New Brunswick Collections Group:
Annual Report for AY 2003/2004

Howard M. Dess, Chair, NBCG
July, 2004

A. Introduction
Once again we started a new academic year with the threat of drastic budget cuts looming large on the horizon. An overall reduction in the state funds allocation to the university, amounting to about $4.5 million, combined with potential loss of one-time funds granted to the libraries on an annual basis, translated into the possibility of a cut in collection funds that, for library planning purposes, was estimated at 15%. A cut of this magnitude would have necessitated cancellation of a number of important electronic resources, loss of scores of journal subscriptions, and a significant drop in monograph purchases. The overall effect on collections would have been disastrous. Fortunately, bolstered by strong and vocal support from the Rutgers academic community, our library administration was able to make a persuasive case to the University administration that additional funds were essential, and a sympathetic ear was found in Dr. Furmanski, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, who allocated an incremental $750,000 to the library. And University Librarian Marianne Gaunt was able to contribute another $250,000 obtained from a special Excellence Fund. These fund infusions eliminated the need for draconian cancellation actions in e-resources and journal subscriptions, but additional financial help was needed to help preserve the viability of our monograph approval plan and for this purpose we gratefully acknowledge the use of non-state funds from the Van Wagoner bequest, and a gift of $10,000 from the Dean of the School of Social Work ($7,000 earmarked for New Brunswick). Thus, by these various means, we were able to maintain our collections and even to build on our existing base to a limited extent in some areas as the year progressed. For the coming year, we can only hope that the improving economic climate in the nation and the state of New Jersey will result in a more generous budget outcome for FY 2005, one that will permit more expansionary collection growth in areas of critical importance to the University.

B. Collections Budget Discussion
  1. Budget Overview

    The attached spreadsheet is a "near-final" snapshot of our collections budget closeout for FY 2004. Numbers are still changing as invoices are received and paid, so please bear in mind that this is the picture as of July 7.

    Some salient points of interest in comparison with prior years:

  2. Considering that we had started the year facing the possibility of a 15% cut in the collections budget the results summarized above represent a near miraculous turn-around. Although none of us can be happy about the erosion in the area of monograph purchases, we did avoid a major disaster thanks to the last minute transfer of funds from various sources summarized earlier.

  3. Actions of NBCG's Budget Allocation Committee

    The Budget Allocation Committee is responsible for allocations of state funds and certain non-state funds among various fund codes and selectors and generally oversees expenditures on collections throughout the year. Membership is comprised of the following individuals:

    Howard Dess, Chair, NBCG
    Mary Fetzer, Chair, Social Sciences Subgroup
    Jackie Mardikian, Chair, Sciences Subgroup
    Kevin Mulcahy, Chair, Arts & Humanities and Reference Subgroups
    Gracemary Smulewitz, Head, Access/Collection Services

    Particular actions taken by the BAC during the year include allocations of the following:

C. Cancellations and Additions of Journals and e-Resources

As a result of the welcome receipt of funds described above, the contingency plans for cancellations that had been under consideration to cover worst-case budget cut scenarios were drastically scaled back and selectors were advised instead to do only what was necessary for "normal" collection maintenance. As in past years, this meant that the only source of funds for new journals and e-resources would be via cancellation of existing titles (in the social sciences and humanities, money released by such cancellations could also be utilized for monograph purchases). The final NB journal cancellation list totaled $180,030 covering 526 titles, and the funds thus released were utilized to purchase other, more relevant or necessary collection resources. The cancellation total also included savings from the elimination of some duplicate print subscriptions that were no longer needed because the publications were now available online.

New e-resources acquired during the year include the following:

Access was also acquired to LLMC, (Law Libraries Microform Consortium) through the Rutgers Law Libraries.

D. Preparation of White Paper on Collections Funding

The budgeting process was so fraught with problems and uncertainties this year that NBCG resolved to address and enumerate the difficulties encountered and to offer recommendations for improving the process, in the form of a white paper. This white paper was issued on Nov. 24, 2003, entitled: "Funding Rutgers Libraries Collections: Needs and Challenges". The NBCG committee responsible for the drafting of this document comprised the following individuals: H. M. Dess, K. Denda, K. Mulcahy, J. Sloan, G. Smulewitz, and L. Vazquez. The completed document was then submitted to the Collection Development Council and the University Librarian for review and consideration of appropriate follow-up action.

The principal problem areas addressed in the report were the following:

A number of actions were recommended for consideration that addressed these areas of concern, but one overarching conclusion can be summarized very straightforwardly:
funding in support of the library's collections needs to be increased to a level permitting stronger support of crucial university educational and research objectives.

The white paper in its entirety may be accessed on the LIBLSM T drive under the "COMMON" file, in a folder labeled "NBCG".

E. NBCG Organizational Matters

An election was held to select NBCG subgroup chairs for two year terms ending June 30, 2006, with results as follows:

        Subgroup Chair for Arts & Humanities: Kevin Mulcahy
        Subgroup Chair for Reference: Jeris Cassel

Other positions in NBCG (term ending June 30, 2005):

        NBCG Chair: Howard Dess
        Subgroup Chair for Science: Jackie Mardikian
        Subgroup chair for Social Sciences: Mary Fetzer

During the year we welcomed one new member into NBCG: Constance Finlay, who is selecting for labor studies/human resources for SMLR, and labor studies at Alexander Library. And Karen Hartman, who joined us the previous year, took over collection responsibility for the Bloustein School. We also lost a member, Matt Sheehy, who had been selecting in the areas of music/dance/theater, as the search for a new music librarian continues.

Thanks to all for their dedication and efforts on behalf of our Rutgers libraries collections, and their continuing contributions to NBCG.

F. NBCG Focus Areas During the Past Year
  1. Approval Plan Change

    The administrative decision to change approval plan providers from Blackwell to YBP necessitated a period of intensive review and training for selectors in how best to utilize the new online supplier catalog system (GOBI) and to readjust approval profiles, as necessary. One important advantage of GOBI over Blackwell's Collection Manager system is that orders entered into GOBI can be processed directly. This should help streamline the ordering process.

  2. Weeding

    Completion of the Douglass weeding project permitted the initiation of weeding actions at other units:

    1. Library of Science and Medicine

      Monograph weeding at LSM was initiated in December to relieve shelf congestion, and continues at a steady pace toward the goal of a 20% reduction in holdings in the circulating collection (equal to approximately 35,700 volumes). As of the end of June some 17,647 books had been removed from the shelves, thus freeing up urgently needed shelf space, and close to the half way mark towards our goal. Criteria for removal focused on older titles that received little or no use over the past seven years (as gauged by circulation data), and were out of scope for current academic needs. Particular emphasis was placed on eliminating duplicate copies of zero or low use books from our New Brunswick collections, and transferring last copies to the Annex when justified by available circulation data.

    2. Chemistry Library

      The print Beilstein collection ( 437 volumes plus a number of related "how-to-use" books) was withdrawn from the Chemistry Library collection in order to free up shelf space in a unit that has increasingly suffered from overcrowding over the past year. Since the acquisition of the electronic version of Beilstein, use of the print version had dropped essentially to zero, so the elimination of this venerable classic will not cause any problems. The entire collection has found a new home at CCNY's science library.

    3. LSM's Special Collections Room

      The monograph collection maintained in LSM's special collection room has been little used and poorly documented. A project now in progress aims to rectify this situation by updating IRIS records, and transferring most of the volumes either to the Special Collections Library, or the Annex, as deemed appropriate on a case-by-case basis.

  3. Selector Budget Request Form

    A newly created "Selector Budget Request Form" originating with the AUL/CDM was approved by CDC and distributed for completion by all selectors. The principal objectives of the form are to:

    As NBCG selectors compiled the information for their respective areas of responsibility, numerous questions and concerns arose about how best to respond to some of the questions on the form These areas of uncertainty and selector concerns were discussed by NBCG and communicated to R. G. Sewell for consideration of future revisions to the form.

  4. Faculty Survey

    As background material for preparation of the next five-year planning document covering implementation of DLI-II, our library administration requested that selectors obtain input from the teaching faculty about library usage patterns, special likes and dislikes about library services, etc. Selectors were given broad latitude about how best to obtain such information from their respective areas of faculty outreach and NBCG engaged in a discussion about the various techniques that individual selectors proposed to follow. The science librarians chose to utilize a survey form, developed under the leadership of Marty Kesselman, and this form was then distributed to the various science departments. The response to this form was gratifyingly large, 234 returns, estimated at about 19% of the total science faculty. Some key findings are summarized below:

    ** E-journals 90.1 % (percent of users responding)
    ** Print journals 89.7
    ** Books: 87.8
    ** Indexes and databases 81.0
    ** ILL/E-Z Borrow 69.2
    ** Electronic reserves 37.3
    ** Ref. Services in a library 31.2
    ** E-mail ref. service via a     specific librarian 29.3
    ** Use of non-Rutgers libraries 27.4
    ** Gov't. documents 20.5

  5. Fund Code Adjustments for Journal Subscriptions

Every journal subscribed to by RULS is assigned to a specific fund code, and each of these fund codes is under the management oversight of a given selector (online journals paid for by Central are the exception here). Ideally, selectors responsible for a given discipline will control those journals that are most relevant to that discipline. However, over the years, for a variety of reasons, some distortions have occurred in the system, resulting in some selectors "inheriting" certain titles that more logically should be the responsibility of other selectors who are overseeing subject areas more relevant to the content of the journals in question. Certain areas of the life sciences had become particularly tangled in recent years, and it was finally considered necessary to carry out a number of corrective shifts, bearing in mind that moving a title from one fund code to another also meant shifting the funds needed to maintain that subscription. A total of 141 titles (primarily in the life sciences) were finally transferred to new fund codes and selectors.