendations Newspapers present data to faculty members and a list of points that might need further data would need to be catered to each audience. Each audience emanated much research and planning that would have been Presenting the Data research. necessary otherwise. Subject librarians reported satisfaction interpreted data and added value for the next audience. Package Titles Titles which were associated with journal packages were Subject librarians made the following changes to the data provided them identified and largely exempted from individual review. Adding Value to the Data with the mix of guidance and freedom given them in the To ensure that subject librarians were well prepared to both to prepare it for faculty: review process. consume and disseminate the data, we provided the data in two Due to the magnitude and short timeline for the review, subject librarians • Combining formats into single line items for each title Microforms Reviewed by library faculty, with attention to format formats. We provided PDF versions of the Access form for each overlap. also had the task of filling in data that we were unable to provide. Subject • Replacing numbers with explanations for costs per use with no use Subject librarians reported that having worked with the data First Audience: Serials Librarian title. In order to provide subject librarians with as much data as librarians brought their knowledge of departments and programs into the • Including use statistics for standing orders where applicable and presented the results of review to faculty created a Included subscriptions to journals where full text access possible in a manageable format, we also provided a • Explicating full text – indicating type and extent of coverage The serials librarian began review using the Access database Library Drop - review, but could also provide additional information such as; available climate of trust where faculty understood both the work the was available through databases with no embargo. spreadsheet that contained the contents of the database for each • Including indexing information where applicable directly in order to gather a “big picture” understanding of the data Format Overlap fund code. indexing of journals, detail of full text coverage, comparable resources that library had put into the review and our budgetary need to • Including subject librarian recommendations in lieu of ones we make changes to the collection. Faculty were able to have available and to determine a course of action for the review. With the might meet needs of journals to be cancelled, and use statistics for standing provided Recommended Drop - Included print and electronic journal subscriptions with a The spreadsheet included summary and detailed information. discussions with subject librarians about required resources approval of an advisory committee, a set of budget reduction orders. Finally, subject librarians were free to organize the data in any • Removing extraneous information to reduce confusion Low Use high cost per use which were not included in other The summary report contains vital information in that can be and curricular trends that might not have occurred without the strategies were adopted. categories. easily manipulated with basic Excel skills. The detailed manner they wished for presentation to faculty. • Removing titles where applicable impetus of the serials review. spreadsheet includes the same data as the Access • Sorting titles by outcome of cancellation Recommended Drop - Included print and electronic journal subscriptions which database, with the added benefit of all resources for each fund in “Library Recommendations” were assigned by the serials Third Audience: Faculty Members Results of the Review Embargoed Full Text had a high cost per use and were available in full text a single location. A few subject librarians who felt very in touch with the collection took a librarian to simplify review by creating categories to guide through a database provider. Database and length of different approach to presenting information to faculty. These subject consideration according to the budget reduction strategies. Some embargo were provided. Although in-person meetings to explain the process and the data were The review of serials was organized by the effect that librarians forwarded only a small number of titles for faculty categories clarified misleading information, separating both strongly encouraged, subject librarians were free to liaise with departments feedback, relying on their good relationships and extensive knowledge of cancellation would have on access and use, so cancellation databases and titles that are part of journal packages from the more No Recommendation Titles with reasonable use and no overlap had no as best they saw fit. Data presentation ranged from email conversations the curriculum to act as “stewards” of the collection in their subject goals were tentatively set for each group of “library general e-journal format. Other categories combined several data recommendations, but review was encouraged based about specific titles to Excel workbooks added context and data. areas. Long-term good relationships with faculty resulted in this being recommendations.” While some of these goals were not points into a succinct recommendation. curricular need. an equally positive outcome as the highly interpreted data discussed met, others were exceeded, resulting in a number of above. cancellations that approached the amount of funds needing to be reduced. Library Database Form for Serials Librarian Spreadsheet for Subject Librarian Recommendations Spreadsheet for Faculty
  • rachelflemingmls

    Apr. 3, 2012

Poster Presentation Abstract: In preparation for a comprehensive serials review project, we created a homegrown Access database in order to bring together and analyze information about our collection from multiple sources. Bibliographic and order information were taken from the catalog; online access information was exported from the A-to-Z list; and in-house as well as electronic use statistics were gathered. These were assembled into a single, easy-to-use form showing the comprehensive range of data for each title. From there, the information could be tailored to best serve each level of review during the decision making process. This session will begin by discussing the challenges in assembling and presenting the data to diverse constituent groups. We will discuss the results of the cancellation project and the role having a comprehensive database of information played throughout. Finally we will discuss the reasons for choosing this method of review over a commercial product and our suggestions for others in similar circumstances.

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