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Database and Journal Subscription Changes: July 2014

University Librarian's Message to the Community


As you may have heard, we in the Libraries are conducting a review of our ongoing journal, e-journal, and database subscriptions.

In the coming months, we will be identifying candidates for cancellation. This is necessitated by the fact that we currently have *no budget* for book purchases in this fiscal year, outside of a few restricted endowment funds. In short, our electronic serials budget has “eaten” our book budget, and more.

Below, at the end of this message, you will find a list of journal titles we have reviewed to date. The list indicates whether each is to be cancelled, renewed, or is still under review.

Briefly stated, here is an explanation of what led to this situation:

- - Prices for serial subscriptions (journals, e-journals, databases, etc.) have been rising on average by 5% per year -- far in excess of the rate of inflation. Some publishers -- notably those in the STEM disciplines -- would like to see even greater increases out of their academic library customers.

- - The business model of serials publishing has changed as journals move from paper to electronic. Journals are primarily bundled into large, expensive packages of electronic content. Often, libraries cannot subscribe to individual titles, but must instead buy giant databases.

- - Amid these rising costs, the Libraries' "operating" budget for acquisitions has remained flat for at least the past three fiscal cycles. At the same time, the province has ended its supplementary Graduate Studies funding, which for three years has paid for big-ticket science content -- a cost that must now be absorbed into the regular budget.

- - In the past year, the loonie has fallen from parity with the US dollar to around ninety cents US. The overwhelming majority of our non-Canadian acquisitions are priced in US dollars.

Librarians have identified sufficient titles to enable us to “break even.” In the absence of new budget allocations, however, further serial cuts will be necessary in order to acquire books. Some will be painful for all of us... you, students, and the Libraries.

As always, we welcome your comments, and we will take them into consideration as we work toward restoring balance in our library acquisitions of serials and books. I invite you to make your concerns, questions, and ideas known by contacting your subject liaison librarian or me.

Regards, and thanks for listening,

- - mt

[July 2014]

Your Comments

We welcome your comments and invite you to make your concerns, questions, and ideas known by contacting your subject liaison librarian or the University Librarian, Marc Truitt