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Thursday, November 3 • 11:35am - 12:15pm
Cutting the Cord: Learning to Live Without Comprehensive Journal Packages

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Academic libraries have become increasingly dependent on large journal packages. Initially these “big deals” were a boon for libraries who needed to provide more online access to journal articles, but found it difficult to manage, much less pay, for these serials. Journal packages represented both convenient aggregated access and to some degree savings, but over time librarians started to question whether the “big deal” was really worth it. Article usage statistics were good overall, but were all of the titles being used enough to justify paying for them as part of a large online collection? Rising costs and lack of control over the exact content paid for are making some libraries question the real value of journal packages.

Using a case study with an anonymous publisher, this presentation will provide a review of the decision making process that ultimately led to the cancellation of an entire large journal package (over 1400 titles) at San Francisco State University’s J. Paul Leonard Library. The rationale behind this decision was based on a detailed cost/use analysis of the package. Another factor in the decision was the challenge of maintaining other resource commitments in an environment with a stagnant collections budget. Because of this the Library had to prioritize resources including journal packages. The presentation will include a summary of the data analysis involved. It will also provide a discussion of the impact the decision has had on the Library and the University as a whole. That impact included a need to communicate with stakeholders (and their reactions) as well as the desire to provide continued access to valued resources through other means, such as interlibrary services and “demand driven” models.

The “big deal” journal packages have become an important part of academic library collections in recent years, to the extent that they are often seen as indispensable, but the experience of J. Paul Leonard Library has shown that you can cut the cord and still survive.

avatar for David Hellman

David Hellman

Collection Development Coordinator, San Francisco State University
David Hellman is the Collection Development Coordinator and an Associate Librarian at San Francisco State University. He has held previous positions at Santa Clara University, New York University and the Brooklyn Public Library. David has presented at several conferences including... Read More →

Thursday November 3, 2016 11:35am - 12:15pm EDT
Calhoun Room, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403