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Serials and Collections Subcommittee

The libraries continue to be confronted by both increases in the cost of published materials and a simultaneous growth in the amount of material published, in electronic as well as traditional print formats. In the last three years, for example, overall expenditures for serials increased by 33%, while subscriptions decreased by almost 6%. In the last two years, the expenditures for monographs increased by nearly 2% but the number of titles purchased decreased by almost 8%, as acquisitions monies were reallocated to address the larger increases in serials prices. Increases in serials prices for 1995 are estimated to average 10.5%. Without the one-time emergency campus allocation of 150 funds in 1993, the picture would have been even more dismal. Of the more than 800 journal subscriptions cancelled last year, two-thirds were of unique holdings. This year fewer journals are targeted for cancellation, in part because the rise in prices for 1994 subscriptions has been less steep, but also because of the realization that the point is being reached where the serials portion of the collection cannot tolerate further cuts and remain adequate for the research and teaching needs of our faculty. Campus administration again has allocated 150 funds for collections and access this year; however, continuing fiscal constraints have placed UW-Madison's 1994 budget increases for acquisitions below the 1994 average increase for CIC universities which range from 0% to 13% and average 6.7%. The total collection budget for the UW-Madison GLS increased by 3.6% in 1993-94.

Two years ago the ULC encouraged the libraries to make available to faculty, through the appropriate selectors, comprehensive lists of journals targeted for cancellation, and plans to continue this practice in the future. The committee also is exploring ways to enhance faculty input in the maintenance and development of core research and teaching collections. In the present environment of stable or diminishing budgets and acquisitions cost increases far exceeding inflation, regular faculty advice to selectors in cancellations and acquisitions decisions is more important than ever.

Ancillary to the consideration of the nature of the collections themselves are issues of preservation and access. Physical preservation of collections--in terms of both deterioration and disappearance of volumes--is an ongoing concern. Circulation policies on campus and their effect on accessibility of materials are being examined. To supplement holdings on campus, increased use is being made of both commercial document delivery services and interlibrary loan and the associated costs and savings are being examined.

It is worth reiterating that the number one concern of the faculty, expressed through the questionnaire distributed in 1993, is completeness of collections. The ULC has presented this view to the Vice Chancellor for Administration and to the Chancellor and will maintain its efforts to achieve this end.



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Last modified July 7, 1998

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