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Serials Assessment Project 2008-09
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why are faculty and students being asked to review the Libraries serial subscriptions?
  2. Is there an official letter of explanation regarding the serials assessment?
  3. What materials are being evaluated?
  4. What is the goal of the assessment project?
  5. How will the Libraries decide which journals and databases to cancel?
  6. Will it be possible to review the entire list of serials under review?
  7. How can I participate in the serials assessment?
  8. If I state my concerns about canceling a title, will it automatically be retained?
  9. Why is the library targeting print journals?
  10. What would happen if the Libraries didn't cancel any serials?
  11. When will the cancellations go into effect?
  12. How can I get access to titles once they have been canceled?
  13. Are other university libraries conducting serials assessment projects?
  14. Who should I contact for more information?

 

1. Why are faculty and students being asked to review the Libraries serial subscriptions?
Over the past few years, demand for new serials, particularly in the more expensive electronic formats, has increased at UNLV as new programs have been added at a rapid pace.   UNLV Libraries must make these cuts because of a flat acquisitions budget (due to the state’s budget crisis) and due to the fact that most library materials are recurring costs with high inflation rates.  In the past decade, print and electronic journal subscription rates have increase 8%-11% annually, far greater than general inflation rates. Both of these factors have weakened the Libraries purchasing power. As a result of favorable consortial agreements for purchasing electronic resources, and continuing administrative support of new monies to match inflation, UNLV Libraries has been able to avoid a cancellation project for five years.  UNLV Libraries has exhausted all alternatives and the cumulative effects of inflation require that we take action this year.

Without a significant increase in funding for serials, the Libraries will have to cancel some subscriptions for 2008 and provide access to articles through alternative methods.

2. Is there an official letter of explanation regarding the serials assessment?
Yes, you can read the text of a letter addressed to the university community that explains the current assessment project.

3. What materials are being evaluated?
The Library will be reviewing print and electronic journal subscriptions, electronic databases and other resources that are recurring in cost.

4. What is the goal of the assessment project?
The goal of the project is to identify for cancellation journals, databases and other recurring commitments totaling $100,000 in order for the Libraries to live within its anticipated budget for FY 2009. The reduction may also allow the Libraries to respond in some measure to demand for the purchase of new resources and to provide additional support for other alternatives of delivering information through document delivery.

5. How will the Libraries decide which journals and databases to cancel?
The most important element of the decision-making process is consultation with faculty, students and other users about the resources they consider most critical to teaching, learning and research. In addition, the Serials Review Group that makes the final decisions will consider a number of other factors:

  • Cost and price history of the journal
  • Use of the journal, especially the most current and recent issues (last 3 years) For electronic resources, the Libraries has extensive, detailed usage information
  • Whether or where the journal is indexed
  • Whether articles from a particular title can be obtained quickly and inexpensively via document delivery or by other means. The cost of obtaining these materials must be taken into consideration.
  • Citation behavior. The Libraries has conducted a citation analysis for all faculty publications since 2002 and has reports on the number of times UNLV authors have cited (as well as published in) journals, books and other materials.
Collection Management department will consider your comments along with these other factors.

6. Will it be possible to review the entire list of serials under review?
Yes. Links to Excel files containing each college’s serials and a list of all titles under review are available at the Serials Assessment Project web site. You may download the files to your PC and review the titles. If you have questions about specific titles, you may contact your department's Subject Librarian.

7. How can I participate in the serials assessment?
The Libraries encourage feedback from all UNLV faculty and students. For databases under review, please send the title of the database and a rationale for keeping the database to your liaison librarian by October 24, 2008. For each journal title under review, you have been asked to assign a rank of 'E-Essential,' 'U-Useful' or 'M-Minimally Useful'. You enter their rankings by downloading the available Excel files and email their rankings (librarycdm@unlv.edu) or you may print off the spreadsheet, write in your rankings and mail them to:

Print Journal Project - Collection Management
MS 7038
Lied Library

For full consideration, please submit your rankings and comments by January 23, 2009. Complete information for participating is at the Serials Assessment Project website.

8. If I state my concerns about canceling a title, will it automatically be retained?
The Libraries are committed to providing resources that are critical to teaching or research at UNLV. It is, however, difficult to guarantee that all desired subscriptions will be retained. If a journal you recommended the library keep is cancelled, access to articles will be available either electronically or in print through Document Delivery Services.

9. Why is the library targeting print journals?
At UNLV, print journals have had very low usage over the past three years. Print journals have higher operational costs compared with their electronic counterparts. The costs associated with print journals include subscription, processing, receiving, cataloging, shelving, reshelving and binding. In a study conducted at the Drexel University Library, the findings illustrated that the operational costs for journals (including processing and subscription) were extremely higher for print journals. The operational cost per use data was:

Current Print journals $8.50*
Bound Print Journals $30.00*
Electronic Journals $1.85

Note: average of print journals (current and bound) is $19.25

10. What would happen if the Libraries didn't cancel any serials?
Without new funding for library collections, if we didn't cancel some serials our ability to purchase new books and new journals would be severely impacted.

11. When will the cancellations go into effect?
The cancellations will go into effect immediately for some databases. For journals, the cancellations will be in effect beginning in FY 09-10.

12. How can I get access to titles once they have been canceled?
Access to articles in journals no longer subscribed to by the Libraries may be available in electronic format through full-text databases or electronic journal packages subscribed to by the Libraries. You may also obtain a print copy of articles through Document Delivery Services.

13. Are other university libraries conducting serials assessment projects?
Most university libraries are facing similar budget constraints and inflationary pressures with regard to serials. Serials assessment projects such as the one we are undertaking has become an annual activity at many academic libraries in the United States.

14. Who should I contact for more information?
Contact your Subject Librarian with questions about specific titles.
If you have questions about the Excel files listing titles under review, please contact the Collection Management (librarycdm@unlv.edu) department.

 

 



If you have questions about specific titles, please contact your Subject Librarian. General questions regarding the Serials Assessment Project may be sent to librarycdm@unlv.edu.