Re: Disappearing microform titles (Albert Henderson) Albert Henderson 20 Sep 2001 16:09 UTC

From: Dan Lester <> wrote:


> Since most "university managers" ARE faculty, with tenured faculty
> appointments in a teaching department, why would they be warring on
> themselves.  Almost all deans, VPs, and Presidents end up back in the
> faculty ranks after some period of time in the hot seats.

        The concept is well documented in the literature going
        back to Max Weber and including Thorsten Veblin, Edward
        Shils, Robert Nesbit, and more recently Stanley Aronowitz
        [THE KNOWLEDGE FACTORY Beacon Press 2000] and Cary Nelson,
        who wrote, "National disciplinary organizations must shift
        their focus from creating professional opportunities to
        active monitoring of the higher-education workplace."
        [Chronicle of Higher Education. 45(32):B4 1999, April 16]

        My theory is that most faculty with ambition to rise in
        the academic hierarchy are easy prey for the back-office
        boyars who really control the money.

> AH> Tenure, the influence of individual
> AH>         researchers and their associations, and the financial
> AH>         power of associations are all tied to publishing.
> Tenure is an antiquated, archaic, and unnecessary device in the
> twenty-first century, but that's a different debate.  As far as
> administrators trying to get rid of tenure, I've never noticed such
> activity in the universities I've worked in.

        But you are reciting the party line!!

> AH>         By cutting library spending, university managers add to
> AH>         profitability while undermining faculty authorship,
> AH>         influence, "shared governance," and the finances of
> AH>         faculty associations.
> Faculty have plenty of opportunities to publish, it is just the
> changing nature of those opportunities that is the burr under your
> saddle.  I don't see any clear relationship between library spending
> and "shared governance" or faculty associations.  If I'm napping
> through something, I'm sure you'll awaken me to the situation.

        You might start by reading some of the authors that I
        cited above.


>AH>         I am also encouraging US WORLD REPORT etc. to look more
>AH>         closely at the collection failure quotient of library
>AH>         collections. That's the ratio of interlibrary borrowing
>AH>         to collection size. I would think any student wanting an
>AH>         excellent education would like to have access to materials
>AH>         without waiting two or more weeks.
> First, those who put any significant stock in those various ratings
> schemes get what they deserve.  They're worth about as much as what
>they pay for them: a few bucks for the issue of the magazine. In
>addition, a number of major institutions refuse to participate in
>those silly exercises.
>As far as your "collection failure quotient" goes, I'd be interested
>in seeing the table of data that you have prepared on this.  My
>experience is that some of the largest universities with the largest
>libraries do the most borrowing.  After all, they have the most
>advanced and specialized programs, and we're all aware that no library
>can have all things for all people.

        My article appears in JOURNAL OF ACADEMIC LIBRARIANSHIP
        [26:159-170. 2000]

>In addition, interlibrary loans don't take two weeks any more.  One
>week is more like it, particularly with systems like Ariel and ILLiad
>to facilitate electronic transmission and delivery of articles. Also,
>many libraries now have consortial courier arrangements and/or are
>willing to spend the money on delivery that is more rapid than
>"library rate".

        Twenty years after the 1976 Copyright Act officially
        blessed 'library fair use,' Mary Jackson's survey of
        interlibrary borrowing and document delivery services
        at 97 Association of Research Libraries libraries
        indicated service takes an average of 16 calendar days.
        It found that the fill rate for borrowing was 85%.
        Moreover, returnable items took an average of two days
        longer than non-returnables. [ARL: A Bimonthly Newsletter.

        While the patrons sampled in the survey were, "very
        satisfied with ILL services," patrons who abandoned the
        library entirely were not included. Columbia professor
        James Shapiro wrote, about the same time, "I'm embarrassed
        to report that my own university, Columbia, with one of
        the largest collections in the country, ranked far lower
        [than Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Chicago
        'libraries that are still a pleasure to use'], spending a
        meager 2.55 per cent, or $28 million, on its libraries
        (which helps explain why I have had to spend so much time
        at other libraries and why a survey by Columbia's library
        revealed that more than 90 per cent of Columbia's
        professors no longer set foot in the main library).
        [Chronicle of Higher Education, XLIV(16):B4-5. Dec. 12,1997]

> AH>         The National Enquiry on Scholarly Communications, which
> AH>         noted the deline in library spending -- and called
> AH>         inadequate collections the most serious problem facing
> AH>         scholars -- suggested production grants might save the
> AH>         monograph. (1979)
> In other words, vanity presses.

        The Federal rules governing page charges make it clear
        that publication cannot depend on payment, as it would
        with a vanity press.


> I'm still interested in seeing these great stashes of money that are
> floating around our campuses.  You've shown small numbers of dollars
> that are no more than sensible reserves, the same reserves that I'm
> sure each of us tries to keep in our personal finances and that any
> publisher would also try to keep available for unforseen business
> needs.

        Published online with my editorial in SCIENCE you will
        find a trend graph comparing profits with library
        spending at higher education institutions. Clearly,
        the money that libraries were forced to give up went
        straight to the bottom line!

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson