Bob began with three items of good news regarding the collections budget. First, Vice President Seneca has informed us that, as in past years, he will match $50,000 of the libraries' money to be used for collection development. Second, President Lawrence will announce in his State of the University address next week that the new version of "Reinvest in Rutgers" will include an option for devoting ones contribution to collections in the libraries. Thirdly and finally, we have received a large bequest specifically for the purchase of books in Alexander Library. The amount will be between one and two million dollars, depending upon the health of the stock market when the estate is liquidated; presumably the longer we wait, the larger the bequest. The fund will be set up as a quasi-endowment, which means we could spend part of the principle as well as the interest. And it could be used for processing gift collections, as well as purchasing new books. Considering the state of the market, it is unclear when the money will become available.
NERL negotiations with Elsevier on the Science Direct subscription continue to progress. Both sides had targeted September 25 as a deadline, but that will almost certainly be pushed back. Although the Monster has committed to a five-percent cap on price increases over the next three years, this would still be very bad news for our collections budget (we paid about a cool million last year). Moreover, Mary said that the way the Elsevier contracts are written, its difficult, if not impossible, to find ways to save; if we cancel a certain number of titles, the cost for the remaining titles will rise proportionally.
Kevin asked if we shouldn't be hiring lawyers or using the university counsel to help us in our negotiations. This led to a lengthy discussion. Both Bob and Mary argued that, considering the circumstances, we have the best representation possible. In particular Ann Okerson at Yale has been very constructive within the limits imposed by Elsevier's market power and pricing structures.
A Working Group on Usage of Journals in E-journal Packages has been established. Its purpose is to "analyze the usage of specific journal titles within e-journal packages … to gain a better understanding of how packages are used and the value of these products." Howard will chair the group and will be joined by Veronica, Ann, and Ryan. They will look closely at the statistics supplied by our vendors and report in December.
The Metro Selectors will meet at NYU on October 11 at 1PM. This year will feature a panel on cooperative collection development featuring our own Jim Niessen.
There continues to be no orders backlog, since monies have yet to be allocated with which we can place orders. A few selectors have sent some orders over already. For the sake of fairness, these orders will be shuffled into the initial deluge of orders that arrive when the funds in the fund codes become available. Also, there is apparently money presently available in specifically designated gift funds. Check your funds to be sure; you can spend on these. The phonathon money should also be available in the near future.
Acquisitions has done extensive revamping of their workflows and Mary is confident that when the buying season begins, they will be able to keep up the pace. In particular, they have plans in place to shift people from ordering to receiving as the flow of orders dictates.
Grace and Au have weeded and added to our net-Library selections. They removed the titles published in 1999 and earlier that have never been used and selected 158 new titles. Including the access fee, we will pay about $13,000 this year for about 500 titles. Most of this came out of ELPX, but individual selectors are free to buy additional e-books from their own funds. Last year we spent approximately $29,000 on net-Library.
We have decided not to contract with Journal WebCite to manage our holdings of e-journals. Acquisitions is not entirely confident they will be able to delivery everything they have promised. Instead, we may go with Serials Solutions. They offer less functionality, but will probably suit our purposes. Also, they would charge only $3,000 a year, compared to $10,000 for Journal WebCite. Serials Solutions will track and display to our users the e-journals we offer as different titles move in and out of our various e-journal subscriptions. In particular, they will provide dates of coverage for each individual title, something that is currently missing from our e-journals webpage. They will provide reports of all the titles added and removed from the packages during the course of a month.
The new ELF equipment has been arriving and is being installed (including the teleconferencing equipment used for this meeting). All of the OPACs have been replaced and some of the staff and librarian's computers will be replaced in the coming weeks.
Next week the images in RLG's AMICO database will migrate to the Luna software. Systems is also working with certain departments such as classics to develop sets of images to use for research and instruction. Sometime in the future they will make available a desktop (vs. web accessible) version of the software for images in the Art Library.
Mary sent out before the meeting an updated list of all of the cancellations we've identified to date. This includes Howard's list, Ryan's ABI list, Jim's MUSE list and the Gale titles in paper available electronically from Literature Resource Center and Gale's Ready Reference Shelf. We also agreed to cut the Kraus Curriculum Development Library, which has received little use since we acquired it, despite a good effort to promote it. There was also some discussion about cutting Biography and Master Genealogy Index, but we declined to do so. At present these cuts total about $166,000. If we add in inflation for 2003 and the $100,000 we'll raise with Seneca's matching contribution to collections, we've essentially reached our goal of whacking $300,000 from the budget. And in a reasonably painless matter. No further cuts will be necessary this year.
Mary suggested two important electronic resources that should be considered as soon as we are fiscally able. Our plans to subscribe to the JSTOR Arts & Sciences II collection were derailed by the the budget crisis last January. Also, formerly we received the electronic version of the Annual Review titles free with our paper subscriptions. To get them now we would have to pay an additional $11,000. There was fairly general agreement that we should hold off on anything new until we know for certain what the 2003 amounts for the monograph funds.
Allocations for monograph funds will be distributed to the campuses and to the humanities, social sciences, and sciences representatives shortly.
This topic has been discussed at the Coordinating Committee "in light of expanded roles in the digital environment." The University Librarian, in an email attached to the agenda for this meeting, has requested each of the councils to help in developing guidelines. The aim is to provide each of the levels in the promotion process with clearly articulated ways of evaluating candidates. The Coordinating Committee is less interested in specific criteria than in series of questions that might be posed to shed light on the quality of a candidate's librarianship. We are asked in particular to consider evolving roles in the electronic environment. The work of the councils on this issue will be compiled by the Personnel Policy and Affirmative Action Committee to be discussed and voted upon by the full faculty. The deadline for our response is November 15, 2002.
As a start, the following suggestions were offered, in no particular order of importance:
A few more general comments were offered in the course of the discussion. First, it was noted that the lines between different areas of librarianship are by no means hard and fast. For example, liaison work is a fluid mix of public service and collection development. Second, evaluation is by no means a science; as the University Librarian implied in her charge, we should not aim for hard and fast rules. Lastly, there was concern over the how candidates should be evaluated in collection development when our monies for developing collections are very meager.
At the July meeting in Camden Ruth Bogan joined us to discuss this topic and agreed to report on the number of uncataloged titles in the following call numbers: B, C, D, E, F, P, and Z. We all agreed that no subject could be clearly identified as more important than any other. Therefore, the simplest way to proceed would be to catalog these call numbers in Alexander Library in alphabetic order. The one exception we made was the titles in the Fs falling under "Jerseyana." This is one of our greatest strengths, one in which we have a well-deserved reputation. Further, undergraduate history majors are usually required to do at least one paper with original sources and local history topics are always popular.
It was noted that it will take about fifteen minutes to convert each card to a MARC record. Considering the number of titles involved, this will take a very long time. It will also cost lots of money. Kevin suggested we seek grant funding.
To make the process more informative, it was suggested that we code these books to see if how having MARC records effects usage. We will also use the recon process to identify missing books.
The meeting concluded at 11:21 PM, very possibly a CDC record. Jim down in Camden and all of the attendees in New Brunswick felt the teleconferencing equipment worked well and that we should avail ourselves of it in the future.