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January 2008 Archive of Comments

  • Jan 8, 2008: Purchase of Journal of Wildlife Management through JSTOR

    I understand that the archives of the Journal of Wildlife Management are now available through JSTOR. As you know, VT has a highly regarded wildlife program (College of Natural Resources) and this is a key journal in this field. It is also valuable for students in the Biological Sciences Department (College of Science). I hope you will consider subscribing to the JWM archives through JSTOR.

    Thank you for your suggestion about JSTOR, which was forwarded to me as head of collection development. We would love to subscribe to the Biology collection, and have been carrying it for some time on the list of resources to be acquired whenever possible. As you may know, it's not possible to cherry pick titles within JSTOR, so that the only way to get JWM would be to buy that entire collection.

    The impediment has been budget. There are many other items of high priority that we should long since have acquired for our research faculty, but instead we have been losing ground, with a decline in our funding relative to peer institutions and a severe inability to keep up with the costs of even our existing resources. This past year we cancelled 598 serials, made further compromises in our access to journals from John Wiley and Taylor & Francis, and cut book-buying in half. The university administration, Faculty Senate, and the deans are well aware of the problem. At least for FY08 we, alone with the VT Police, were spared actual budget cuts.

    The particular problem with the JSTOR sets is that relative to the first few collections they have sold, they have changed their pricing from heavy front-loading to steeper annual fees, so that one pays year after year, in perpetuity, for the same content. This would not necessarily stop us from adding JSTOR libraries if the overall picture were more sanguine.

    We do of course have JWM electronically from 2004 forward via Bio1, and we have a full run in paper. But I know, oh I do know, nothing beats a full run in digital format.

    I don't want to leave you with the impression that we don't welcome suggestions such as yours. On the contrary, I wish more of our users would give us specific indicators of what they are missing and would like to see us add. I hope your visit at Tech proves useful and enjoyable.

    Paul Metz, Director of Collection Management

    Additional comments
    Thank you for this very rapid and very informative response, though of course, it isn't the news I'd hoped for. In fact, I didn't know about the JSTOR "buy-one-buy-all" policy, and didn't know about their annual pricing practices. I am a visiting assistant (read "part-time") faculty member here in the National Capital Region. In my "real" job, I run a consortium of eleven scientific societies. Though we are not engaged in the business or publications aspects of those societies, I am certainly aware of their discussions about publication practices. I recall that when one of them considered JSTOR, they were told that the contract would not require exclusivity. In other words, they could offer their archive in other ways. I don't know if JSTOR still has that policy. It could be that they made that offer to that particular society, because that society's archives were already available online (for free) as were the archives of all the ornithological societies in the U.S., and JSTOR would rather have had their non-exclusive business, perhaps to enhance the overall value of JSTOR, than not at all. Who knows?

    In any case, I certainly do understand the dilemma. I've forwarded your message to the publications manager at The Wildlife Society, with a suggestion that if the JSTOR contract is NOT exclusive, perhaps they could look into other ways of making the archives available to libraries at a lower cost. Certainly for VT, with nationally known programs in biology and wildlife sciences, having this key journal is important.

    Thanks again for your feedback, and I do hope that as the electronic journal publishing situation continues to evolve, we will see an expansion in accessibility.

  • Jan. 14, 2008: Outdated Webster's Dictionary

    The Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Ref PE 1625 W36 1981 c.7 Ref Room): would like to request a protective container or sleeve for it. It is beginning to deteriorate.

    Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. I passed your note on to our bibliographer for Social Science Reference, and he has agreed to replace the dictionary in question with a newer 2002 edition. It should arrive in a couple of weeks. Input on matters of this kind are always appreciated.

    Buddy Litchfield, Research & Instructional Services Librarian

  • Jan. 25, 2008: Praise for ILL

    In the past few weeks, I have been working on a research project that requires me to request many old dissertations through the ILL office. They have been great in seeking out all sorts of dissertations from a wide variety of libraries for me. They deserve kudos for doing a really good job!

    I saw your note about the good support you are gettiing from the ILL office for old dissertations. Thanks so much for letting us know how much you appreciate their work. Good luck with your project.

  • Jan 28, 2008: Drop box by Randolph Hall?

    I am a faculty staff at AOE and my office is in Randolph Hall. As you know, there are several departments close to AOE such as Mathematics, department of Education, Civil, Mining, ESM, ME, and CE. I think It would be very convenient for us if you could put a drop box near Randolph Hall.

    Thanks for your note. We do have 3 drop boxes around campus and a drop box outside of the library entrance. There are no plans as of now to add additional boxes. During the summer the library will be experiencing some renovations and the drop situation may be revisited. Several issues that have to be considered in adding drop boxes are the ease of access for patrons using the box as well as the van that has to stop and gather items returned. We also have to consider the staffing issue for the van driver.

    Again, this may be talked about later.

    Brenda Pratt, Head, Circulation Department

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