1. Approval Plan Review
The meeting began with an important, wide-ranging discussion of the approval plan and ways to improve and expand it. Several selectors involved with the current approval plans and Pat Adams from Blackwells attended this part of the meeting.
Pat Adams reported that Blackwells had acquired Academic Book Center and their services are being merged. Most of the executive staff from Academic have been incorporated into Blackwells management.
In order to gain in-depth coverage of current U.S. and U.K. imprints, Bob outlined three strategies for the approval plan for the next year:
In order to improve precision of the current approval plan profiles, Jane and Pat have to date worked with about half of the selectors to revise their profiles in order to get desired coverage and to reduce the return rate. They will work with all selectors currently involved with the approval plan as well as others who want to be included. At present the approval plan is utilized for most areas in the social sciences, arts and humanities disciplines in New Brunswick.
To expand coverage, the approval plan will add new subjects, have blanket coverage of certain presses, and include standing orders on the approval plan. New subject profiles for Jewish studies, business (perhaps with systemwide scope), science/technology and society (a topic of widespread, multidisciplinary interest), and environmental studies may be added. All the subject profiles would applied to appropriate commercial presses and university presses. This process should be completed in July.
The next phase would to develop blanket coverage from a number of top university presses, primarily from private universities, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, Stanford, and Chicago. Because these presses publish a number of titles in sciences, sciences would be included in the approval plan for the first time. Since state university press increasing publish a good deal of material of only local interest, blanket coverage of them would generally not be warranted. There may also be certain association publishers where all publications should be acquired. Selectors are encouraged to send Jane names of publishers that should be included in the blanket coverage. Existing standing orders can also be converted to Blackwells approval coverage, catalog records can be supplied, and the approval discount would be applied.
Another way to expand the approval plan in the future would be to have the other two campuses begin approval plans that would an extension of the New Brunswick one, wherein they would designate a fund for approval purchases and duplicate copies of materials being treated on the approval plan could be selected and included in the approval plan shipments to TSB.
Blackwells Collection Manager can be used to view acquisitions that are coming on the approval plan and firm orders, making it easier to coordinate between them. The CM can also be used by selectors to request titles. In order to allow systemwide access to this information by librarians, a single library code for all of RUL will be established, instead of the three codes per campuses as it is now set up. We will also reduce the number of plus codes, which are intended to manage different stip-to addresses.
Funding issues include simplifying fund coding and increasing funding for the plan. Once the current approval profiles are revised, the new ones added, and the presses for comprehensive coverage are identified, Blackwells can provide a cost projection for the new plan for 1999/2000. A single state fund will be created "off-the-top" of the budget for approvals in New Brunswick. This will eliminate the current complexity of numerous funds used for specific disciplines and the micro-managing of funds that inevitably occurs. Tracking of expenditures by discipline can be provided by Blackwells who will supply monthly reports organized by subjects and/or LC class on the number of titles sent and expenditures.
The envisioned plan will be more expensive than current one. How can we fund the increase cost? One way is to make better use of existing funds. The expanded approval plan can largely be funded by simply shifting funds from firm orders to approvals. In 1998/99 almost $400,000 was spent on approvals, nearly $100,000 over the allocation. But the funds for firm orders were significantly underspent. Furthermore, the approval plan is currently funded with a complicated mixture of many state and non-state funds. The approval plan should be exclusively funded with state funds, which at this point are used primarily for fixed costs, i.e., serials, continuing orders, etc. The approval plan will become like a fixed commitment. After allocations for the fixed costs are completed, the remaining amount of state funds can be allocated to firm orders along with non-state funds, which are consistently underspent each year.
[At the end of the current year, only 36% of available non-state funds for monographs were spent systemwide 36% in N.B., 62% in Camden, and 26% in Newark.]
In addition, the major budget proposal from the Libraries Budget Advisory Committee includes requests for substantial new funding for core monographs and for areas of academic excellence and growth. Some of the money for "excellence" would also be spent on monographs. [Other aspects of the budget proposal include 5% annual increases for serials inflation and funding for conversion of existing print serials to electronic access, funding for the Web of Science, and additional funding for other new databases. The proposals have been positively received by the university administration. However, no decision will be made by the administration about additional funding until salary settlements are completed. It is hoped that at least the serials portion of the proposal, including funding for the Web of Science, will be announced in July.]
In summary, there was agreement that the following actions will be taken:
[A SPECIAL MEETING WILL BE HELD ON JULY 7 (WEDNESDAY) IN THE PANE ROOM, 9:00-12:00 TO WORK ON THE DETAILS OF THIS PLAN. ALL INTERESTED SELECTORS SHOULD ATTEND. AGENDA TO FOLLOW.]
The rest of the minutes will be sent in a separate message, SACCDM Minutes Part Two (not yet received)