Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Both Just-in-Time and Just-in-Case: The Demand-Driven-Preferred Approval Plan

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Both Just-in-Time and Just-in-Case: The Demand-Driven-Preferred Approval Plan

Article excerpt

Approval plans and demand-driven-acquisition (DDA), also known as patron-driven acquisition (PDA), have come to be known as opposing methods of library collection building. With a focus on setting parameters so that books will be acquired soon after publication, but before a user expresses an actual need, approval plans are rooted in a just-in-case model. By contrast, libraries using DDA methods only acquire materials when users directly access or request them, and so, DDA epitomizes a just-in-time approach. However, a hybrid approach, essentially a demand-driven-preferred approval plan, can enable libraries to provide access to more content at a lower overall cost. While approval plans enable libraries to purchase monographs which they then own, DDA plans allow libraries to tailor a grouping of unowned items that library users may access, with the library only expending funds when an item is used. As Alison Scott noted, "The technical innovations that have enabled DDA to flourish have allowed for a harmony to develop between these seemingly conflicting collection development philosophies (just-in-case versus just-in-time)." (1)

Pollak Library at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) has taken advantage of those technical innovations and developed a DDA-preferred approval plan. It is common for an approval plan to be print preferred, paperback preferred, or e-book preferred, meaning that when a book is slated to be sent to a library on the basis of an approval profile, the preferred format is provided if it is available. If the preferred format is unavailable, the approval plan dictates if another format, such as a print book rather than an e-book, will be provided. The library still receives the needed content, though it may not be in the library's most desired format. A DDA-preferred approval plan simply means that the library prefers titles eligible for DDA, but will accept and purchase other formats if necessary. If a title can be added to a pool of available DDA titles rather than purchased outright, it will be, but if it is only available for outright purchase, then it will be purchased. After reviewing the inherent differences and similarities between approval plans and DDA methods, this paper details Pollak Library's transition to a DDA-preferred approval plan and provides evidence that the method enables access to more content at a lower cost.

Literature Review

Approval Plans

Noting that faculty, a recognized and influential group of academic library users, often selected library materials before the use of approval plans, Nardini states, "Approval plans killed patron selection." (2) However, when approval plans first began, the intention was not to kill selection, but to lessen its necessity by ensuring that the library would already own desired materials by the time users needed them. While approval plans and DDA are viewed as opposites, when approval plans were first utilized in the 1960s, their goal was very similar to what we currently refer to as DDA. For example, Abel, whose company introduced the first approval plans, notes, "By virtue of the fact that the approval plan automatically sends into a library all books, or information on them, immediately upon publication, the books needed by faculty, research staff, and/or students are available upon their first perception of that need." (3) As DDA enables libraries to provide access to large pools of content that it may not have acquired otherwise, this notion of having content available at a user's first perception of need is also associated with DDA.

The basic structure of the approval plan is that a library will create a profile stipulating the types of materials that the library would like to receive, and when a book fits those criteria, either the book or information about it will be sent to the library. Library staff then review the materials and choose to either purchase or return them. Abel originally considered the libraries' internal review, in which librarians examine each book received and either reject or approve it, to be integral to the approval process. …

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