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Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate » December 7, 1999

Library Committee

December 7, 1999


Members Present:  Leahy, Landis, Beach, Horne, Judd, Armer, Rubert, Twohy, Butcher, Larson
Absent:  Yu

The meeting began with round-the-table introductions. New to the Committee is Mark Larson of the Crop and Soil Science Department. Also joining this meeting as guests were the two new Associate University Librarians, Bonnie Allen and Catherine Murray-Rust. Rita Leahy announced that Larry Landis of Archives would be stepping in as Chair of this Committee when Rita departs at the end of the year. Review of the Minutes. Leahy asked for any changes or revisions to the Minutes of the last meeting. A question was asked about the statement concerning $2 million for Athletics on page 4. Clarification and discussion followed about the university budget. Bonnie Allen, Associate University Librarian for Access, Collections and Technical Services spoke to the group, outlining her area of oversight at the Library. Her responsibilities cover every aspect of the Library's collections -- access to it, collection development, and technical services, or the business end of the library. One issue she is currently working on is trying to determine if the Library can afford to buy the "Web of Science". She indicated this is an extremely expensive electronic database that covers social sciences, science, and arts and humanities, produced by ISI. The cost at a consortium level for three databases of science, social science, arts and humanities is in the range of $150,000. That is the initial buy-in, the sustaining cost after the first year will be around $60,000 to $70,000. The Library is now part of a consortium formed to try to get a better price for the batch files and the current indexes. Catherine Murray-Rust, Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Innovative Technologies, then introduced herself to the group. She explained that she is responsible for public services at the Library that is defined as reference and instruction, which includes the Information Commons, and government information and maps. It does not include circulation, reserves, and interlibrary loans. Murray-Rust is also responsible for special collections and library technology. One of the issues Murray-Rust said she is working on is furnishing the Information Commons, which is not completely finished. She stated there is an urgent need for many more computers. One solution she is investigating is using thin-client technology. She explained this amounts to a big server that runs 30-50 dumb clients. No computing is done at the client end; the server does it all. Murray-Rust indicated that the Library would take part in a test project next term. Tangent computers have made an offer of a 3-month pilot project. Other issues Murray-Rust is working on are looking at the configuration of the service desks and finding remedies for the absence of adequate signage in the building. She will also begin to work on digital libraries. Of particular interest are the Pauling papers in Special Collections that are in digital form. Catherine also mentioned another possibility is a collection of Oregon watershed data that could be digitized. Library ARL status. Karyle Butcher indicated no progress has been made yet. She is still waiting to see if ARL will change the membership criteria. ARL is trying to develop standards that will include electronic access, major collections, major services, etc. They should be doing a final report to come out in January, and Butcher stated she would go from there. There was some discussion on this topic including criteria for status, member institutions, and adding quasi collections to the count, such as Vet Medicine, etc. Collection Assessment. Bonnie Allen told the group that collection assessment is a process of evaluating every aspect of the libraries' print collection. This method consists of looking at the collection in depth -- getting a physical description and median age of our collection, comparing it to stated bibliographies within each discipline and evaluating that against where our curriculum is going. Evaluators look at the level of instruction we have at doctoral, masters, and undergraduate level, and the kind of research done at the university and come up with a coded level that ranges from minimal to comprehensive at a 1 to 5 scale. This process began in February last year, and the intent is to complete the social science and humanities assessment by the end of December. Allen stated they are in the process of writing summary reports on each discipline that will be arranged according to the academic departments. Where disciplines cross more than one area, they have been evaluated by more than one person. The subject specialist who works in that area has been asked to come up with an overall view of that discipline. The other aspect of this project is the acquisitions level where they look at how much the Library is spending in each discipline - how much is published - and coming up with the same kind of scale level. The final aspect is looking at the data in terms of where the Library's collection fits relative to what's published and what is needed. Allen will be spending quite a bit of time over the break getting reports completed for the social science and humanities, and expects to complete the sciences by the end of winter term. Karyle Butcher stated she was very proud of everyone who worked on the collection assessment. She added that this is a very time-consuming process and is a great deal of work. She also added that the goal of Allen, Murray-Rust and herself is to get out on campus to hear what people say about where they think the Library should be headed. Also, they will be looking at the catalogue to see where the university thinks we're going. Budget Update. Gary Beach distributed some handouts. One was a summary document that Rob Specter presented to the Faculty Senate last month. Beach explained that the Library enhancement of $306,300 shows an increase over last year's budget. Last year the Faculty Senate approved a recommended increase in the Library's budget of 2% and 4% of the total OSU budget, which within three biennium's, would effectively double the Library's budget. In six years, the Library is supposed to be at around $14 million dollars, as compared to where it is now, just under $8 million. In order to get the Library there in six years, that would be over a million dollars a year and this year we only have $300,000. Beach went on to say that given the status of the current budget, the Library did very well this year. There is still a 2% holdback on all academic units and it doesn't look like there will be sufficient revenue coming in for the rest of this fiscal year to cover that 2%. Departments will be taking some reduction in their total budget. Beach also stated that he was somewhat optimistic that the amount of money set forth for the Library will increase in future years. Karyle added that the Library's general fund money is status quo, but the overall budget is less because they don't have carry-over funds or independent funding. She indicated that journals have gone up another 10%, and they do have this additional $306,000 in new money, but if we wash this into journals we wouldn't get anywhere. The struggle we are having is, do we just keep going with increases? Every piece of money we get will go into journals and we still won't be able to afford them. Butcher stated that she didn't think it was smart to take that $300,000 and just buy back-fill. That's why Library administrators keep flirting with the Web of Science because it would be a benefit - but as Bonnie told you, it's a big ticket item. The other thing the Library is struggling with is what to do with expensive titles. One university got a list of the high-rolling titles, and they said "anything that has gone up x amount, we are cutting." So, you lose high rollers, but you are enabled to keep up with inflation. This strategy is an important one, but we need to talk it through - what will people bear? You can cut journals, you can fund them and not do anything else, you can cut books, you can cut staff - but even if we fired a lot of librarians, we still wouldn't make up the 10% increase. It's about $350,000 just to stay even. Butcher went on to explain that the Elsevier science titles go up 10% every year. There is no justification for this, but they can do it because they hold us hostage for this information - primarily science titles. Some researchers rely on these science journals, so we can't cut them. Karyle also stated that the Library was trying to go to more electronic information. "We could say we won't subscribe to anything in paper - we did that already with History, but they got upset because there was some information that got dropped from the electronic version, so we had to reinstate it." Butcher indicated she didn't believe the library's budget would increase to $14 million in six years - "so how do we want to handle these increases? The traditional way is to cut serials, but if we take any new money and put it into serials, we will not have moved forward one inch. No new journals, no new nothing - no assessment will make any difference. We need to come up with some strategy or decisions." Butcher remarked, "We could test them on you, the Committee, and you could take this to your departments - and maybe we could take our money and really move the library forward. We would need the Library Committee closely behind us, and then go to the Faculty Senate." Butcher also said, "We need help from you, the Committee members, in helping people understand the seriousness of this situation." Additional ideas put forth during this discussion were: - Can we collaborate with other institutions? You buy this, we'll buy that and we'll share. - Drop the paper, we'll have it on electronic. After some discussion on various fundraising ideas for the library, it was decided the group would form a subcommittee to look into this issue. Steve Rubert, Karyle Butcher and David Horne will plan to meet in the future to talk about fundraising ideas. The next meeting date for this Committee will be determined in January.
Minutes recorded by Marcia Griffin