Bob attended the annual meeting of the Center for Research Libraries. The CRL is embarking on a number of new initiatives to improve services and increase funding. For example, "e-CRL" will encompass new activities such as the acquisition of material in digital format and the unmediated electronic delivery of CRL materials. CRL is also looking for ways to expand its membership, including a new category of "global members" outside of North America.
At last month's New Brunswick Faculty Council meeting, Ron Becker presented for Bob a PowerPoint presentation outlining the history in our state collections budgets since the 1990s and other critical trends relating to collections funding. Our base budget has remained stable or declined at the same time that costs for serials and other materials have risen dramatically. In 2003, our fixed costs for the first time actually exceeded our base budget. Our ARL rankings in comparison with our peer institutions have dropped precipitously at the same time. The Council showed great interest in the presentation and Philip Furmanski, vice-president for academic affairs, was also in attendance. [This powerpoint presentation is now available on the Libraries' Strategic Planning website.]
News on the state budget for the university in 2005-2006 is uncertain but probably grim. New Jersey is probably facing a five billion dollar budget gap. News on the Knowledge Initiative, however, is good, or at least not quite as bad. Funding is guaranteed at three million for the next two years.
We will begin to provide electronic access to Rutgers dissertations submitted to the Graduate School in New Brunswick. They will be submitted to the school electronically, added to the Digital Repository, and be accessible to the world from IRIS, RLIN, and WorldCat, as well as the repository. A pilot project will begin this coming fall.
Acquisitions Report- Mary Page
At present, acquisitions has no backlog at all. One big reason for this increased efficiency is the switch to Yankee Book Peddler generally, and their online ordering feature within GOBI in particular. Selectors are strongly encouraged to submit their order online, rather than on paper.
Our return rate for Yankee is very low, approximately three percent. Mary said this is a good indication that we are ready for shelf ready. As early as July 1 we will begin receiving our approval plan books in shelf ready condition, and selectors will no longer have the option of returning individual titles. However, each library receiving approval books will have an area for selectors to view the books before they are shelved in the stacks. They can reject a title, but in that case we would give the book away, and we would still have to pay Yankee for it. At $2.50 per book, the shelf-ready plan will save money, factoring in our current costs for processing books. It will include monographic serials in the sciences.
Systems Report- Ann Montanaro
Ann provided copies of the latest spreadsheet of database use statistics. Director's Station, which will allow individual selectors to run reports in SIRSI, is being implemented and will be available soon. The new IRIS interface, i-Link, is also being worked on and will be available very soon. After taking into consideration comments on the test interface, the new interface will be launched sometime between May 15 and May 31. Systems has also been working hard on perfecting the workflow management system (WMS) for the New Jersey Digital Highway (www.njdigitalhighway.org). The system under development will be used for the Rutgers Libraries Digital Repository.
-Collection Development Policies Task Force: Bob Sewell.
The task force has compiled a preliminary report and will present to the CDC in May.
-Fund Code Review Task Force: Gracemary Smulewitz.
The task force submitted to CDC a draft interim report. Our fund codes currently in use were devised in 1993, even before the migration to SIRSI. The task force was created to re-examine the codes and determine whether the overall structure and individual fund codes provide the information we need to manage our funds in an efficient and productive manner.
Gracemary highlighted three of the five items detailed in the report. First, the task force recommends treating "RU-Online" like any other library and assigning specific fund codes to individual resources on the indexes and databases page that are now funded out of ELPX. Each would be assigned four letters: a two-letter subject (HA for history, ED for education, etc.) + P for periodical + O for the library, Online. This change will allow us to determine how much money for digital resources is spent on specific subjects. The task force also assigned each of the databases to one of the four CDC teams: general; arts and humanities; social sciences; and sciences, so we can keep track of how funds are apportioned between those areas. Gracemary asked each of the teams to review the entire list of fund codes assigned to the databases and report back to the task force by the end of May if they see any problems.
Second, the task force also proposes standardizing the fund codes across all of the campuses. For example, in Newark, math is coded as MA, while in New Brunswick it is coded as MT. Finally, they recommend merging certain fund codes in New Brunswick in cases where materials on the same subject are sent to different libraries. For example, CHPC (chemistry, periodical, Chemistry Library) and CHPS (chemistry, periodical, LSM) would become CHPB (chemistry, periodical, New Brunswick). Gracemary will discuss this aspect of the task force report with NBCG.
We discussed briefly the issue of large, disciplinary databases and some council members expressed a desire to have these apportioned somehow between the teams. Science Direct, for example, has some material in the social sciences, mostly relating to business and economics. Gracemary responded that it would be possible to split databases between fund codes if we wish.
-Digital Repository Review Committee
Ron Jantz has replaced Linda Langschied on this committee. Thus far it has approved only one body of material to be added to the RUL repository, the early motion picture catalogs that are part of the Rutgers Edison Papers Project. A number of other large digital projects that predate the repository were grandfathered in. The committee has streamlined the process for proposing projects to the committee. Instead of filling out the detailed application at the outset, the person proposing a project will submit a simple narrative description and meet with the committee. If both parties agree to go forward, then a more detailed application will be submitted to the committee.
Expense Recovery and Lost Books
The council discussed whether selectors should be allowed to use the replacement fund (RPMX), generated from fines for late and lost books, to replace periodicals. Some selectors have asked about this. We agreed that this was a legitimate use of the fund, provided it is used to buy a single volume or issue, and that the volume or issue is not available elsewhere in the system. The CDC page that describes the "expense recovery" procedures will be revised to make this clear.
Draft Guidelines for Acquisition of Gifts
Bob handed out draft guidelines for the acquisition of gift collections and a draft review form for potential new collections to be added by gift or purchase. He is still polishing both documents and will send updates to the council in a few weeks. The review form is a modified version of the same form used at the New York Public Library. It will be required for gift collections of 200 or more volumes. One important purpose of the form and guidelines is to force selectors to think about the costs that are associated with acquiring and processing any material, including gifts. In connection with our discussion of gifts, it was suggested that in the future we discuss RUL's relationship with the Global Outreach African libraries project.