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CMI > Project Background > Mellon Proposal

Mellon Proposal

 

Collection Management Strategies in a Digital Environment
Proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 

Significance of the Proposed Project

Project Overview

Objectives

Project Design

Project Organization

Project Deliverables

Appendix A: Project Timeline (Table)



 

  1. Significance of the Proposed Project.


    The emergence of digital publication as a major force in scholarly communication promises significant benefits for research institutions and their libraries, including the ability to manage the mix of print and digital collections in a way that maintains and enhances service while relieving pressure on overtaxed library stacks and other physical facilities. These benefits will be diminished, however, if libraries are unable to avoid purchasing and housing print materials when digital equivalents are available. This outcome could result from lack of trust in the persistence or reliability of digital publications, or from concerns about the adequacy of digital materials as substitutes for print. The proposed study addresses these concerns by:

    1. Producing objective data on variety of factors, including characteristics of research library users and uses and characteristics of published journal literature, that influence the acceptance of journal publications in digital form as substitutes for their print equivalents; the impact on research library users of dependence on digital versions of scholarly journals;

    2. Assessing the implications of these findings for institutional policies, strategies and obligations for archiving of scholarly journals in print and digital form;

    3. Assessing the implications of these findings for institutional strategies and programs to more effectively manage their print and digital collections.


    4.  
  2. Project Overview.

  3. Due to the pressures of enrollment growth and the need to address urgent seismic safety deficiencies and replace deteriorating campus infrastructure, the University of California has a compelling interest in managing existing library facilities to accommodate continually-growing collections, while relieving demands on its overtaxed capital program. One way to provide such relief is to use digital technologies to assist in managing the library collections developed to support the academic mission of the University. However, uncertainty about technologies, methods and costs of ensuring persistent digital archives means that issues associated with this strategy are not yet resolved. These uncertainties include:
     

    • The means of ensuring the archival persistence of published material in digital form.

    • The costs and benefits of removing print materials from library collections and relying on their digital equivalents.

    • The varied characteristics of research library materials, users, and uses, and the manner in which these factors influence the acceptability of digital publications as a substitute for print.

    •  

    In January 2000, UC's Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Advisory Committee endorsed resolutions supporting the implementation of experiments to increase the University's understanding of strategies for creating a persistent archive of digital collections and the issues for library management of both digital and print materials. While these initiatives are of critical importance to the University of California, the lessons learned are likely to be of considerable interest to the academic and research library communities nationwide. To this end, the University was awarded a six-month planning grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support planning for an initial experiment that involves withdrawing from campuses a sample of journal titles that are represented in our collections in both print and digital formats. During the course of the experiment, faculty and students would rely on the digital versions of these titles to meet their information needs, while the obligation of the UC libraries to provide persistent access to these materials will be ensured by depositing complete runs of these titles in print format in one or both of the University's regional library facilities. The proposal described here is the result of that planning process.

    The project has a planned duration of 24 months and is organized with two overlapping components. The first component (Phases I and II, months 1-18) concentrates on assessing the impact of removing print material from active collections and relying on the equivalent digital publications to meet current demand. This component includes studies of user response, comparative usage of print and digital formats (including print formats relocated to remote storage), and relative costs of processing, storage and use of equivalent print and digital materials. The primary focus of this component is identification of the variety of factors that may influence the acceptability and usability of digital journal publications as substitutes for their print equivalents. The second component (Phase III, months 13-24) builds on the results of Phase II and deals with application of findings to the framing of institutional strategies, policies and programs. This component includes review and reinterpretation of archival policies, obligations and activities in light of the characteristics of the emerging print+digital research collection, framing programmatic strategies for print+digital archiving, and crafting flexible strategies for management of research library collections that are responsive to these strategies as well as to budgetary, technological and facilities constraints and the demonstrated needs of research library users. As these considerations are closely linked to those that have informed the Mellon Electronic Journal Archiving Program, it is expected that the University's work in Phase III will be closely coordinated with the Foundation's electronic journal archiving activities. Work on this phase will begin six months before the completion of Phase II in order to make use of in-progress results of Phase II findings and to help shape the later stages of the Phase II inquiry and data analysis.


     

  4. Objectives

  5. The goal of the project is to explore the complex issues associated with integrating and managing research library journal collections composed of shared print and digital formats when a print copy is located remotely and the user relies primarily on the digital version. The study will evaluate the factors that affect reliance on shared digital resources to relieve pressure on physical facilities and capital budgets to house and manage print materials. The specific objectives are to:

    • Study the behavior and attitudes of users when selected print journals for which electronic access is provided are relocated to a remote storage facility and primary use is of the electronic version, and ascertain the variety of factors affecting the acceptability of digital publications as a substitute for the equivalent print publications

    • Design and test processes for consultation and decision-making for selection, processing, relocation and administrative management of print materials relocated to remote storage

    • Document the costs incurred and avoided for maintaining selected journal titles for which electronic access is provided when paper copies of the journals are relocated to a storage facility and primary use is of the electronic version

    • Document the change in usage of digital and print versions of selected journal titles when print is relocated to storage

    • Assess the institutional implications for library organization and operations, including facilities planning, capital budgeting, systems and resource management

    • Evaluate institutional strategies and policies for archiving of research library materials in a mixed print/digital environment.

       
  1. Project Design

    1. Phase I: Assessing the Characteristics and Costs Affecting the Use of Digital Journal Collections as Substitutes for Print: Consultation and Preparation (Months 1-6). During the first six months of the project, effort will be devoted to consultation with campus constituencies regarding the overall project, selection of titles to be included in Phase II, staff training, processing of materials and other activities required to prepare for Phase II implementation. Titles selected during this portion will also be thoroughly inventoried to create a database recording the extent of holdings at each UC campus, shelf space consumed, content characteristics, prices and other factors.

    2.  
    3. Phase II: Assessing the Characteristics and Costs Affecting the Use of Digital Journal Collections as Substitutes for Print: Controlled Experiment (Months 7-18). The second phase of the project is focused on a controlled experiment designed to test the study hypothesis that effectively shared digital resources can begin to relieve pressure on physical facilities and capital budgets to house and manage print materials.


    4. Experimental Design. To permit comparison of use, cost, and user preferences as between experimental conditions (i.e. storage of print and reliance on digital) and traditional provision of access, we propose to structure the study as a controlled experiment. All UC campuses now have access to the digital versions of titles that are candidates for inclusion in this study. For each title selected for the study, one or more of the campuses that hold the title in print will participate as an "experimental group," and one or more of the campuses that hold the title in print will participate as a "control group." Usage of digital versions for both experimental and control campuses will be tracked continuously using data supplied by the respective publishers/suppliers

      Experimental Group. "Experimental group" campuses will remove print copies of the selected title(s) from their shelves and relocate them to storage; usage of the print copies will be tracked by the storage facilities, which are intended to be the only source of print versions of these titles for the experimental group. Recognizing that some requests for print from experimental campuses may inadvertently be directed to other UC campuses, external institutions, or commercial document suppliers, procedures will be put in place to both control the handling of these requests and capture data on their occurrence. To ensure a valid comparison of print and digital usage as between "experimental group" and "control group" libraries, it will be necessary to remove from campus all print copies of selected titles in "experimental group" libraries, including current issues received during the study period.

      Control Group. "Control group" campuses will retain print and monitor usage of study titles locally. Data on print usage will be supplied by campus circulation systems where circulation of journals is permitted. In-house use of selected titles will be monitored through reshelving counts.

      Criteria for selection of journals. To meet the objectives set forth above, the selection of print journals with electronic versions to be relocated to storage for the purpose of the controlled experiment must address the following criteria:

      • Sufficient data are provided by the electronic publisher to measure use by title and use by campus. We would like to be able to determine the date of the article being accessed if possible.

      • To allow study of the variety of factors influencing use, the sample of journal titles should include a variety of disciplines, content characteristics (including, e.g., graphics, language, article length), and use characteristics.

      • The sample of journal titles includes both titles for which current issues are available in both print and digital form and titles for which the digital is available only retrospectively (e.g., JSTOR titles), so we can provide cost, usage and behavioral data on both publishing models.

      • The sample of journal titles includes multiple publishers and/or suppliers of electronic journals.

      • To insure representation in both control and experimental campus groups, print title must be held in more than one library in the UC system.

      • Titles will be selected from a limited number of disciplinary areas.


      Forms and sources of data for Phase II.

       

      1. Journal Characteristics. As noted above, in Phase I data will be collected on the physical and content characteristics and campus holdings of all titles included in the study.

      2.  
      3. Costs. Professor Michael Cooper, School of Information Management and Systems, UC Berkeley, has developed an extensive research framework for acquiring and analyzing relevant costs in the following categories:

        • Access and circulation costs (applicable in varying ways to both print and digital use, including print use from storage for the "experimental group," and including costs both to the library and the user)

        • Selection, transfer and processing of titles for storage

        • Ongoing storage costs for print (campus and storage)


        It is anticipated that some of the necessary cost data can be derived from published studies, and that much can be produced as a byproduct of the project itself (e.g., selection, transfer and processing for storage). Some cost elements may require special studies.

      4. Usage. As noted previously, usage of selected titles in digital format (for both experimental and control libraries) will be obtained from the relevant publishers/suppliers. For "control group" libraries, procedures will be established for measurement of usage of print copies of selected titles retained on campus during the study period. For "experimental group" libraries, measurement of usage of print will primarily be the responsibility of the participating UC Regional Library Facility (RLF), but some participation by the "experimental" campus in recording of usage of stored material may be required as an adjunct to capturing campus costs related to use of material requested from storage.


      5.  
      6. User behavior and preferences. User studies (to be conducted chiefly at "experimental group" campuses) will focus on users of the titles selected for the study. Surveys and structured interviews will be used (and complemented by use data) to explore such questions as:

        • Under what circumstances is the digital not an acceptable substitute for print for the selected journals? Possible reasons may include: technological reasons (availability of equipment and network access/capacity for access; adequacy of display/printing technology; geographic access limitations); the nature of the content (e.g., graphics, color); the quality of the digital version; the completeness of the digital version (inclusion of "non-editorial" content - letters, event reports, advertising); the usability of the digital version in support of common library research strategies (bibliographic access, shelf browsing, navigation); physical disabilities of users; user "culture" and acceptance.

        • What do users do when digital is inadequate? Request print, or forego use?


        Initial interviews will be conducted with a small sample of users (on the order of 100-200 respondents) to obtain information on the factors that influence their use of journal materials in print and digital form. These factors may include the characteristics of the material they use, the manner in which it is used, and sources (including personal and departmental collections as well as print and digital collections of the library). Interviewees will be recruited through contacts with relevant academic departments, self-identification, identification by knowledgeable library staff, and other means. The results of the interviews will be used in the design of surveys to be distributed to a wider respondent audience in both experimental and control libraries, including target departments, self-identified users of journals selected for the study, library users, and others.

        To supplement interviews and surveys, each time a print volume included in the study is recalled from storage the requestor will be asked to supply information on reasons for recalling the print copy.

         

    1. Phase III: Evaluation of Institutional Strategies, Policies, and Programs for Archiving and Management of Collections in the Print+Digital Environment (Months 13-24). Phase II of the project aims to obtain information about the rich variety of characteristics affecting the acceptability and use of digital journal publications as substitutes for their print equivalents. The goal of Phase III is to apply these findings to the framing of institutional strategies, policies and programs. Work on this phase will begin six months before the completion of Phase II in order to make use of in-progress results of Phase II findings and to help shape the later stages of the Phase II inquiry and data analysis. Addressing this goal involves (1) reviewing and reinterpreting archival policies, obligations and activities in light of the characteristics of the emerging print+digital research collection, (2) framing programmatic strategies for print+digital archiving consonant with this reinterpretation, and (3) crafting flexible strategies for management of research library collections that are responsive to these strategies as well as to budgetary, technological and facilities constraints and the demonstrated needs of research library users. This activity implicitly involves, and will explicitly include, an assessment of digital archiving strategies and policies, including such factors as identification of currently-held journal resources that should be archived in digital form (whether or not currently available digitally) and means of ensuring the creation of and/or persistent archival access to these resources. These considerations are closely related to those that have informed the Mellon Electronic Journal Archiving Program. It is expected that (1) the staff of this project will participate in the planning discussions for the new Mellon program, and (2) one outcome of Phase III may be a proposal for an implementation project within the scope of that program.


  1. Project Organization.

  2.  
    1. Key Personnel Resources.

    2.  
      1. Principal Investigator: Brian E. C. Schottlaender, University Librarian, University of California, San Diego, and Chair, UC Standing Committee on Universitywide Library Collection Management Planning (.05 FTE)(Contributed)

      2. Co-Principal Investigator: Gary S. Lawrence, Director, Library Planning and Policy Development (.20 FTE) (Contributed)

      3. Project Director: Assistant or Associate University Librarian or equivalent to provide effective leadership, communication and coordination (.25 FTE)

      4. Project Analyst: Principal or Senior Analyst or equivalent, with social science research experience, to design, implement and monitor project procedures, including training, development and administration of data collection instruments, data reporting and analysis, project reporting (1.0 FTE)

      5. Project Data Manager: Administrative Analyst or equivalent, with substantial database development and quantitative analysis experience, to develop and maintain bibliographic and research databases required to support selection, relocation, monitoring and disposition of journal titles selected for study, as well as cost, usage and user response data (1.0 FTE)

      6. Administrative Assistant: Administrative support for project staff and advisory committees (1.0 FTE)

      7. Project Consultants (provision): To acquire consulting services as needed for research design, data analysis and interpretation, or specialist advice on key areas of project implementation. ($100,000)

      8.  
    3. Advisory structure.

    4. The University of California, with nine campuses and over 10,000 faculty members, is a large, complex and highly decentralized institution. Considerable communication and consultation will be required both to successfully implement the controlled experiment in Phases I and II and to reliably assess the implications of the findings for institutional policy and programs. To facilitate the wide-ranging consultation required, the University requests support from the Foundation for a project advisory structure to advise on project planning, implementation and preparation of deliverables. To supplement the project advisors, the University will engage its existing extensive advisory structure to assist in interpreting study results and assessing institutional implications.
       

      1. Project Advisory Structure.

      2.  
        1. Project Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will meet periodically, in person or by telephone conference, to provide general oversight for the implementation of the project and the preparation and interpretation of project results. The Steering Committee will consist of the Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator, Project Director, one or two University Librarian, two to four members of the UC faculty representing a variety of disciplines, and a representative from each of the key advisory committees.

        2.  
        3. Operations Advisory Committee. The Operations Advisory Committee will meet quarterly to advise on operational plans and problems related to the implementation of the project. The committee will be chaired by the Project Director and include representation from the following groups: the UC Libraries Systemwide Operations and Planning Advisory Group (SOPAG), consisting of senior professional staff from each campus and from the California Digital Library; the SOPAG Resource Sharing Committee, consisting of one representative from each UC campus library system, the CDL, and the regional library facilities, which recommends best practices to facilitate resource sharing among the UC campuses; preservation librarians; collection development; public services; technical services; the regional library facilities; branch libraries; library facility planners and the California Digital Library. A single appointment could satisfy multiple criteria, and library appointees would generally be at the department head or AUL level.

        4.  
        5. Research Advisory Committee. The Research Advisory Committee will meet quarterly during Phases I and II to advise on development and implementation of the research methodology and analysis, interpretation, and reporting of research results. The committee will be chaired by the Project Director and will consist of persons with knowledge of research issues related to use, users and evaluations of libraries, library materials, and digital libraries. Committee members under consideration at this time include Professor Michael Cooper (UC Berkeley), Professor Nancy Van House (UC Berkeley), Professor Christine Borgman (UC Los Angeles) and Assistant Professor Ann Bishop (University of Illinois).

        6.  
      3. Existing University of California advisory structure. In addition to the special advisory groups appointed for the study, we will make use of existing advisory structures related to libraries and scholarly communication within the University to advise on the conduct of the study. The principal entities comprising the current advisory structure are:

      4.  
        1. Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Advisory Committee. This committee is appointed by and advisory to UC's Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, is chaired by the Executive Vice Chancellor of the Los Angeles campus, and includes representation from the UC faculty and its Academic Senate, campus and Universitywide academic, budget and information technology administration, and the University Libraries. Its charge is to advise the Provost on establishing an environment that supports continuous planning and innovation for UC's libraries; developing policies and strategic priorities for the University's California Digital Library, including policies that support the extension of CDL services beyond the University; implementing strategies to sustain and develop both campus and shared print and digital collections and identify mechanisms that facilitate sharing resources across campus boundaries; and initiating projects to improve the process of scholarly communication and assist faculty in distributing the results of their research.

        2.  
          1. Standing Committee on Universitywide Library Collection Management Planning. This committee is appointed by and advisory to SLASIAC and consists of the ten UC University Librarians, a representative of the Academic Senate's University Committee on Library, and such other members of SLASIAC as it shall appoint from time to time. It is charged to oversee and advise SLASIAC on continuous strategic planning for library collection management on a Universitywide basis.

          2.  
        3. University Librarians. The UC University Librarians meet monthly to review and discuss issues and initiatives of Universitywide importance pertaining to libraries.

        4.  
          1. Systemwide Operations and Planning Advisory Group (SOPAG). This group, consisting of senior library management representing all campuses and library functional areas, is charged to develop issue papers and action plans for consideration by the University Librarians, appoint cross-functional teams (task forces and strategic issue groups) to accomplish defined tasks or study specific issues in a specified time frame, and appoint and oversee the work of All Campus Groups.

          2.  
          3. All Campus Groups. These standing groups are appointed by and accountable to SOPAG, and consist of UC senior library professional staff with similar portfolios. Groups currently exist for public services, technical services, systems, collection development, and resource sharing.

          4.  
    5. Project Timetable. See Appendix A.


    6.  
  3. Project Deliverables.

  4.  
    1. Report of Findings from Phase II: factors influencing acceptability of digital publications as a substitute for print; costs and cost trade-offs associated with storage of print copies of journals and reliance on digital equivalents; effect on print and digital journal usage of storage of print copies and reliance on digital equivalents.

    2. Final Report: Assessment of institutional policies, obligations, strategies and programs for archiving of print+digital research library collections; institutional strategies and programs for flexible management of print+digital collections.
 



Appendix A

Collection Management Strategies in a Digital Environment

Project Timeline


 
Phase I
Phase II
Phase III
January  Steering Committee meets    
2001 Operations Advisory Committee meets    
  Research Advisory Committee meets    
  Consult with campuses on selection of disciplines and titles    
February Steering Committee meets (teleconference)    
  Consult with campuses on selection of disciplines and titles    
March Steering Committee meets (teleconference)    
April Operations Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)    
  Research Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)    
  Finalize selection of disciplines and titles    
May Steering Committee meets (teleconference)    
  Finalize selection of experimental and control campuses    
  Conduct campus & regional facility training    
  Identify and mark study titles; prepare for relocation    
  Prepare draft interview instruments    
  Obtain faculty and staff contact information for target departments    
June Prepare and distribute public information material    
  Update bibliographic records for study titles    
  Relocate study titles from experimental campuses to RLFs    
  Develop final interview instruments    
  Select interview panels    
  Distribute advanced information to interview panels    
  Train interview staff    
July 2001   Operations Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)  
    Research Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)  
    Begin monitoring use  
    Conduct interviews  
August   Steering Committee meets (teleconference)  
    Conduct interviews  
September   Analyze interview results  
    Prepare draft survey instruments  
    Capture and process quarterly use data  
October   Steering Committee meets (teleconference)  
    Operations Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)  
    Research Advisory Committee meets  
    Prepare final survey instruments  
November   Distribute surveys; conduct followup  
December   Steering Committee meets (teleconference)  
    Receive and process survey data  
    Capture and process quarterly use data  
January   
Steering Committee meets
2002  
Operations Advisory Committee meets
    Report on survey results Identify institutional implications
February     Consult with campuses
March  
Steering Committee meets (teleconference)
    Capture and process quarterly use data Revise survey instruments and methods as required
April  
Operations Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)
    Research Advisory Committee meets (teleconference) Identify policy and program responses
    Distribute surveys; conduct followup Consult with campuses
May   Receive and process survey data  
June  
Steering Committee meets (teleconference)
    Capture and process quarterly use data Evaluate policy and program proposals in light of final study data
    Prepare final analyses of interview, survey, use and cost data  
    Identify study titles to be returned to campus or transitioned to Phase III  
July 2002     Steering Committee meets (teleconference)
      Operations Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)
August      
September      
October     Steering Committee meets (teleconference)
      Operations Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)
November     Draft final report
December     Steering Committee meets
      Operations Advisory Committee meets (teleconference)
      Complete final report


Send your questions and comments to Gary.Lawrence@ucop.edu.
Last updated: October 25, 2001.