Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Literature of Acquisitions in Review, 2004-7

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Literature of Acquisitions in Review, 2004-7

Article excerpt

This review covers the literature of acquisitions from 2004 through 2007. The purchase of electronic resources continued to grow, especially for e-journals. E-books gained more attention with a variety of pricing models emerging, many of which were similar to print purchase plans or a modification of e-serial plans. The electronic resource management (ERM) of subscriptions and licensing became a major concern as the acquisition of these items continued to grow. Many libraries developed local ERM applications while vendors began developing commercial ERM systems. The Digital Library Federation (DLF) Electronic Resources Management Initiative (ERMI) emerged as a major step in the development for ERM system standards. Many libraries expressed dissatisfaction with some of the new pricing models for e-journals, especially the Big Deal packages, as libraries were caught between budget reductions, price increases, and complex license agreement terms. Budget and the allocation of funds remained a frequent topic in the literature. With the transition from print to electronic versions, acquisitions staff required more support and new resources. Workflows changed as acquisition units and technical services departments reorganized to accommodate the growth of electronic resources.


This literature of acquisitions review is the continuation of the authors" review covering the literature published from 1996 through 2003. (1) In the previous review, technology and the Internet were the key themes that brought changes to acquisitions, business practices, and communications. For 2004-7, budgets and budget allocation were a continuing concern, with the literature focusing on the complexity and variability of pricing models. The most significant new topic was the management of electronic resources. As patron demand for these resources grew rapidly, a large portion of library materials budgets was spent acquiring them. The literature revealed that acquiring electronic resources was simpler than managing them effectively.

To identify the significant acquisitions literature published from 2004 through 2007, searches were made through Library Literature and Information Science Full Text and Library, Information Science and Technology Abstracts with Full Text databases for articles and books. In addition, searches using more specific terms related to acquisitions were made of selected library journals. Citations and abstracts were reviewed for possible inclusion in the review. Searches were limited to scholarly journal articles, conference proceedings, reports, and books in English. Every attempt was made to find literature relating to any aspect of acquisitions; however, the authors concede that some works may have been overlooked. For those articles selected, the papers were retrieved and reviewed in detail. The selected articles then were grouped by topics to establish an outline for presentation. For those papers that bridged more than one topic, an effort was made to put them under the topic that was most prominent. Some literature fell outside the major themes identified or was peripheral to the topics; these were excluded from the review.

Budgeting and Allocating Funds

Fund allocation became a critical part of budgeting and acquisitions work as budgets shrank and material costs rose. Most libraries used a local method to allocate the materials budget across subject areas. Many allocation formulas were based on historical variables and annual adjustments that no longer fit the needs of libraries' current acquisitions.

Wu and Shelfer performed a formula fitness study on their library's budget allocation formula to determine its fit. (2) The authors' research indicated that the traditional factors used in building a fund allocation formula were not always consistent because of changes in the source of the data, availability of data, and weights given to the variables. Wu and Shelfer recommended that libraries perform a formula fitness review regularly as a part of their self-study. …

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