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Strategy and Leadership in the Transition away from Print Roger C. Schonfeld Ithaka Library Assessment Conference August 4, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategy and Leadership in the Transition away from Print Roger C. Schonfeld Ithaka Library Assessment Conference August 4, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategy and Leadership in the Transition away from Print Roger C. Schonfeld Ithaka Library Assessment Conference August 4, 2008

2 Prospects for the Print Transition: Faculty Support the Elimination of Print Current Issues

3 Prospects for the Print Transition: Librarians in Comparison with Faculty

4 Research University Librarians Feel More Imminence Percent agreeing strongly with: “In the near future, it will no longer be necessary for our library to maintain hard-copy versions of journals”

5 What Is Happening Today? JSTOR commissioned Ithaka to examine how academic libraries are handling the format migration, and in particular decisions associated with cancelling and deaccessioning print versions of scholarly journals Visits to fourteen colleges and universities, selected to maximize diversity of size, geography, resource availability Met with a wide range of individuals at each institution, including many librarians as well as, variously, faculty, students, and campus administrators

6 An Unprecedented Format Transition A massive format migration is underway, especially for academic journals and reference materials. Libraries are cancelling print current issues. Libraries are contemplating, and increasingly electing to pursue, widespread deaccessioning of print backfiles. How do their decision-making processes function?

7 1. Data Are Inadequate for Decision-Making Both for print and electronic formats, usage data are generally inadequate to overcome anecdotal arguments. Available usage data are generally organized and analyzed ineffectively. Budgeting practices obscure accurate accounting of cost implications and lead to skewed incentives.

8 2. Local Issues Predominate All aspects of the transition are driven by local mission, values, priorities, and resource-constraints. Budgetary considerations almost uniformly drive print cancellation decisions. Space considerations almost uniformly drive print de- accessioning decisions.

9 3. Urgency, Rather than Strategy, Drives Action When space or budgetary shortfalls compel, cancellations or deaccessions are required urgently. Strategic planning and strategic communication is frequently omitted for such critical issues as: Budgetary priorities; Space allocations; and Preservation and access. When preservation librarians express concern with plans, they are typically removed from the process as barriers. Community-wide considerations are largely omitted.

10 So What? The transition away from print is proceeding relentlessly for scholarly journals, even if libraries engage responsively and community-wide strategy is therefore absent… But – The transition is a unique opportunity to transform our organizations, and it should not be wasted. Opportunity costs matter, and our institutions are relying on us to make efficient use of resources. Preservation risks are grave, and our generation is responsible for any losses during this transition.

11 An Example…


13 Implications and Questions

14 Data Analysis Not only for the transition, but also for other upcoming needs, how can appropriate data be assembled pro-actively so that they are available at the point of need? Budgeting practices guide decision-making, often unconsciously, but are often inherited from previous administrations or reflective of broader campus practices. Can libraries nevertheless implement effective budgetary analysis to permit more sophisticated decision-making?

15 Campus vs. Supra-Institutional Perspectives Community-wide trends can be used to transform organizations strategically. But organizations form part of a system, so can we manage how local organizational change accretes into a new supra-institutional system? On the other hand, several observers have suggested that strategic change should only be driven by local assessment. The national studies reported here are expensive, and if they are not actionable then perhaps resources could be better utilized? And if so, is there any hope for regional or national strategy?

16 Preservation What lessons has our community learned from the newsprint-to- microform transition: should print materials be preserved following their digitization? And if so how to we determine how many to keep, and who to keep them? What is the role of the non-ARL institution in the stewardship of general collections? If their institutions lose access to any key electronic sources, will they have fallen short of their responsibilities? Without local strategic planning, can we be transparent about the contributions we each are planning to make, so that community planning can take place with realistic assumptions built in?

17 Strategy and Leadership in the Transition Away from Print Roger C. Schonfeld Ithaka (212) 500-2338

18 Print Preservation Strategy: Uncoordinated Overlap The need to provide for local access led to vast increases in overlap, which functioned as our preservation strategy. Overlap can function only when more copies are held across the community than are required for minimum preservation purposes. The need for local access is declining, both due to remote electronic access and improved sharing networks.

19 Our Fourteen Participants University of Arizona University of Michigan Albion College Elmhurst College University of Louisville Bellarmine University Berea College College of St. Benedict’s / St. John’s University East Texas Baptist University Vanderbilt University University of Chicago University of Minnesota George Mason University Duquesne University

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