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Re: Trouble with usage studies (Donna Lively) Marcia Tuttle 02 Jul 1996 13:43 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 08:39:14 CST
Subject: Re: Trouble with usage studies (Albert Henderson

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 00:53:19 EDT
> From: Albert Henderson <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM>
> Subject: Trouble with usage studies
> Donna Lively commented:
> > Mr. Henderson seems to want us to dismiss low "browse stats" as
> > criteria for cancellation because there may be "many other" uses that
> > are unrecorded.
> Actually, I wanted to encourage getting thoughtful advice from research
> and faculty departments as preferable to use and impact statistics for the
> purpose of collection development, weeding, cancellations, etc. Esoteric
> materials won't be used as often as undergraduate stuff. If you are in a
> "research university" there must be some obligation to support research.

Such advice has always been solicited, however, faculty need to
remember that substantial use of materials has to be demonstrated.
How can we justify cutting high use materials and leaving material
that has only one or two uses per year?  As one colleague of mine put
it so well and succinctly, libraries are not museums.

> > Indeed, but that is also true for those titles which
> > show high usage too.  The point is, in context, when one is
> > cutting serials because one has no choice, because one's budget is
> > also being cut, use studies can still reliably show one what is
> > used heavily and what is not, period.  If all the "uncounted" uses for
> > all the journals were counted, I would bet that one would have close
> > to the same ratio of usage between "high use" and "low use" titles
> > that exists now with our "imperfect" methods.  Guess which ones will
> > still be targeted for cancellation?
> The result  was described in a recent comment that when a researcher maxed
> the CONTU guidelines of 5 interlibrary borrowings of a particular title, he/she
> is told to either go to another library or enter a personal subscription.  This
> is the academic equivalent of revoking the key to the executive wash room. My
> feeling about this is the missions of the library and its institution are being
> severely compromised.
> > Publishers who fear that their journals will end up on
> > the low end, should get busy and get them online for easy doc
> > del access because that is how more and more libraries will be
> > purchasing them, and these publishers might as well have some control
> > over the process and also get the "delivery fee" that CARL or
> > some other commercial vendor makes over and above a copyright fee.
> Carnegie Mellon economists Zahray & Sirbu published (INFORMATION ECONOMICS AND
> POLICY 4:127-154, 1989/90)  a model some years ago indicating that royalty fees
> will rise sufficiently to foil any idea of cost savings. It seems to me that
> model is being realized.

This has not occured yet.  I am not saying that it will not
eventually, but, for a while we have some breathing space in between
this rock and hard place in which we've found ourselves.

> > Researchers will also have to learn to operate in a new paradiagm
> > with the use of online indexing and abstracting services and current
> > contents services for their "browsing" or their careers will continue
> > to be "hurt" and frankly it is not necessary that they should be.
> This is not the answer. NFAIS production figures indicate that coverage
> by the major index / abstract services is being curtailed as a result of library
> cancellations. See the article by Richard Kaser in PRQ 11,3:10-24, 1995.
> Have a heart.

Faculty and researchers need to go to work to change the rules of
tenure and advancement because the old ways no longer work.
However, the practical research done by Chuck Hamaker of LSU suggests
that the use of online services do work at present for the
researchers, at least, at his institution.  Again, this may not
continue, but it is not the  behavior of libraries that will drive
this process.  Libraries and the institutions that support them
can no longer afford the old ways, as they may come to no longer be
able to afford the new.  We have been squeezed and squeezed and
squeezed by publishers and the tenure system for years now, to the
point, in our case, where close to 80% of our materials budget goes
to serials.  We are now asked to cut 3% of our budget  and are
also faced with having to cut to meet the projected 1997 serials
inflation.  Have a heart?  Get real, sir.

Donna Lively