NEW BRUNSWICK COLLECTIONS GROUP:
ANNUAL REPORT FOR  AY 1998/99

Howard M. Dess, Chair NBCG
June 24, 1999

This has been another year of solid accomplishments for NBCG.  Most importantly, during this past year it became apparent that a true sense of community has finally been established among our New Brunswick selectors.  This maturation process has engendered a new spirit of cooperation and openness that transcends buildings and campuses and emphasizes the fact that “we are in this together” for the benefit of the academic community that we serve, in accordance with the mission established for this group.

Mission:

NBCG assumes responsibility and oversight for all aspects of collection development in the New Brunswick libraries including budgeting, allocation of funds to specific subject categories, location of print collections, and maintaining a reasonable balance between available selectors and subject categories to be covered.  For historical reasons, primary emphasis is still on print collections, but electronic acces is growing in importance at exponential rates and also falls under the purview of NBCG.

Organization and Governance:

Recent elections yielded the following results:

* NBCG Chair: Howard Dess
* Chair, Arts and Humanities Sub-Group: Kevin Mulcahy
* Chair, Sciences Sub-Group: Jackie Mardikian
* Chair, Social Sciences Sub-Group: Mary Fetzer

In addition, a new Reference Sub-Group was formed this year, and Ilona Caparros was elected chair.

All terms of office are two years, expiring June30, 2001.

Ryan Womack is currently serving in the (non-elective) position of liaison between NBCG and the NB Technology Group.

Progress to Date:

* Prepared the 1998/99 budget allocations for both state funds and non-state funds.

 * A state funds budget allocation plan for 1999/2000 was prepared and accepted by NBCG for implementation.  An important aspect of this plan necessitates further trimming of our serials collections, both to counter inflationary increases but more importantly to initiate introduction of the new collections budget strategy promulgated by our library administration.  This new strategy entails decreasing allocation of resources for the purchase of lesser used print products,  increasing levels of support for electronic access and resources, plus an improved and expanded document delivery program.  In accordance with these objectives, cancellation dollar targets have been set, and the sub-groups will coordinate the efforts of individual selectors in the determination of specific areas and titles slated for reductions.

* The Reference Collection Team, initially part of the Information Services Group, determined that the objectives of this body more appropriately matched those of NBCG and requested that it be incorporated into NBCG as a fourth sub-group, retitled as the Reference Sub-Group of NBCG.  This move was approved by NBCG in May.

* NB reference collection purchases: Ilona Caparros chaired a group that developed a “Proposal for Managing Reference Collection Purchases in New Brunswick”.   The basic aspects of the new procedure were approved by NBCG in June, subject to minor revisions plus addition of an explanatory preamble.

* A committee chaired by Halina Rusak developed a procedure for dealing with gift books, that was approved for implementation by NBCG.

* Toward the end of 1998, there was mounting concern among selectors about the prospects of yet another stand-still collections budget in the coming year and what, if anything, NBCG might be able to do to help forestall such a development (this predated the development of the new budget strategy outlined above).  The concensus was reached by NBCG members that a letter to the faculty should be prepared, expressing the concerns of the selectors about the deleterious effects of multi-year collection budget shortfalls,   A letter was prepared, approved by NBCG, and submitted to the Library Committee of the New Brunswick Faculty Council as representative of the faculty as whole..  This letter was the subject of a subsequent presentation and discussion at the NB Faculty Council.

* NBCG contributed towards the formulation of an updated missing books policy.

Areas of Ongoing Concern and Discussion:

* Budget allocation methodology: A Budget Allocation Subcommittee was established early on  to consider various methods that might be utilized to carry out this task in the most equitable manner possible.  Studies in this area are still continuing, under the leadership of Addie Tallau.

 * Access to e-journals: several NBCG discussions have focused on problems relating to e-journals at Rutgers, their availability or lack of availability, time required to gain e-access to titles from specific publishers, costs, etc.;  these are all matters of continuing interest.  Harriette Hemmasi was invited to one such session to offer her comments about experience and problems with e-journals at TAS.  The publishers were singled out as the primary source of most of these problems because there is no standard or  uniform way in which they provide e-access, and the terms and conditions and usage restrictions attached to such offers can vary wildly from one firm to another.
Nevertheless, these are the same problems that all academic institutions have to deal with, and it is the general perception that Rutgers has lagged behind many of its peers in providing the depth and range of access to electronic resources that scholars are enjoying elsewhere.

* NB collection development for undergraduates: This area poses a number of problems, as summarized below.

** How define an undergraduate collection?  How distinguish undergraduate materials
     from graduate or research level materials?

** Can a funding allocation procedure be developed for undergraduate materials?

** Should phonothon funds play a special role here?

** How should we deal with the issue of “necessary duplication” for heavily used
     undergraduate materials?

These questions, and others, will require further consideration in the coming year.