Cabinet endorsed the purchase of seven databases with year-end salary savings money. While this seems at first paradoxical in light of the coming budget difficulties, it is a perhaps inevitable outgrowth of the budgeting process imposed on us by the university and the state, and these purchases do reflect real need. Four databases were added based on the first round of CDC recommendations: 19th Century US Newspapers (Arts & Humanities), Gale Virtual Reference Digitization Program (Generalist), Web of Science Ten Year Back File (Sciences), and International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Social Sciences). Three additional databases were selected with additional input from CDC when it became clear that more money was available: Oxford Islamic Studies Online, Handbooks of Economics, and JSTOR Arts & Sciences III.
A brief discussion of how to publicize these acquisitions concluded with a plan to emphasize that the Libraries are buying these databases primarily with one-time money, with the intent of mitigating some of the impact of coming budget cuts on students and faculty.
NIH requirements for the deposit of publicly funded research have been a major topic, and the incentive for a major addition to the RUCore webpage, the product of hard work by Rhonda Marker and many others. The deposit form is available, and RUCore is accepting submissions. Bob has a list of grantees, and is contacting the nine liaisons so far directly affected. Liaisons can work with Rhonda to assist their faculty with the submission form, and Rhonda will contact publishers on behalf of faculty to clarify publication policies. The Scholarly Communication Committee is currently working on policies regarding RUCore, with the intention of having the policies in place by June 2008. For example, the committee will look at issues like “versioning,” the possibility that authors might post multiple versions/editions of a document in the depository.
The Digital Resources team leaders, with the addition of Kayo Denda because of her expertise in taxonomies, will be meeting with the webmaster to explore the need for a subject hierarchy or structure in DRUPAL, the content management system. We need to cross relate content by subject and thus need a common subject vocabulary or taxonomy. The plan is to implement a hierarchy fairly quickly and then modify as needed.
Bob provided a handout on the current status of the FY 2008 budget. Serial invoices continue to arrive, with foreign orders noticeably more expensive. DTS is constantly monitoring and contacting vendors who seem slow. Gracemary anticipates a clearer picture by early May. Gracemary and Nancy are monitoring expenditures for the non-per current category, in order to be able to determine appropriate levels of encumbrance in the near future. Book orders on non-state funds are still coming in, with significant funds as yet unencumbered. While there are some legitimate reasons for this delay, it is incumbent upon selectors to try to submit orders in a more timely fashion in order to minimize the end-of-the year crunch for Acquisitions. We’ll continue to explore the possibility of twice yearly releases of non-state funds, and we’ll look at setting up an alerting system in Director’s Station to warn of unspent/unencumbered funds.
Some central state funds remain, notably the Replacement fund (RPMX) with a free balance of nearly $60,000. On the other hand, the $100,000 allocation for Shipping is down to $12,000 and will certainly need new infusions of money.
There was extensive review and discussion of the budget scenarios presented by Bob for 3% and 7% cuts. Either case will be extremely painful for students and faculty, and will inevitably lead to further declines in the strengths of our collection and our ARL rankings. Strategies under consideration include renegotiation with vendors wherever possible, a likely reduction in the number of simultaneous users (though this will have an adverse effect upon library instruction), print journal cancellations of both duplicate and unique titles, cancelled standing orders, and possible cancellations of databases. Bob noted that maintaining the standing order budget by cutting the book budget is no longer an available strategy since all book purchases now come out of non-state funds.
There was consensus on the priority of preserving Article Delivery as a way of limiting the impact of cuts on faculty and students, but also recognition of the stress on Access Services, facing its own budget cuts. While there has been some discussion of delaying purchase of an ERMS for data collection/analysis, Grace suggested, and the council strongly agreed, that an ERMS is more urgent than ever now. To manage cuts of this magnitude, after years of stagnation alternating with cuts, we need as much usage data as possible.
A great deal of difficult work lies ahead: analysis by the Serials Team and by the Digital Resources Teams; assessment; working with stakeholders to identify priorities and minimize surprise and disruption to our users.