New Brunswick Collections Group Meeting Minutes
Friday, July 11, 2003

Present: Kayo Denda, Howard Dess (Chair), Mary Fetzer (recorder), Tom Glynn, Karen Hartman, Helen Hoffman, Patricia Libutti, Mei ling Lo, Jackie Mardikian, Kevin Mulcahy, Laura Mullen, Jim Niessen, Hector R. Perez-Gilbe, Bob Sewell (guest), Matthew Sheehy, Connie Wu.

Approval of Agenda: Agenda was approved.

Approval of Minutes: Minutes from the previous meeting were approved as distributed.

The chair reported on his attendance at the Senate Budget and Finance Committee meeting and the extraordinary report presented by N. Winterbauer who provided a detailed account of the final higher educational budget package approved by the state legislature. The budget cut originally announced was reduced from $39.4 mill. to $20.202 mill. This represents a 6.1% reduction in base state support compared to the almost 12% originally proposed. In addition, a number of other cuts affecting higher education and Rutgers were also scaled back or partially restored, including funding for the Outstanding Scholars Program, the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) program., the Incentive Endowment Program, and the Commission on Science and Technology. Factoring in a proposed 9% tuition increase plus other adjustments, the net bottom line effect on Rutgers state funds budget for 2004 will amount to "only" about a $4.5 mill. reduction vs the nearly 10% cut suffered last year. Winterbauer stressed that despite the pullback from the devastating cut that was first announced by Trenton, this is still an austerity budget, with no allowance for any new programs or expansions without compensating cuts elsewhere. The key question asked by members of the Senate Budget and Finance Committee was: how will this cut be distributed to the various units of the University? Answer: still undetermined, but to be announced in the near future.

R. Sewell was invited to our meeting to update us on options that the library might exercise to deal with the FY2004 budget shortfall.

FY2004 Budget Update - R. G. Sewell

Sewell reviewed how we closed out the previous fiscal year budget. Was concerned that we ended the year with a fairly large unspent balance, but also with high encumbrances. To put the unspent balance to the best use, it was decided to use about $100,000 to prepay memberships e.g. CRL and to pay down some electronic resources e.g. PCI Full Text and the New York Times Historical database. These were purchased for perpetual access and we save money by doing this; we will eventually have to pay a subscription fee again in three years. The rollover still needs to be completed in SIRSI.

We will probably hear more about the Libraries' base budget next week. He suggested the following possibilities:

base budget
guaranteed ICI funding; will get other adjustments during the year
= anticipated fixed costs based on paid out last year; will plug this in
$ 100,677
= available funds for now
= amount needed for a semester's reserve functions
$ 87,677
= the grim remains

As a result, and until we know more, Bob has issued a freeze on all new monograph ordering, even from non-state orders. We are hoping for some additional funding from Seneca's office; the Dean of the School of Social Work anticipates providing some funds for materials in that area; and we should get some money from grants. Non-state funds will also be reduced this year because of the lower interest on endowments. We have to remain committed to the approval plan which cost about $540,000 in FY2003.

Consequently, the provisional cut that we are dealing with for FY2004 is $1.3 million as the worst case scenario; that factors in inflation. Bob suggested the possibility of cushioning this by taking the amount of $540,000 for the approval plan from the recent Van Wagoner fund for Alexander Library. This proposal drew substantial objections from Mulcahy and Fetzer; taking this amount from the arts and humanities is, first of all, disproportionate. There was also a challenge whether this was appropriate use of the Van Wagoner endowment.

One partial solution would be to go after the share of indirect costs from grants to which the Libraries should be entitled. Sewell will put a proposal on the University Librarian's desk making a case for recovery of these monies.

Sewell also passed out a list of database subscription costs by area with the intent that selectors should review their areas for potential cuts. The Science Direct deal is still being negotiated within NERL. We have told our representative that we will not renew under current circumstances and will possibly cut our Science Direct allocation in half. Sewell has been an advocate within NERL for drastic action. If we keep playing the Elsevier game, all our resources will eventually be going to them! The original estimate on number of uses and cost per use for Science Direct were discovered to be incorrect as they were based on faulty usage statistics provided by Elsevier.; revised calculations based on the latest usage figures transmitted by Elsevier, indicate that there are now over 200,000 uses at about $5 per use (substantially lower cost per use than originally indicated). Some questioned the validity of usage statistics; a new consortial effort to standardize usage statistics should eventually help.

It is probably too early to release any statements regarding our budget to the various faculties. Sewell will try to have a letter composed for the faculty by the end of July. Meanwhile, since our worst case scenario is a budget reduction of $1.3 million, which equals a 17% cut, Bob recommended that for now we consider cuts at a 15% scenario. It would be ill-advised to suggest to faculty that they campaign for what they specifically need; any campaign should support the Libraries generally instead. Sewell also said that according to the Board of Trustees, with President McCormick's consent, the Libraries are to come up with a 5-year plan to indicate what it would take to put RUL in the top 15% of ARL libraries. Unfortunately, we will never score well in the "volumes held" category. We do now have ways of counting e-journals and e-books however. Our expenditures on document delivery last year was roughly $75,000, less than in the past because we found cheaper ways of doing it. While collections are taking a big hit, there will also need to be some give-backs in salaries; our below-the-line budget is very paltry. Sewell reiterated that all his current projections are based on raw data. NBCDG members who will be on CDC in 2004 include Glynn, Denda, Mardikian, Dess, and Mulcahy.

Responding to a question about the status of the Vagelos report, it would take an infusion of millions to make the merger work. Despite some earlier slowdown in work on the plan, the tempo has picked up lately. RUL has argued that the libraries should not be broken up, and there appears to be broad support for that idea. There is actually some money ($5 million) available from the State to support the merger. The libraries are putting together a proposal, one of which is to get joint RU-UMDNJ-NJIT database access.

Database of Selectors - H . Perez-Gilbe

Hector Perez-Gilbe announced that the database of selectors is now up on the NBL page and demonstrated its search capabilities. It should have numerous uses, including weeding decisions. Decisions still need to be made on "missing" areas. For instance, should the area of military and naval science show a reference to government documents? Fetzer will send Hector a proposed statement regarding government document inclusion for the database. Please review the database for errors, omissions. Hector needs someone to take over during his absence; a volunteer is sought (at the conclusion of the meeting Matthew Sheehy volunteered to do this).

Cataloging and Location of RU Research Publication - H. Dess

A reference query regarding soil surveys led the Chair to consider the need for better inclusion of Rutgers research publications in IRIS. There are many instances where RU publications are not in our catalog. Areas that were mentioned include master's theses, international conference papers/proceedings from conferences held at Rutgers, government documents done under contract research by Rutgers faculty, etc. SC/UA reportedly hold numerous boxes of uncataloged material done by Rutgers faculty. Hector remarked that the Cook Agricultural Extension Service is putting its recent material online; he has a database of the George H. Cook papers 1961+ on the SCC website now; print copies reside at Chang. Also, there remains a question of where masters theses go (theoretically, one copy should be going to the library where it is most relevant). Fetzer suggested that the Chair ask M. Page about the list of uncataloged collections she did several years ago. It was decided that the Chair will take the issue of uncataloged RU research collections to Collection Development Council.

NBCDG Future Roles and Goals - H. Dess/all

Dess briefly posed the question of what NBCDG's role and goals should be. Are we happy with our current functioning? Are we being reactive and not proactive enough? The Chair will send out an e-mail encouraging us to consider these issues.

Prior to adjournment, M. Sheehy announced that Access Services is looking at damaged paperbacks and will be notifying selectors regarding them. L. Mullen announced that PsychArticles is basically up and running although there are still a few problems to be resolved.

Meeting adjourned 11:20 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Mary Fetzer, Secretary du jour