Stellenbosch University Library Service Afrikaans
1.1 Executive summary
1.2 Vision statement
1.3 Statement of the problem
1.4. Proposed solution
Exploration of the environment
In this report on the course and outcomes of the Provision of Access to Information Resources for Clients project, the future provision of service and a financial plan for the defrayal of information resources for the Library Service are formulated, primarily in support of the essential functions of the University as set out in the Strategic Framework for the Turn of the Century and Beyond (2000). The recent strategic planning process of the Library Service, which was based on that of the University, was an attempt:
The development and implementation of information technology, as well as new trends within the scientific communication system (including full-text electronic information, the downloading of scientific articles on servers before publication (pre-print servers)), as well as mergers and takeovers in the international publishing industry, considerably increased the number of challenges with which the Library Service must keep pace. If the value of the rand – thus the increase in the exchange rate – is also added to this, it means that the maintenance of the Library Service’s supply of information resources has become a very expensive item in the annual budget. Furthermore, this report also provides an opportunity for an exercise in which the financial implications of collection development and service provision have been reconsidered at a time when the effective utilisation of all resources should be optimal.
The vision of the Library Service in an e-environment in the face of rapidly developing information technology as well as within the e-campus initiative of the University is:
The cost of maintaining the Library Service’s budget for information resources has become so high as a result of the fluctuating value of the rand, price increases and the new information environment that a decision was taken to draw up a plan for further development as a matter of urgency. This plan had to take into consideration the maximal utilisation of technology and other aids (such as participation in active cooperation in all fields) and to spell out the financial implications of such a plan.
At the end of 2001, the value of the rand declined by more than 50% in relation to the American dollar. The Library Service expressed its deep concern to the Vice-Rector (Research) and, after discussions with interested parties, it was decided that a new financial management model should be developed by the Library Service for it to be able to manage the allocation of funds for information sources more meaningfully in the long and the short term. Paragraphs 3 and 4 of this report, Strategy for the Millennium: Conversion to the Electronic Information Environment, provide the wording of this management model.
An exploration of the environment, by means of examining the literature, market analyses and other projects, was launched by the Library Service in 2002 within the project, Provision for Access to Information Resources for Clients. Amongst others, investigations into the future development of the scientific communication system, the information literacy of the university community and the archiving of electronic information were undertaken. In these investigations, the following aspects brought the most meaningful information to light:
In the determination of this need, it was indicated that journals are the most important source of information for the University’s researchers and that, in all respects, they are viewed as the life-artery for access to research information by academics. The following also came to light:
The information environment and information technology are inseparably integrated and the history of the cooperation between the Library Service and the Information Technology Division goes back to the purchase of the first electronic products for the Library Service. One of the earliest and most important cooperative initiatives was the provision of access to information sources by means of the campus network. Current initiatives include the operationalisation of the Lib-proxy server and, together with this, the use of improved programs, for example Citrix, to make sources that are not accessible via the Internet available by means of the campus network.
It is expected that, to be able to continue to provide an effective service to the campus, the Library Service and the Information Technology Division will continue with strategic cooperation and planning. An example of future cooperation is the Portal Project, to which the library portal software, MetaLib, which was recently purchased by Calico, will be closely linked. Amongst others, the electronic sources to which the Library Service subscribes will be made accessible to registered users from off the campus. This forms part of the single sign-on module of the Portal Project.
Any future technological requirements with regard to initiatives arising from the needs of the Library Service will be planned and implemented in cooperation with the Information Technology Division.
In this project, a list of core journals was compiled by the Library Service in cooperation with all the relevant role players, as well as by taking international findings into consideration where they were applicable and available. The list of core journals represents the view of each different academic environment in relation to what it regards as the most important and less important titles in terms of the requirements of teaching programmes and research.
The available core journal order of preference lists that were received from the departments in connection with the project were used in 2002 for the identification of fringe titles, which led to a number of cancellations.
The core journal project will be dealt with continuously as an annual project of the Library Service and the reviewed core journal order of preference lists will serve as future aid for effective collection building and financial planning.
The conversion to e-journals causes a number of problems for academic libraries, including contractual limitations, price, access limitations, the cost of electronic subscriptions vs. paper subscriptions, archiving, etc.
Despite these problems, in 2002 the Library Service was able to identify 195 titles in terms of this project of which the electronic version was cheaper. The associated saving was €7 950.23 and US$2953.06. At the same time, a number of duplicate titles were cancelled, resulting in a saving of R64 023.
In terms of the financial limitations facing the Library Service, this is the path that the Library Service probably will have to follow every year in order to be able to effectively satisfy the information needs of the university community within these limitations.
During this investigation, it came to light that, according to pilot projects described in the literature, under no circumstances is it more economical to subscribe to fringe journals (i.e. not core journals) rather than to obtain individual articles by means of document delivery services. In the traditional model of subscriptions to journals, the ongoing costs of subscriptions, binding, processing, storage, potential damage and the maintenance of photocopy machines need to be taken into consideration, while the costs related to unmediated and/or article-on-demand document delivery services are once-off per transaction.
In the light of the once-off expense related to unmediated and/or article-on-demand document delivery services, it is more cost-effective to partially apply the savings that are effected through the cancellation of fringe journals to subsidise document delivery services. This is the direction in which the Library Service will increasingly move.
No academic library in South Africa is truly able to be entirely self-sufficient with regard to the provision of information and information resources.
The five tertiary institutions in the Western Cape are members of the Cape Library Cooperative, CALICO. The biggest advantage relating to the cooperation in the region up until now has been cost-free document delivery.
Together with four other consortiums, CALICO forms the Coalition of South African Library Consortia (COSALC). The most successful project of this body is the South African Site Licence Initiative (SASLI), the main objective of which is to negotiate favourable conditions for national site licences for full-text electronic journals, as well as for other electronic sources, for its members. Since its inception, SASLI has saved an amount of approximately R27m by means of agreements for six databases (negotiated for 62 institutions).
The Library Service is also continuously investigating the possibility of obtaining membership of international consortia. At present, it is involved in negotiations for membership, at a fee of $1000 per year, of the New England Library Network (NELINET).
The point of departure for the purposes of planning is the availability of an amount of R35m which was allocated to the Library Service for 2003. The undertaking is that this amount will have zero growth for this period. However, if the exchange rate of the rand is again going to deteriorate as drastically as at the end of 2001 and the start of 2002, it will be beyond the control of these proposals and alternative measures will have to be considered.
The objective of this plan is to exercise efficient control over spending on the maintenance of the collection of information resources in the medium term. It further entails that the latest techniques and methods will have to be applied to continue to ensure optimal access to information resources for users and to thereby actively support the core functions of the University.
The financial plan is contained in a provisional capital budget for 2004 and in a number of recommendations. The recommendations are set out in paragraph 4, together with their target dates as well as the identification of the responsible environments.
* Electronic databases
The departments within the faculties were requested to rank the journals to which they subscribe in order from 1-5, with 1 being the most important and 5 being the least important.
Scenario one is based on the situation that all faculties may subscribe to the journals that they identified as having a rank of 1-3. Titles ranked 4 and 5 are therefore cancelled.
In scenario two, all subscriptions to journals that are ranked 1-4 are permitted. Only those ranked 5 are cancelled.
Scenario three permits ranks 1-5. No cancellations will
therefore take place.
Savings that can be brought about by the maximal elimination of duplicate subscriptions to paper copies and the availability of the titles on electronic databases to which the Library Service already has access were included in the calculations. This figure remains the same for all the scenarios and was calculated in the following manner:
Each title in EBSCOhost was checked against existing paper subscriptions. The other databases to which the Library Service has access, viz. Gale, Emerald and Art Fulltext, will also be examined in a similar manner for duplication and possible savings.
The exchange rate was calculated at the January 2003 rate, at which invoices were paid at that stage.
The allocation for the current year plus 10% for books and R500 000 for VAT was used for each scenario.
If scenario one is accepted, the amount will be R30 565 740. If scenario two is accepted, the amount will be R30 933 000 en in the case of scenario three it will be R31 714 349.
The point of departure for these recommendations is that the Library Service must be positioned as a gateway to e-information, also within the E-campus initiative, and that the expenses related to this must be kept within the available financial parameters.
The recommendations are only applicable to the CAPITAL BUDGET for information resources for the Library Service. The operating budget and the staff budget are not included.
The Library Service would like to recommend that the provisional capital budget for 2004 should be accepted. It should be kept in mind that the figures are only provisional and that they should not be viewed as fixed figures within the total.
It is suggested that the R35 million that was provided for information resources in 2003 should serve as the basis for the rolling plan up until 2005. The exchange rate of January 2003 is taken as the point of departure, but, if the rate should weaken, the necessary adjustments should be made in the following rolling plan. Savings as a result of an improvement in the rate must be dumped into a central fund that can serve as a buffer fund in the case of a possible future weakening in the exchange rate. This will therefore serve as a strategic reserve fund to promote electronic access to information resources.
Target date: 30 September 2003
The list of core journals per department must be viewed as a dynamic, interactive process between the Library Service and the Faculties that is repeated annually and kept up to date. It is to be expected that the list will change continuously and that the costs will differ from year to year.
Target date: Annually 2003, 2004, 2005
The Library Service has accepted a decision in principle to, where possible and financially advantageous, implement the conversion from the paper to the electronic format. The Library Service will therefore continually have to remain up to date with new titles that are available electronically and the databases will have to be intensively evaluated on a regular basis in order to ensure the best coverage at the best price.
During 2002, it was possible to effect a saving of 3.69% on the total budget for journals by means of a number of titles that were identified by the two largest suppliers of journals, viz. EBSCO and Swets. This process needs to be repeated on an annual basis. The lists and prices of the number of journals that will become available electronically in 2003 are not yet available from the suppliers.
Target date for completing the process for 2003: 31 August 2003 for 2004 budget
Responsible environments: Serials Section, Subject and Branch Librarians and Deans
Target date for completing the process for 2004: 31 August 2004 for 2005 budget
Responsible environments: Serials Section, Subject and Branch Librarians and Deans
184.108.40.206 The clients will be 100% dependent on the speed and stability of the campus network.
220.127.116.11 Owners/suppliers of databases could remove and/or add titles and this could lead to losses with regard to core journals that are no longer available on the particular database.
18.104.22.168 The number of staff and students of the University who can obtain access per title is limited and the access for outside organisations is problematic. More possibilities for access can be obtained at an additional cost.
22.214.171.124 No guarantees with regard to archiving are available.
126.96.36.199 Cooperation at the regional level (CALICO) can be influenced negatively, since licensing agreements for databases and access to e-journals exclude outside organisations and paper copies will no longer be available. Interlending is also excluded by some contracts.
To be able to provide access for departments to articles from journals that have to be cancelled as a result of the core journal project, an unmediated document delivery service is suggested. At present, there are 788 permanent lecturers and researchers at the University. If each of these 788 people is allowed to request two articles per semester, provision needs to be made for the requisition and payment of 3152 articles. There are a number of suppliers of such services and the tariff amounts to an average of R250.00 per article, depending on the exchange rate at the date of payment. If this will satisfy the requirements, the cost will amount to approximately R788 000.00 per year. Depending on the subject field the following services can be recommended: Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) Source, Infotrieve, Ingenta, Web of Science, Highwire, ScienceDirect, Pubmed and Linkout. This amount is not indicated in the budget and the faculties will need to make provision for it themselves. It can be financed by reducing the capital budget of the Library Service by this amount.
The role of the Library Service in relation to the above will entail marketing and training and the identification of suppliers. The financial impact will have to be monitored.
Target date: Continuous
The Library Service must obtain membership of NELINET for the 2004 budget year.
Target date: 2004
The Library Service expects that journals for which new recommendations arise will not necessarily be purchased. The Departments will be encouraged to first determine the actual use and need for the title by means of document delivery over a period of two years, for example, after which an informed decision can be made in relation to whether or not the title should be purchased.
Target date: Continuous
It is recommended that a forum for consultation is created in which the management of the different academic environments (the Deans and the Vice-Rectors for Research and Teaching) can provide strategic inputs together with the Library Service in order to ensure the sustainability of a dynamic information environment.
On the basis of the recommendations arising from this report, the US Library Service would like to offer its clients the maximal advantage of the most recent formats of information resources and, in combination with this, achieve optimal effectiveness in the application of the available financial resources. Furthermore, the Library Service undertakes to provide all the academic environments with the necessary training for the optimal utilisation of the changing environment and to thereby continue to provide optimal support for the fundamental functions of the University.
(1) University of Stellenbosch Library Service: Strategy for the Millennium: A new role within the global information world. May 2000, Introduction, p.1. (Senate, 8 June 2001)
(2) The Library Service already provides access to the African Digital Library (ADL). At present, NetLibrary (Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC)) is the largest initiative with regard to access to e-books. The e-acquisitions working group of the Library Service is currently looking at possible future access to NetLibrary. The book collection of the Library Service is being supplemented by an effective national and international interlending system. This service is offered free of charge between university libraries at the national level. Within CALICO, interlending of books is provided by the CALICO delivery service within 24 hours. There is also a courier service from libraries that form part of the Gauteng and Environment Library Consortium (GAELIC). During the annual library audit, academic departments are given an opportunity to indicate specific shortcomings in the book collection. An attempt is also made annually to make funds available to correct the deficiencies that are pointed out during the audit.
Stellenbosch University Library and Information Services / updated