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Thursday, November 6 • 11:30am - 12:15pm
The Buck Stops Here: Assessing the Value of E-book Subscriptions at Columbia University Libraries

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This paper builds on the ideas presented in The Future Landscape of E-Book Programs at Columbia University Libraries (Charleston Conference 2013, poster session). The objective is to describe an assessment methodology used at Columbia University Libraries which evaluated the cost-benefit of subscribed e-book collections. By appraising several databases, we were able to analyze cost and usage to determine the actual value of these resources. This work involved conducting cost and overlap analyses as well as examining usage data which identified common usage trends. The method was applied on two separate occasions in the Collection Development department and the Science and Engineering Division Libraries between January and May of 2014. In both cases, the method provided actionable results and has standardized e-book evaluation and negotiation tactics across campus. This is an ongoing initiative that will help us document the e-book landscape and build data sets that will inform collection development decisions.

The outcomes of this study yielded a savings of approximately $70,000 for the 2015 fiscal year. Since we worked with subscription packages, the savings will be ongoing and allowed us to evaluate how to allocate resources to best support the needs of the user community. In both cases, we spoke to the vendor and found opportunities for price negotiation and discussions related to platform performance. We hope evidence provided in this assessment project will offer librarians new negotiation strategies when evaluating their own e-book collections and determining how to allocate resources. It also demonstrates the importance of advocating for standardized usage statistics from vendors and publishers. We also hope to solicit feedback from the audience to further refine the methodology and determine how it can be successfully applied in other library environments.

avatar for Melissa Goertzen

Melissa Goertzen

Collection Development Analysis & Support Librarian, Columbia University Libraries
I am the Collection Development Analysis & Support Librarian at Columbia University. Much of my work involves monitoring budgets, examining business models, and analyzing workflows. In 2016, I completed a two year assessment project that examined how e-books are used for research... Read More →
avatar for Krystie Wilfong

Krystie Wilfong

Collection Assessment and Analysis Librarian, Columbia University
Krystie is the Collection Assessment & Analysis Librarian for the Science and Engineering division of Columbia University Libraries. She received her B.A. from Gettysburg College in 2008 and her M.L.I.S. from the Palmer School of Library and Information Science in 2013. Previously... Read More →

Thursday November 6, 2014 11:30am - 12:15pm EST
Magnolia Room, Courtyard Marriott 125 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401