SU Libraries Collections Review, 2020-2021

Overview

SU Libraries, as well as other University units, received a reduced budget for 2020-2021. Reductions were therefore implemented across all areas of the Libraries’ budget, including collections. Since the collections budget is such a significant portion of the Libraries’ overall budget (over 40%), it was not possible for it to be exempted. As a result, Libraries’ staff are conducting a review of the collection.

This type of review has always been a part of research library operations. As the Libraries add new resources and the University’s teaching and research activities change, some currently held resources may no longer be as critical as they once were. Reviewing collections represents responsible spending of University resources, and it allows us to better respond to the changing needs of the University.

What’s Being Reviewed

Resources that support all subjects and disciplines are being reviewed. These include databases, journals, newspapers, book series, and select e-book collections and streaming video platforms, all of which are leased or have annual subscription payments. Resources with perpetual access do not need review, as the Libraries purchased full ownership of them. These can include print books, select e-book collections, digital archival material, and back issues of select electronic journals.

Process

Collection development librarians began the e-resource review project during summer 2020, and it will continue throughout 2021. To help inform the review, librarians are collecting usage statistics, evaluating content overlap with similar resources, and consulting with liaison librarians and information desk staff for feedback on the role that this resource plays in supporting teaching and research. Subject librarians  are also reaching out to faculty for further input.

Database cancellation decisions  are being communicated in advance on the databases A-Z menu. Subject librarians are available to consult with users about alternative resources and alternative access to cancelled content through the Libraries’ interlibrary loan service. A full list of the resources cancelled is being made available from the Collection Development & Resource Feedback guide.  

Assessing Collections Value

Libraries’ staff use a number of criteria, both quantitative and qualitative, to evaluate collections and their benefits to the SU community.

These criteria include:

  • Relevance to SU curriculum.
  • Relevance to research and creative work at SU.
  • Feedback from users.
  • Duplication or overlap with other databases and full text sources.
  • Usage statistics, which may include number of times a resource was used, what content was used, which resources were clicked on most frequently from our site, and more.
  • Platform usability issues such as accessibility, navigation, and resource downtime.
  • Overall cost, as well as renewal increase cost per year.
  • Contribution to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Feedback

For questions about a particular resources, or to share feedback on how you benefit from something within the Libraries’ collection, please contact your subject librarian or use the Give Collections Feedback form. For questions about the review process, please contact Anne Rauh, Head of Collections and Research Services at aerauh@syr.edu.