Howard M. Dess, Chair, NBCG
July 10, 2001
A. Introduction and Report Organization
NBCG plays a definitive role in overseeing and coordinating all aspects of collection development functions in New Brunswick, both print and electronic. Thanks to the dedication and interest of the New Brunswick selectors who comprise our membership, NBCG provides an essential forum for the discussion and resolution of collection development problems that are of common concern, as well as the introduction of new ideas and initiatives.
Members of the Budget Allocation Committee NBCG (listed below) merit a special note of appreciation for their unflagging support and perseverance in dealing with the budget allocation process and their guidance and counsel about other issues that were dealt with during the course of the year:
Mary Fetzer, Chair of the Social Science Subgroup
Ellen Gilbert, Chair of the Reference Subgroup
Jackie Mardikian, Chair of the Science Subgroup
Kevin Mulcahy, Chair of the Arts and Humanities Subgroup
Gracemary Smulewitz, Acting Head, Collection Services
(Howard Dess, Convenor)
Annual reports submitted by the Subgroup Chairs are presented in Appendix 1.
Appendix 2 contains the mission statement for NBCG.
B. Summary of NBCG Actions and Programs During the Year
1, Collections Budget Fund Code Allocations
A major responsibility of NBCG is the annual allocation of state budget funds
to the 300+ individual accounts that currently cover the spectrum of New Brunswick
collection categories. A smaller number of non-state gift and phonothon accounts
are also covered by this process. The Budget Allocation Committee of NBCG has
been delegated to carry out this task. The committee's objectives are to distribute
the budgeted funds as equitably as possible to the individual selector accounts,
taking into consideration factors such as: prior spending patterns, current
and anticipated academic program needs, and external developments beyond our
control relating to publisher pricing practices, introduction of costly new
products, and the rapidly shifting balance between print and electronic resources.
Not surprisingly, the BAC's efforts to match these often conflicting demands
against the hard reality of a fixed and limited collections budget are reflected
in a process that is both complex and time consuming.
The FY 2001 state funds allocation for New Brunswick, announced by R. G. Sewell on Oct. 18, 2000, was $3,250,077, divided as follows into broad subject categories:
Arts & Humanities/Social Sciences: $1,571,074
Unassigned/discretionary: 60,000 (*)
Multicultural funds: 8,050
Total NB State Funds Budget for FY 2001: $3,250,077
Non-state funds budget for NB for FY 2001: $1,281,649
(*) Per BAC decision, these funds were utilized to help cover bindery costs.
The state fund allotments shown above were subsequently apportioned out, by the Budget Allocation Committee, to the individual subject fund codes assigned to individual selectors. Phonothon and certain gift funds were similarly distributed to specific non-state fund codes and selectors.
During the course of the year, subsequent incremental adjustments, via transfers from Central accounts, raised the final total by 3.4% to $3,362,130. A significant fraction of these additional funds (nearly two thirds) was used to cover higher than anticipated monograph purchases under the NB approval plan. As of this date, the state funds budget for FY 2001 is essentially fully depleted or committed, as required by law. In the case of the non-state accounts, there is no requirement to spend out by the end of the fiscal year, and funds remain available for use in selected non-state accounts.
The decision made earlier in the year to acquire Science Direct introduced new complexities into the allocation process this year since it necessitated a massive transfer of funds from a large number of individual selector accounts to a Central account, while at the same time provision had to be made for the cancellation of the print versions of the Elsevier journals from those same selector accounts. The total funds shifted by this process amounted to approximately $800,000 system-wide, and over 400 Elsevier print titles were cancelled, the majority of which were part of the NB collection. Several other smaller package plans covering e-journals were also acquired this year (e.g., APS, the American Physical Society e-journal package), but none of these compared in size or scope with Science Direct.
Fortunately, no additional journal cancellations were mandated this year (i.e., beyond what was required by the acquisition of Science Direct). A limited number of cancellations of non-Elsevier titles was made voluntarily by individual selectors to free up funds for the acquisition of alternative journals.
2. Future of the Douglass Library Collection
The changing role of the Douglass Library was reviewed at the June meeting
in a discussion led by Francoise Puniello to help clarify and redirect the collection
development mission for this unit.
NBCG endorsed the recommendation that from now on collection development at Douglass will be restricted to Women's Studies, with Kayo Denda as selector, and Performing Arts with Margaret Wieszczek as selector. A related question dealt with the question: what to do about the existing collection at Douglass, substantial portions of which now have no relevance to the new mission. It was agreed that Kayo and Margaret, in collaboration with Gracemary Smulewitz, would review the collection and make recommendations about what should be retained in Douglass, what should be transferred to other RUL units, and what should be withdrawn.
3. Collection Rationalization Project
The object of this ongoing project is to consolidate duplicate and fragmented journal runs, both print and microform, currently held in multiple New Brunswick libraries. The ultimate objective is to create one run for each title that would be the longest and most complete run possible based on current holdings, and locate it at the unit deemed most appropriate for each subject. The remaining duplicate partial runs would then be withdrawn. Individuals who have taken on responsibility for this project are:
* Ben Beede: compiled a database of titles that are duplicated in JSTOR and which also have multiple runs in RULS libraries.
* Addie Tallau: is focusing on identifying science titles with duplicate runs.
* Gracemary Smulewitz: is directing Collection Services personnel to carry out the physical process of consolidation.
The multiple benefits of this work, as it progresses, will be:
* Making shelf space available for new materials.
* Simplification and clean-up of IRIS records, making them easier to use and understand.
* More convenient access for our users.
4. Review of Anthropology Selection
Helen Hoffman and Lourdes Vazquez presented a review of collection development for the field of anthropology in New Brunswick. In recent years the department has grown in size and importance, a trend that has not been matched by a concomitant growth in collection budget funds for this discipline. A recommendation was made to establish separate budgets for Cultural Anthropology and for Physical Anthropology, but since there appeared to be no realistic possibility at this time of obtaining incremental new funding to cover program growth of this sort (or for new programs in general), the following approach was adopted:
* Physical Anthropology collection development will continue to be handled by Helen Hoffman, using a limited share of Biology funds.
* Cultural Anthropology collection development will be managed by Lourdes Vazquez, using a current fund for that purpose.
Both Lourdes and Helen will serve as liaisons to the department, for their respective collection development specialties. Questions about the location for various portions of the anthropology collection remain to be decided (e.g., Chang vs. LSM for physical anthropology), following further study, and consultation with the department.
5. Review of SMLR Collection
The future of SMLR and the SMLR library was under review by a special Dean's committee which included two members of RULS from New Brunswick, Mary Fetzer and Ryan Womack who reported on their role to date in the deliberations of the committee. Mary and Ryan submitted a draft report including a list of SMLR titles, many of which are duplicated in print at other units or available online. Budget for the SMLR collection is from RULS, but personnel costs for this library are funded by SMLR. It was apparent that considerable savings could be effected for RULS by eliminating the duplicate subscriptions held at the SMLR library, but this decision will be subsumed under the overall recommendations of the Dean's committee.
6. Clean-Up of SIRSI Fund Code Records
As the year progressed, it became increasingly apparent that many of the fund code encumbrances recorded in SIRSI portrayed amounts that were misleading or even incorrect, and this, in turn distorted the free balance recorded for various accounts at any given time. The major reasons for this problem are: 1) Maintenance of old monograph orders on SIRSI (anywhere from one to 4+ years old), most of which have no realistic possibility of being acquired, after multiple attempts by Acquisitions personnel to obtain the items, and 2) Mistaken retention on the SIRSI records of journals that had been slated for cancellation, and in many cases had been cancelled. The Budget Allocation Committee recommended that the SIRSI records be corrected to minimize these distortions and provide a truer and more useful picture of the state of our collection finances at any given time. Gracemary Smulewitz has undertaken to carry out this task, via the Collection Services Department. Specifically:
* All domestic monograph orders older than 6 months will be cancelled.
* Foreign monograph orders older than one year will be cancelled.
* Lists of the cancelled items will be distributed to selectors who may choose to reinstate orders on a selective basis, as they feel appropriate.
* The records will be purged of all journal titles that were cancelled or which should have been cancelled.
* This process will be repeated periodically.
7. Oversight of NB Approval Plan
Kevin Mulcahy prepared a study of the NB approval plan (covers only arts and humanities and social sciences; science is excluded from this plan) and concluded that its performance was meeting expectations:
* Returns averaged just under 6% (as of mid-year), and indicates that in most case selectors had done a good job in setting up their subject profiles. However, periodic reassessments of profiles are required in order to adjust for any shifts in academic programs here at Rutgers, or shifts in publisher subject emphasis.
* During the prior fiscal year, discount savings amounting to approximately $113,000 were estimated to have resulted from use of the NB approval plan.
* For the future, we need to develop a way to track approval expenditures by subject category in order to determine if the current plan results in overexpenditures in some disciplines at the expense of underspending in others.
8. Update on E-Books
Ron Jantz was invited to present an overview and update on the status of e-books
in academia, with a view to helping decide what action (if any) should be taken
by RULS at this time to acquire such products. Because the field is still so
new, with product lines and providers still in a state of flux, no clear cut
decision could be reached about potential benefits for our Rutgers user community.
Participation in some experimental program(s) at low cost levels was suggested
as a way to gain first hand knowledge about possible applications.
9. "Big Ticket" Items
The sub-group chairs, in consultation with their respective memberships, compiled lists of high cost products for submission to Bob Sewell, at his request. This was done in response to his announcement about the availability of a pool of residual state funds remaining in Central accounts, and which had to be spent out by the end of the fiscal year. Requests totaling around $390,000 were transmitted to Bob ($180,000 Arts and Humanities; $108,000 for the sciences; and $99,000 for the social sciences). Available funds from Central are expected to cover no more than about half of this total.
10. Electronic Products Holdings Records in IRIS
NBCG discussed the need for holdings records in IRIS, covering electronic products. Historically, IRIS offers very elaborate and detailed holdings records for our print products, but virtually no information about electronic product holdings (or more properly, access information) beyond title and hot link. The user is left very much on his own to determine what is actually accessible, and this can be a very frustrating and time consuming exercise because of variable terms and conditions of site licenses from the various publishers. It was agreed that this problem needs to be further researched and better defined.
11. NBCG Election Procedure and Results
Two changes were introduced into NBCG election procedure, reflecting concern about continuity of leadership:
* As originally constituted, the term of office for all Sub-Group Chairs began and ended on the same date. In order to eliminate the possibility of a complete loss of experienced leaders in any one election, it was agreed that the terms of two of the Sub-Group Chairs be scheduled to overlap the other two.
* Creation of a new office, Deputy Chair of NBCG, was authorized. The Deputy Chair is to be selected from the Sub-Group Chairs, by that group, and will serve six month terms.
* Term of office for NBCG Chair and the Sub-Group Chairs was confirmed at two years.
NBCG Chair: Howard Dess
(two year term, ending June 30, 2003)
Arts and Humanities: Kevin Mulcahy
(one year term, ending June 30, 2002; to be followed thereafter by two year terms)
Reference: Ellen Gilbert
(one year term, ending June 30, 2002; to be followed thereafter by two year terms)
Note: Ellen's subsequent resignation from RULS leaves this slot temporarily open.
Science: Jackie Mardikian
(two year term, ending June 30, 2003)
Social Sciences: Mary Fetzer
(two year term, ending June 30, 2003)
Deputy Chair of NBCG has not yet been selected.
Annual Reports from NBCG Subgroup Chairs
1. Mary Fetzer, Chair, Social Sciences Subgroup
As Chair of the Social Sciences Subgroup and as an advocate for the social sciences I chaired a well-attended meeting of the subgroup in March that focused on electronic packages, namely SourceOECD, AccessUN, Government Periodicals Universe, Transaction Publications, the APA Electronic Package, and an online substitute for Alexander's CD-ROM for political science. Although Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe was acquired through VALE funding the initial year, members worked to document a case for full funding for a second year. The group also discussed the handling of gifts.
Representing the Social Sciences, I also served on the Budget Allocation Committee, one of the more intensive activities of the year, apportioning both state and non-state funds among colleagues and working with librarians on cancellations as well as on big-ticket recommendations. I made a special effort to document the complex fund allocation process, and drafted a procedural document with recommendations which were discussed within the group. In addition, I have made a successful effort to have the social sciences compensated for scientific, technical, and medical titles paid for from social sciences funds but located to the science libraries from several international packages.
2. Ellen Gilbert, Chair, Reference Subgroup
The Reference Collections Subgroup has agreed that the NB libraries should collaborate in the selection of new materials as well as in the deselection of old ones. A wish list of "big items" (particularly electronic ones), in priority order, will also be developed to insure that we will have titles readily at hand when extra monies become available. With respect to deselection, Alex is, and will continue to be in most cases, the holder of the last "archival" copy of previously duplicated [non-science] print resources. Lists of deselected titles will be circulated among Dana and Robeson librarians, as well as NB participants.
NB reference team leaders also agreed that each would conduct, in the coming months, an overview of the current holdings and future configurations in their respective libraries.
3. Jackie Mardikian, Chair, Science Subgroup
The 3 Subgroup Chairs met on a monthly basis with the Chair of the NB Collections Group to discuss budget issues for 2001. In fall 2000, the Budget Allocation Committee examined the NB state expenditures and the non state expenditures, and allocated them to the fund codes. We first calculated a percentage allocation for each discipline. I compared the budgeted figures of the previous year and then compared them to the 2001 figures. In order to determine expenditures for 2000, we used the "paid" columns for each fund code. Since all the nonpercur periodicals were collapsed into the per columns, we added these figures. We subtracted all the Elsevier and other cancellations deducted from each fund code and added journal allocation figures. We then applied an 8.5% inflation factor to obtain final allocations for periodicals for 2001. Other budget adjustments were made by consultation between Howard Dess and Bob Sewell in order for the allocations to match the adjusted budget figures for the sciences.
The forum used to discuss budget concerns and journal cancellations is at the regular monthly Science Librarians meetings, the NB Collections Group or by e-mail. We do not hold separate meetings to discuss collection issues with Science Librarians. For example, when we were asked to submit orders for big ticket items, this was done by e-mail, and a prioritized list was compiled in a hurry.
Since the book vendor we used for Life Sciences, Login Brothers went out of
business, I investigated other vendors, and located Ritttenhouse Book Distributors
Inc. I arranged a meeting with representatives from Rittenhouse, our Acquisitions
department and several Life Sciences
Librarians. At this meeting, new accounts were established with Rittenhouse for approval plans, firm book orders, and standing orders. Two other Life Sciences Librarians and myself established approval plans for approval forms with Rittenhouse. I asked the NB Collection Services department to move all approval plans with Login to Rittenhouse. This service was carried out without disruption.
4. Kevin Mulcahy, Chair, Arts and Humanities Subgroup
The main focus of the Arts & Humanities team this year was the allocation of funds. While state funds were allocated largely on the basis of historical precedent, the availability of non-state money, especially money not restricted to a particular subject, allowed us to provide additional support to subject areas facing either particularly tight budgets or pressing demands for monographic materials. Part of the team leader's role was to parcel out money on shared fund codes and then monitor the funds. For the most part this merely allowed us to purchase current monographs for which state funds were inadequate, but it also allowed for a few larger purchases, some retrospective acquisitions, and filling-in of incomplete series.
NBCG Mission Statement
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 access is growing in importance at exponential rates and also falls under the purview of NBCG.