UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON LIBRARIES
February 11, 1999
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 a.m. at the Morris Inn dining room by chairman, Harvey Bender. Jo Bessler volunteered to take brief minutes in Melodie Eiteljorge's absence.
Jo Bessler reported that a member of the Libraries' System's staff has developed a new log-on process to speed access to the online catalog from the library's public work stations. After a review by the User Services department heads, technical staff will quickly begin loading this process on selected public work stations. Because this loading must be done on a station by station basis, the implementation will be scheduled over several weeks.
Jennifer Younger announced that thanks to the initiative of Carole Richter and Maureen Gleason, the Library has been accepted as a member of NERL, the Northeast Research Libraries Consortium. This Consortium is primarily devoted to securing licenses for electronic products.
Harvey Bender suggested that there should be a White Paper describing the advantages/disadvantages of NERL and/or of consortial relationships in order to alert the campus community to the value of such groups. Jennifer agreed this would be useful and she will pursue this job.
Jennifer Younger described recent progress on library renovation planning. The architects have met with individual department heads and are gathering data on staff space needs. They will do a rough draft of a master plan which will sketch possible space allocations for collections, staff, and users in very broad strokes. Although the master plan will design the use of space only in the Hesburgh Library, the allocation within Hesburgh will take into account the needs of the branch libraries for housing collections or services.
Maureen Gleason is coordinating the Library's efforts to estimate collection growth for space planning. An essential issue is the future distribution of resources between print and electronic format, which is the reason for putting a discussion of faculty and student use of electronic resources on the agenda.
A list of some of the Library's electronic journals was distributed as background information.
The discussion started with the question of to what extent can e-journals substitute for print?
Faculty mentioned they use electronic journals and appreciate the convenience of desktop delivery. However, the Library needs to do more on two fronts - publicizing the e-journal titles to which we have access and acquiring titles now available in e-format.
The value of e-journals varies from discipline to discipline. In many disciplines, the premier journals are not yet available in e-format or (if so) are not yet listed as "owned" by the library in that format. It would be helpful to track use on a title by title basis.
Jennifer asked what governs the continuing need for access to journals in print when they are available electronically? Habit plays a role but so does type of use. People find it easy to browse through print volumes. In many cases, users rely more on electronic access when searching for a specific article than they do when browsing through many volumes of a serial. Also, the quality of what is being read can differ between print and electronic. Sometimes, the images and graphics are not clear on-line; the quality depends on one's individual viewing /printing equipment. Down-loading is very time-consuming and may be a factor in using an item already in print.
For future use of information in electronic format, printing is a key factor, particularly quesitons of cost. Who's printing? When? Where? Who's paying?
There is no decrease yet in the number of print monographs and serials. The number of print titles may be growing at a slower pace than in the past, but certainly there is no overall decrease yet in print titles.
In the long term future, the preservation of digital data is a concern. There will be large scale needs for refreshing data. We expect that professional societies and organizations acting on behalf of libraries and universities will play a role in archiving electronic information.
The preservation of data links between systems will demands more coordination and resources than any one library can supply, requiring that archiving in the future be done cooperatively and consortially.
Committee members discussed the impact of electronic access on the quality of research. All see students relying on e-literature and believe that faculty and librarians must help students evaluate sources. The question arose whether scholars will only care about e-citations and other forms of publications will be over-looked. Others believed that researchers will be guided first by the reputation of the journal, not by its format. Electronic versions of journal titles may replace all backruns of journals. All foresaw a future with mixed formats, fewer print serials, and more space for teaching and using electronic resources.
As the meeting ended, Maureen Gleason answered a few inquiries about specific publishers and titles--highlighting the fact that the price for e-access is affected by a library's paper subscriptions, number of users, and involvement in consortia.
The meeting ended at 8:45.
Return to Director of Libraries Page