Author Archives: jtoth

Major Library Acquisitions for FY10

The library purchases most of its big-ticket items in June, the end of the fiscal year, after invoices for expenditures have been received and paid, when we know precisely what’s left to spend. In May, we sort through requests to purchase databases, journals and other resources and rank them by need as best as we can; we also review low-use subscription resources to determine if we may cancel any to clear space in this account for new acquisitions. (At present, there are two ways to acquire a new subscription database: to cancel an old one or to reduce the book fund permanently by the cost of the new database.) Here are big-ticket items acquired last June for FY10:

Periodicals Archive Online Collection Extensions.
PAO is an archive of hundreds of digitized, full-image articles published in journals of the arts, humanities and social sciences, providing access to more than 200 years of scholarship. Earliest PAO journals begin in 1802; we advanced coverage of this collection by five years, from 1995 to 2000.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Popular Music Online. The 10-volume Encyclopedia of Popular Music is a comprehensive reference work devoted exclusively to popular music. In addition to being regularly updated, it will also be fully cross-searchable with Grove Music Online in the new Oxford Music Online gateway.

Godey’s Lady’s Book Folios. Godey’s Lady’s Book, a 19th century magazine for women, was the most successful women’s magazine in the United States by the outbreak of the Civil War, with a circulation of 150,000 and an estimated readership of a million persons. We acquired folios VII (1886-1889) and VIII (1892, 1893, 1896) to complete the run of this publication.

–Joe Toth

How We Build Collections

To cope with the recent economic decline, the College asked all units to cut operating budgets by 5% last winter, followed by news that FY10 budgets would at least be flat-funded, a de facto roll back. Since the library hasn’t experienced such deep cuts in decades–if ever–we thought it would be useful to state how we prefer to build collections in the midst of smaller fund accounts and modest prospects for budget growth.

By obligation, the Library collects information resources to support the curricular needs of the College’s academic departments. We strive to provide relevant materials for established programs and to assemble, to the extent possible, retrospective core collections for new College-sponsored academic initiatives. Collection subjects reflect the undergraduate curriculum, and collection developers are informed by class enrollments, intensity of use, new course offerings, and areas of study which must be supported by strong local holdings.

The primary way we build subject collections is by acquiring materials we think will be used by those teaching and taking courses presently offered by the College. This process is a year-by-year layering of new course materials upon older ones, perhaps best described as follows: in year one, professor X (in addition to her textbook order) submits requests to the library for books that augment required readings for a course she is currently teaching; in year two, professor X submits requests for additional books that further augment readings for this same course. Over the years, as X continues to teach this course, the library steadily shapes a collection around this curricular subject. We try to avoid the opposite approach, to expend large sums of money on a single course all at once, because creating an “opening day” collection means significantly reducing acquisitions in other subjects, and because by having sustained curricular activity drive collecting levels, we’re advancing collections incrementally according to needs of students and teachers.

–Joe Toth

LIS Acquires an ILL Digitization System

Submitted by Joe Toth

LIS has acquired from DLSG ( a digitization system that will simplify and speed up interlibrary loan processing. It consists of a Bookeye 2 Color Planetary Scanner with overhead scan design and scan/print electronics that include auto-focus and book-fold correction to safeguard book bindings and to increase scanning efficiency. The scanner also has automatic centering and border removal, as well as text and photographic scan modes. The second component of the system is BSCAN ILL production capture software designed for interlibrary loan departments. It permits staff to scan, review, and rescan items very rapidly, while its image cleanup features provide optimum image quality. It also reads barcoded loan request sheets and automatically sends scanned articles to requestors through Ariel or ILLiad, a highly desired combining of processing steps will make ILL staffers smile! ILL will use the grayscale and color modes sparingly, as they produce files often too large for libraries to receive; however, since this refurbished machine cost less than a new black and white model with a smaller bed, we thought the additional size and features could be used to support in-house projects. The scanner has a 400 DPI maximum, as it is not the manufacturer’s newest model.

NExpress Plenary Meeting

Submitted by Joe Toth
On Monday, April 13, 2009, LIS will host a meeting of the NExpress library consortium, members of which are Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Middlebury, Northeastern, Vassar, Wellesley, and Williams. This first-ever conference, billed as the NExpress Plenary Meeting, will consist of two rosters of concurrent sessions in which library personnel in units such as cataloging, circulation, and systems meet to discuss topics of importance, and a short opening or closing assembly. We’ve begun planning agendas for unit meetings by convening a group of Midd designates whose chore is to contact NExpress counterparts to solicit subjects. I’ll offer updates as we proceed.This event is significant because it might further forms of collaboration that cause member libraries to save money on material resources; to investigate combining or centralizing work processes now separate and redundant; and to speculate about and perhaps plan for enlarging NExpress’ membership and capacities.

Collections News

The Selection Team (Ellis, Simmons, Toth and Warren) met last week to create a selection plan for the remainder of FY09, given that the materials budget was reduced by 5% at mid-year. About one-time purchases, we discussed developing spending limits per subject, but decided to let the system proceed as is and to monitor spending closely. We’ll meet with Terry and Joy to talk about music purchasing, to better understand why we spend the amount that we do on music. We’d like to know what our peers spend and a bit more about our purchasing spending history. We plan to tighten the reins a bit on DVD purchasing and examine the approval plan profile to crates savings there. With subscriptions, we’ll once again examine serial continuations, standing orders, and databases to identify resources we no longer need.

Alas, all news isn’t bad. We entered into package deal with Sage Publications just before we were asked to reduce our budget. As with several other packages, for a premium over the cost of our subscribed titles (12% = $4455), we receive access to the rest of its journal roster, some 400+ titles. Sage publishes more in the humanities and social sciences than sciences, so we thought this deal would provide strong coverage in areas previous deals somewhat overlooked. This deal was funded mostly through canceling our subscription to Global Books in Print ($3800), a publication kept in-house for use by acquisitions staff. Our thanks to Acquisitions for letting us know they can live without GBIP.