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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Collection Development and Access Plan:
Department of Pathobiology

Prepared by Jonathan Nabe, DATE: Fall, 2003

Purpose:

The purpose of this Collection Development and Access Plan is threefold. First, it is a tool for the Library to become better informed of the information and data needs of academic programs on campus. Second, it will outline how existing local collections, networked electronic services, and document delivery services are being utilized to meet the bibliographic needs of these programs. Third, it is hoped that this plan will provide the faculty and the library staff a base for dialog concerning future information needs and areas for cooperation. This plan follows the broad guidelines established in Ownership and Access in a Global Information Market: A Framework for the University of Connecticut Libraries, issued by the Chancellor's Library Advisory Committee in March 19991999 and the FY 2003 update, Library Collecting for a Digital Age: An FY 2003 Update to Ownership and Access in a Global Information Market.

Contents:

  1. Characteristics of the Community
  2. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns
  3. Current Patterns of Information Service
  4. Emerging Choices

I. Characteristics of the Community

Degree Programs: Undergraduate
B.S., Pathobiology; primarily preparation as pre-vet/pre-med
~ 50 undergraduate majors Fall 2003
Graduate
M.S. and PhD; major areas of research are bacteriology, pathology and virology
7 M.S. and 18 PhD students Fall 2003 Faculty
9 as of Fall 2003

II. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns

Library materials in support of Pathobiology come primarily from a general fund for agriculture. Materials acquired via the Biology fund also support Pathobiology programs.

Electronic Resources
Many resources, which support Pathobiology, are paid for from a general library fund. These resources include abstracting and indexing databases such as BIOSIS Previews, CABDirect, Biological and Agricultural Index, Web of Science; and electronic journal packages such as those from ScienceDirect, SpringerLink, Wiley Interscience, etc.

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

  1. Characteristics of the Literature

    Journals are by far the most important resource for pathobiology research. Many of the most used journals are not specific to pathobiology, but are categorized more appropriately as life science journals.

    Other resources commonly used are methods compilations and laboratory manuals, and conference proceedings.

  2. Collection Development
    1. Areas of Focus

      The scientific disciplines within Pathobiology center on bacteriology, pathology and virology. Traditionally, the focus at UConn has been on livestock and pet animals, athough for some years the Northeastern Research Center for Wildlife Diseases has also been housed at Storrs. More recently, new faculty have expanded the boundaries of the Department, with research on lobsters, whales, etc.

    2. Acquisition Strategies
      1. Monographs

        The University of Connecticut Libraries use the approval plan services of Yankee Book Peddler to supply the bulk of new monographs. Notification slips are provided for most items. Some titles are selected and ordered from these slips. Publishers who do not discount to Yankee or produce less than five titles a year are not covered. To cover this gap, catalogs from publishers and reviews from various sources are consulted for other materials that might be added to the collections. Specific suggestions from library users, including students and faculty, are always given full consideration.

        Textbooks, popular reading, guide books, examinations, software and hardware manuals are generally not collected. Dissertations must be specifically requested for purchase.

      2. Journals

        The Science journal budget is totally absorbed by the cost of ongoing journal subscriptions. In general, new journal purchases must be funded by the cancellation of other currently received titles. Expensive new title requests generally respond to a broad base of need, a major lack of coverage or an opportunity (as in the SPARC initiatives) to support a not-for profit competitor to an over-priced commercial title. A track record of repeated DD/ILL use also indicates possible need for a title. Because journals of high use in pathobiology are purchased via either general biology or agriculture funds, overall use by all departments is used as an indicator of their importance.

        High inflation rates for some journals important to pathobiology have made regular serial cuts a painful necessity in recent years. When deciding which titles to retain and which to cut, a number of factors are considered, including: the inflation history of the particular title and that of its and publisher; the importance and reproducibility of graphics; the availability of the title among external suppliers; the general importance of the title for teaching and research; and the anticipated cost of supplying requests through DD/ILL.

        Additionally, in those instances where we have both the option and an economic incentive, it is currently library policy to prefer electronic to print subscriptions. See below for a discussion of the more fluid situation of electronic journals.

  3. Access Development

    In order to assist Pathobiology researchers to locate the research materials they need, the Library will use a combination of local collections, licensed electronic products, current awareness services, and document delivery and interlibrary loan.

    1. Relevant Indexes, Abstracts, Library Catalogs and Bibliographic Utilities

      In 2002, the Library added CABDirect to its database offerings. This, in combination with Agricola, BIOSIS Previews, Medline, and the Web of Science provide comprehensive coverage of the field. In fact, this represents the best of the available resources. With a few exceptions, print coverage of years not covered by electronic resources is adequate and should be retained.

      The Library uses Ingenta as a current awareness resource. However, increasingly publishers of online journal products are providing this service as well. Many faculty prefer and exclusively use the publisher produced current awareness services. The Library is monitoring use of Ingenta to determine if it is necessary or advisable to retain.

      The current complement of general print and electronic indexing, abstracting, full-text services, and freely available current awareness services, as well as those specific to Pathobiology provided by the Library, seems adequate to meet the above objective.

    2. Electronic Journals, Books and Data

      User enthusiasm and economic incentives have caused the library to embrace electronic only access to commercial as well as non-profit journal packages. With the subscription year that begins in January 2004, if a cost savings is available, the libraries are generally converting journal subscriptions that currently bring us both print and electronic copies to electronic-only provision.

      We are making this change on a publisher-by-publisher basis. Many of our electronic journals do not come directly by license from the publisher, but instead through aggregator products such as Lexis-Nexis Academic, Dow-Jones, InfoTrac and Wilson Web. The arrangements between aggregators and publishers are constantly in flux. Only when titles are available through multiple aggregators, in a complete and reasonably current version will the cancellation of print be considered.

      We have resisted going electronic-only up to now because of concerns about long-term, archival access. Commercial publishers cannot be relied upon to archive their content once the prospect of additional sales approaches nil. Although a solution is far from in place, we believe that technologies now under examination, with funding from the National Science Foundation among others, will yield solutions whereby the largest research libraries will undertake the distributed archiving of digital content in all our interest. We expect that even the largest commercial publishers will, ultimately, cooperate with such an arrangement.

      One of the primary goals in the immediate future will be to identify the journals for which we have a subscription but not electronic access, and attempt to add said access. Often the stumbling block for doing so is the license agreement. Additionally, many of the society journals are only now being made available electronically. Often, online access to these titles is free with a print subscription. Retaining access to the already respectable menu of online journals provided by the Library is an ongoing library goal although this effort is becoming increasingly difficult. Because of unsustainable inflation of scholarly journals, electronic only access may be increasingly viewed as a viable option. The question of permanent access to reliable archives of this material is not yet resolved, making such a switch a risky venture.

      Furthermore, electronic journals can be hot linked to web based indexes like Web of Science, and the electronic resources listed above. Additionally, the Library’s electronic journal locator, eCompass, facilitates the identification of specific e-journal titles "owned" by the Library (i.e., accessible via the University internet domain, ".uconn.edu".)

    3. Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan

      Because of unsustainable inflation rates for life science journals, DD/ILL must be seen as an increasingly significant – and ideally sufficient - method of information delivery for the Pathobiology faculty. Indeed, the availability of a title from either our preferred DD vendors or ILL suppliers is a determining factor in a decision to retain or cancel titles in tight budgetary times. With the possibility for Rapid Retrieval and high quality imaging for content with graphics, DD/ILL has been proven to be a viable alternative, although the problems of timeliness, reproduction quality, and file size still remain.

    4. Significant Campus or External Resources

      With UConn joining the Boston Library Consortium in 2002, the possibility now exists for faculty and students to use the resources and facilities of a number of impressive research libraries in the area; see http://www.blc.org/ for a complete list.


IV. Emerging Choices

“[The UConn Libraries] will use their collections budget to encourage market competition and to support new and ongoing projects that seek sustainable and innovative models for pricing, delivering, or organizing information resources; and similarly will support copyright models that permit free use of information for academic purposes.”

The Library and University have made a commitment to resist the efforts of some commercial publishers to monopolize scholarly publishing and gouge academic institutions for access to research – see /about/policies/collections/clac.pdf for a full exposition of this commitment.

How to fulfill this commitment without seriously reducing the access to commercially-produced journals is the most difficult dilemma confronting the libraries. Unsustainable business models by such publishers have aroused a remarkable reaction of innovation and independence among any number of players in the field: libraries, faculty and other researchers, information specialists, computer programmers, etc. (see /about/publications/scholarlycommunication.html for links to some of these efforts and the underlying issues behind them). DD/ILL (see above) is part of the answer; moving to electronic-only journals provides short-term relief; longer term, innovative, university-wide efforts will be necessary to address the crisis in scholarly communication. More immediately, resources are available for faculty to make an impact in this area, and the liaison is ready to work with them to identify and execute the plans most appropriate for them, their students, and the university community.

Because of the trends of increasing expenditures for journals, fewer and fewer books will be purchased in the field of pathobiology. Faculty must help to evaluate the appropriateness of this decision, and contribute their insider’s knowledge as to what titles are essential for the library to own, or alternatively, when ILL is adequate. Tighter budgets require even more communication between librarians and faculty and students.

Both continuing inflation in the unit cost of print and electronic publications and expanding demand for new products and services are anticipated. The Libraries do not expect the University to solve this problem by increasing the Libraries' share of limited University resources. The Libraries hope for a continuation of the current level of support, but cannot regard it as guaranteed. Increasingly though, measures of user behavior such as circulation by classification and patron affiliation, database use, and ILL/document delivery activity will play a role in budget decision-making.

Ongoing dialogue will help ensure that the best decisions are made and that users are aware of the emerging issues and trends that are influencing these decisions. The Liaison Program will continue to be the primary vehicle for this contact and interchange.

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