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-Guidelines for Journal Usage (Susan Zappen Marcia Tuttle 09 Jul 1996 12:41 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 1996 16:32:39 EDT
From: Susan Zappen <szappen@SKIDMORE.EDU>
Subject: -Guidelines for Journal Usage (Albert Henderson)

In response to Dan Lester, Al Henderson wrote...
>All you say is true. I do not think that the professional associations
>that claim to represent the interests of scientists and librarians have
>been doing as much as they could. Why shouldn't the administrative sector
>take the biggest hit?  The phrase "faculty revolt" has been bandied about,
>but I don't think anyone takes it seriously. Perhaps it is embarrassing
>for a scientist or instructor to publicly say, "I cannot do my job without
>essential journals in the library." However, I have heard it with my own
>ears and I have seen it ignored by the university.

I have participated in the university budget and planning process in a
previous position. Blaming the university administration is easy. When
times are tough and money tight, it seems natural to look for someone to
blame. Countries do it. Political leaders do it. The belief that the
administrative sector is growing at the expense of the academic sector has
not proved true at the universities I have been affiliated with.

The budget pie has shrunk to a cookie. We are ALL, academic or
administrative, doing the best we can with crumbs. The university is no
different from the rest of the country. I have experienced reorganization,
reengineering, and downsizing in academe. When faced with the choice
between student financial aid and a subscription to a $6,500 journal used
by one faculty member, I choose the financial aid. This is a real choice
on many campuses. State and federal money for students is decreasing. We
need the tuition dollars to pay our salaries and yes, buy our journals. To
get the tuition dollars you have to have the financial aid package.

Maybe that's what it is all about --- choices. LSU chose to cancel
journals and provide document delivery. It was and still is a sound fiscal
decision. And more importantly, it allows them to perform their mission.
My library has chosen not to be a warehouse/museum of dusty journals. It
has chosen to help students and faculty identify and access the
information needed in their education and research.

Perhaps publishers need to be more selective in what they choose to
publish. I've been told by both scholars and editors that much of what is
published is drivel, that there is a pecking order among journals within a
discipline --- so that if rejected one place, resubmit to the next in
line. Faculty need to address the quantity vs. quality issue in
publications for tenure -- five articles of quality rather than
twenty-five articles saying the same thing in a different way. Document
delivery (rather than bound volumes on a shelf) does show what is valued
by others!

Administrative bloat and faculty revolt are red herrings. Most librarians
recognize them as such. We are looking for new and better ways to provide
our communities with the information they need. In many instances that
means cancelling print subscriptions and relying upon electronic access
and document delivery. I think what we are doing is positive, practical,
and exciting. It is certainly preferably to stomping our feet and
demanding more money.

A cautionary footnote to publishers: don't assume that an increase in
library funding would be funneled into journal subscriptions. Libraries
are no longer just buying, binding and shelving.
Susan H. Zappen Phone: (518) 584-5000 ext. 2126 Head of Technical Services
Fax:  (518) 581-6079 Lucy Scribner Library Internet:
Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632