Freeing Funds for Flexibility #erl13

Montana State University’s Rossman and Hosburgh presented a positive approach to deselection of electronic resources by beginning with identifying core items to keep. Overviewing their process they warned of the risks of comparing apples to oranges by identifying (they had the help of Summon) like resources upfront, such as A/I, full text, consortial, etc. One take away from the usage collection portion of the process — aside from the inherent complexity and potential for error — was to evaluate those providers that do not any provide stats either toward deselection or to put pressure on these providers to make usage data available.

Reviews by liaisons included understanding impact on all programs and user groups and allowed for a very wide-open collection method for input at this stage.

Some ongoing regular collection management work being done to remain flexible include: regularly watching ILL stats to see if subscription would be more cost-efficient, performing citation analysis studies, reviewing LIbQual data, keeping in constant communication with liaisons and an annual review of added databases to track relevance. MSU also does take advantage of pay per view options, ILL, and GetitNow to increase flexibility in funding.

Keeping this infomration in spreadsheet form, they plan to add and delete resources and relevant decision factors. They also use ERM to archive resources in order to manage version control of collection decisions. Another quite interesting feature of the collection management at MSU is that the funding structure is not by subject or department, but rather a single source divided based on format type.

Audience members provided supportive comments and many shared similar review process experiences. Some warned of the potential for upper administration to reverse cancellation decisions even after such thorough review. Others questions how best to communicate a flexible funding strategy that did not result in money gained just being taken away. Rossman suggested emphazing the growing collection needs of new programs and Hosburgh offered another positive metaphor, calling it “gardening, not weeding”.

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