Friday, May 16, 2008

Open J-Gate

Also recently mentioned on a listserv is Open J-Gate, which bills itself as the "World's biggest Open Access English Language Journals Portal" and includes 4386 journals. I feel like I must have known about this at one time, but there is just so much information out there that I cannot keep track of it all. I am more familiar with the Directory of Open Access Journals, which contains 3365 journals.

For any of you out there not affiliated with an academic institution, these are both great resources when doing research.

Why Libraries Pay More for Journals

Just why exactly do libraries have to pay institutional prices for journals, which are often many times the prices of individual subscriptions? Why can't we just have professors/patrons who are already getting individual subscriptions donate them to us when they are finished?

There's been an interesting discussing on COLLIB about these very questions, and I have to confess that while I knew that this is what we did - pay institutional prices - I never knew exactly why. One of the posters on the listserv pointed out this great article about the reasons behind the institutional fees. Apparently journal publishers are using differential pricing to make up their necessary costs. That is, they cannot make enough money to sustain their business off individual subscription fees, so they make up the difference by also including institutional fees. So why don't libraries just try to pay the individual price? It would be considered fraud.

As to the question about professors/patrons donating journals, the article states that this is an acceptable practice. However, it's far less reliable - a professor make not have time to read each issue during busy semesters and may hold on to them for a while, issues may get lost before they can be donated to the library leaving the library with no recourse to obtain the issue, and so on.

So, good to know, but I'm still not sure the 10-15% increase we commonly see in journal subscription prices each year is necessary. And the higher the prices go, the more libraries will have to cut back on their subscriptions.. which will cause the prices to continue to skyrocket in a never-ending cycle. I know my library will be looking very seriously at its journal holdings this summer and making some significant cuts.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Keep your Faculty Up-To-Date!

Show Your Faculty Some Love #4: Keep them Up-To-Date

One of the difficult things to accomplish is keeping faculty up-to-date on all the resources and services the library has to offer. We send email notices, but when sent en masse, do they read them? We send around newsletters, but do those get read? How do we make the information relevant to each person, easily digestible, and quickly imparted?

At my previous institution, Andrew and I presented at the Fall Faculty Conferences two years in a row (and hopefully this will continue to be a yearly opportunity there). These sessions were less than an hour in length. They were part of a conference at the college that faculty were already required to attend. There were several sessions that ran concurrently, and the library's update session was one of those. And it worked. We quickly covered all the changes that had taken place in the library, mentioned some extremely useful services that do not get much use, tried to point out which disciplines (and therefore which faculty) would most benefit from new resources and services, and more. It was quick, it was part of a pre-existing requirement for the faculty, it was relevant, and, I hope, it was entertaining.

Will I have the opportunity to do this at my current institution? Perhaps not. Which means I will just have to continue to find more ways to reach the faculty here.

To read other articles in the Show Your Faculty Some Love series, click here.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

We all love free stuff

Show Your Faculty Some Love #4: Free Stuff!

Let's face it, everyone loves free stuff. Even when they have no idea what they are going to do with it. At my previous institution, we had pens made with the Library's information on them. We sent the pens, along with OhioLINK sticky notes and a short memo, to all faculty. It was appreciated. We also gave them out to all the first year students, and to the students in many of our one-shot instruction sessions. We got at least one comment about the pens being everywhere on campus.

We also had mugs which we gave to new faculty. They seemed to like them, although I recall that they had received other free stuff the same day (it was during their orientation), so it was less exciting.

But free stuff. Always a good thing. We are hopefully going to get pens made at my current Library this summer to give out in the Fall.

To read other articles in the Show Your Faculty Some Love series, click here.