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Engineering Educators And Scholarly Literature: Optimizing Expenditures For Customer Need

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.193.1 - 1.193.8



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Gad Engler

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3541

Engineering Educators and Scholarly Literature: optimizing expenditures for customer need

Gad Engler Louisiana State University

ABSTRACT The purpose of this paper is to provide engineering educators and librarians with a quantitative measure for ranking scholarly journals by relative value for use with cost-benefit analyses. The Serials Redesign Project at Louisiana State University Libraries is a major multi-year attempt to satisfy the actual needs of faculty and students in the face of rising subscription costs and fixed budgets. At the heart of the project is a user survey in which faculty have been requested to list titles that they individually need for research and teaching, and to indicate their choice between in-house subscription and electronic document delivery. In this paper we analyze preliminary results of the survey for the eight departments that constitute the LSU College of Engineering. Based on data provided, recommendations are made for identifying and deselecting the least valuable titles.

KEY WORDS cost-benefit analysis, collection management, engineering education, academic libraries, engineering research, document delivery, journal subscription.

INTRODUCTION: THE PROBLEM AND ITS POSSIBLE SOLUTION The traditional approach to the management of collections of journals and other serials has aimed at the ideal of a good collection. The librarian would, for example, consult engineering educators regarding the technical quality of articles published in particular engineering titles. Another method for building a "good collection" could involve the study of subscription lists of prestigious collections1 ( p.179.) One implication of following the ideal of a good collection is that some titles may be deemed crucial to the quality of the collection, even if faculty and students do not need them. Financially, this means that acquisition budgets need to be sufficiently high to accommodate subscriptions that go beyond actual need.

During the past decade, the total acquisitions budget of Louisiana State University Libraries has remained essentially fixed. Ever-rising subscription costs have forced repeated rounds of serials reviews and subsequent cancellations. Faculty have been provided with lists of serials in their area on which they marked their selections. Decisions have tended to reflect departmental views of what a good collection should include. As the number of subscriptions dropped, faculty frustration has risen. Unless additional monies are made available, it is clear that the traditional ideal must be replaced with a focus on the actual needs of the user and

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Engler, G. (1996, June), Engineering Educators And Scholarly Literature: Optimizing Expenditures For Customer Need Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6027

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