Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Literature of Acquisitions in Review, 2012-13

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Literature of Acquisitions in Review, 2012-13

Article excerpt

Library Resources & Technical Services has published four prior reviews of acquisitions literature covering the period between 1996 and 2011. (1) This installment covers literature published in 2012-13. Dunham and Davis noted that the literature published from 1996 to 2003 reflects an environment seriously disrupted by the implementation of automated systems and the Internet, requiring acquisitions departments to move from paper systems to automated library systems. Print acquisitions job responsibilities were restructured to accommodate electronic resource management. In 2004-7, Dunham and Davis observed that electronic journal (e-journal) purchasing was well underway and becoming increasingly complex, necessitating the development of electronic resource management tools. Harrell characterized 2008-9 as driven by budget reductions with the transition of subscriptions from print to electronic collections. The role of the Big Deal was questioned as library budgets decreased and employee skill sets continued to shift to accommodate electronic publications, especially in the area of negotiation and licensing. Moeller noted that budget constraints continued to shape the literature, which is evident in the interest in Open Access and Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA), and the increasing scrutiny of Big Deals. For the current review period, budget constraints continue to shape the conversation, causing librarians to question the long-term sustainability of big journal deals, seek consortial-level PDA plans to share costs, and implement open source electronic resource management tools instead of subscription based solutions.


The author replicated the research method described in Moeller's 2010-11 literature review. (2) A search in Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA), Web of Science (WOS), and was conducted using the keywords: library and acquisitions. The date range for each search was limited to materials published in 2012-13. Materials were further filtered to only include scholarly materials published in English. The LISA search yielded 544 results, the WOS search yielded 57 results, and the search yielded 134 results. Selected journals and conference proceedings from the Charleston Conference and the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) meetings were systematically reviewed for inclusion in this literature review. The author struggled to find a clear distinction between acquisitions literature and literature covering collection development and e-resources. Despite this challenge, papers focused on purchasing models, supporting workflows, and acquisitions management tools were selected. Papers covering public libraries, secondary school libraries, collection management studies, and gift acquisitions were excluded from this literature review.

Literature Review

The materials considered for this review are primarily peer-reviewed papers, along with relevant columns, interviews, trade publications, conference proceedings, and monographs.

Purchasing Models

Firm Orders

Few studies pertaining to monographic firm orders were published during 2012-13. Tony G. Horava, associate university librarian, Collections, at the University of Ottawa wrote a case study documenting the implementation of a new firm order monographic process using the vendor YBP. (3) Horava noted that a user-centered approach to monographic acquisitions requires that the library develop a workflow to quickly deliver requested books. Economic pressures require that the library use financial and human resources efficiently, reducing the amount of staff involved in fulfillment. In response to these pressures, the librarians at the University of Ottawa decided to implement newly released YBP features to streamline order fulfillment. Advancements in technology allowed the library to partner with YBP to create a more efficient monograph firm order process. …

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