Conspectus 2003 Update
This is a follow-up report on the state of the collection since the conspectus report was completed in February of 1999. It covers the collection as a whole, rather than updating the individual divisions of the collection. The
Growth in the monographs collection has been in line with previous years, i.e. inadequate due to budget constraints. Growth in the periodicals collection has been very good. A summary of the strength of the divisions of the collection is available
In this time period, the Thompson Library also acquired through the Michigan Library Consortium a collection of nearly 11,000 electronic books on a variety of subjects put online by netLibrary. These titles are hard to count as fully as hard copy books because of the novelty of their format. Anecdotal observations indicate that many students are reluctant to use the books and prefer traditional books. This is merely an observation and undoubtedly requires a closer look, especially because many students are willing indeed, eager to find journal articles entirely online. Moreover, despite the inherent or practical limitations of the format, the electronic books are available for users around the clock, and in many cases, plug holes in the print collection.
In the conspectus report of 1999, I recommended an acquisitions goal of 10% of academic titles annually (without lowering funding for the few departments that already meet or exceed that target). To increase our overall monographs acquisitions rate to 10% annually, we would have to roughly double the book budget, i.e. almost double our 5.3% acquisitions rate. It should be noted that this goal was devised before the master's degree in biology and doctorate in physical therapy were added. If anything, a target of 10% is too low.
Assuming approximately 69,000 titles are made available annually, we would have to increase our yearly acquisitions by about 3240 titles. At an average cost of $56.30 per title, with a 14% vendor discount, an additional $156,874.00 would have to be added to the monographs budget.
Table 1: Thompson Library Acquisitions, 1996/97 2000/01
|Year||Non-Cont Expenditure||Orders||Volumes Added||Titles Cataloged||Gifts||Avg. Cost Per Order|
Source: Dave Hart
The average cost per title ordered by the Thompson Library was $47.00 for 2000/01. This is only slightly less than the North American average for 1999 (see Table 2, below), minus the 14% vendor discount ($56.30 less 14% = $48.42). Moreover, it is possible that librarians and departmental faculty "picked the low-hanging fruit," and avoided ordering more expensive titles. If this is so, we can expect that the average price per title will increase as more titles are ordered.
Table 2: North American Academic Books
|Year||No. titles||Avg. price per title|
Sources: Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac, 1999, pp.508-09; Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac, 2001, pp. 466-67
The Thompson Librarys periodicals collection has improved dramatically since 1999. With respect to periodicals alone, ten divisions have increased their rating; none have decreased. This improvement has been the result of vastly expanded access to online databases.
Since the completion of the conspectus, the Thompson Library has added Wiley InterScience, Blackwells Synergy, ScienceDirect, Kluwer Online, IEEE Xplore, and JSTOR, and the Cochrane Library.
Table 3 below illustrates the growth of the periodicals collection. In my analysis this year, I counted separately titles available in print only, online only, and those in print and online. Subscriptions had to be current to count. This omits JSTOR, which, if counted, would strengthen the periodicals collection even more.
Table 3: Periodical Availability by Conspectus Division
|Division||Total titles||Per cent in print||Per cent in print & via the Web||2002 current collection level (CL) rating based on all access to titles||1999 current collection level (CL) rating (periodicals only)|
|Art & Architecture||250||7||40||2b||2a|
|Business & Economics||412||28||84||3b||3b|
|Engineering & Technology||411||3||59||3a||2b|
|Geography & Earth Sciences||49||12||51||3a||2a|
|History & Auxiliary Sciences||172||37||60||3a||3a|
|Language, Linguistics, & Literature||149||36||65||3a||3a|
|Library Science, Generalities, & Reference||83||37||78||3b||3b|
|Philosophy & Religion||17||12||47||2b||2b|
|Physical Education & Recreation||31||26||71||3a||-|
Table 4 below lists the major databases relevant to each division. Not included are most of the full-text databases added recently (Kluwer, ScienceDirect, etc.), which have the effect of strengthening numerous divisions.
Table 4: Databases Relevant to Each Division
|AGR: Agriculture||No database specific to this division. AGRICOLA could be brought back if needed on a per-search basis.|
|ANT: Anthropology||Anthropological Index to Current Periodicals in the Museum of Mankind Library (free)|
|ART: Art & Architecture||ArtAbstracts|
|BIO: Biological Sciences||BasicBiosis, Bibliographic Databases in Oceanography, Earth Sciences, & Related Areas, Biological & Agricultural Index, BioMed Central (free), and the Forest History Society Searchable Databases|
|CHE: Chemistry||No Library-based chemistry database, although chemistry students do have access to a limited version of Chemical Abstracts through the Department.|
|COM: Computer Science||IEEE Xplore, Compendex (ENGN via MIRLYN), the Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies (free), and Internet & Personal Computing Abstracts (OCLC)|
|ECO: Business & Economics||ABI/INFORM Global (ProQuest), Accounting (LexisNexis), Business & Industry (OCLC), Business News (LexisNexis), and Industry & Market News (LexisNexis)|
|EDU: Education||ERIC and EducationAbs (OCLC)|
|TEC: Engineering & Technology||Compendex*Plus through MIRLYN, the Applied Science & Technology Index (OCLC), and IEEE Xplore.|
|GEO: Geography & Earth Sciences||GeoRef (OCLC); Bibliographic Databases in Oceanography, Earth Science, & Related Areas and Forest History Society Searchable Databases (free)|
|HIS: History & Auxiliary Sciences||No indexes specific to history; many general indexes.|
|LAW: Law||Index to Legal Periodicals & Books (OCLC); Law Reviews and Legal News (LexisNexis)|
|LIS: Library Science, Generalities, & Reference||LibraryLit (OCLC); various general indexes|
|LLL: Language, Linguistics, & Literature||MLAB; News (LexisNexis)|
|MED: Medicine||AIDSLine, MEDLINE, PREMEDLINE (UM-MEDSEARCH); BioMed Central, PubMed (free), CINAHL, MEDLINE (OCLC); ProQuest Nursing Journals, CINAHL (ProQuest); General Medical & Health Topics, Medical Abstracts (LexisNexis); Health & Wellness Resource Center, Health Reference Center Academic (InfoTrac); Cochrane Library.|
|MUS: Music||No indexes specific to music, but several humanities indexes|
|PAR: Philosophy & Religion||Philosopher's Index (SilverPlatter)|
|PER: Performing Arts||No indexes specific to theater or dance, but several humanities indexes|
|PHY: Physical Sciences||No indexes specific to physics, but many science databases available.|
|POL: Political Science||PAIS, Alternate Press Index.|
|PSY: Psychology||PSYCInfo and PSYCAbs (OCLC)|
|Public Administration (non-WLN division)||PAIS (OCLC), Index to Current Urban Documents (Greenwood Press), and the Literature of the Nonprofit Sector (FC).|
|REC: Physical Education & Recreation||No database specific to this area. Coverage by medical and general indexes.|
|SOC: Sociology||Sociology Abs (OCLC)|
|Womens & Gender Studies (non-WLN division)||Contemporary Women's Issues (OCLC)|
- Nearly 11,000 netLibrary titles
- Several electronic periodical indexes with substantial amounts of full text
- Various electronic reference resources
- Various freely accessible websites
The first two items are discussed above. The last two items, while not insignificant, are difficult to measure as additions to the collection for several reasons, some of which are noted in the 1999 conspectus report. Additionally, the best resources added tend to duplicate electronically what is already in the print collection (e.g. Encyclopedia Britannica and the CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics). Electronic reference sources and websites will undoubtedly be a growing part of the Thompson Library's collection, but do not yet enjoy the key role played by online periodical indexes.
Additionally, the Thompson Library has greatly expanded off-campus access to electronic resources by adding a proxy server, and has implemented an electronic reserves system (ERes)
In its report, the visiting team from the North-Central Association noted the substantial progress the Thompson Library made after the NCA's previous accreditation visit.
- The Frances Wilson Thompson Library has made remarkable progress in
the past ten years. The 1989 NCA review expressed concerns about library
services with regard to space, accessibility, and the depth of the
collection. In 1989, the library was located in temporary headquarters
and books were stored across the street from that location. In 1999, the
library is now located in a new three-story building. This facility
provides much improved accessibility, with an on-line catalog, on-line
circulation, online indexes, and several thousand full-text newspapers and
journals available on and off-campus to University of Michigan-Flint
users. An expanded interlibrary loan system links the university to the
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and other resources. The library has
borrowing privileges at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the
library has developed partnerships with [other] local academic libraries .
According to surveys, the users of the library indicate a very high level
of satisfaction with the library staff. The library has a $2 million
acquisition endowment, which generates about $94,000 in spendable interest
each year. In addition, the annual acquisitions budget is about $400,000,
which represents about 3 percent of the university's education and general
budget. The library has made remarkable improvements in its collection,
including a number of electronic connections ABI/Inform, ProQuest,
Wilson-Select, Lexis-Nexis, and Science Direct. The library staff has
done a very thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the
library collection as measured by WLN Conspectus, and thus should be
commended for their analysis and for their efforts to bring the library's
collection to adequate strength for the various programs. As a result of
this analysis, the staff has taken a good measure of the library's
strengths and weaknesses, and is working to remedy the areas of greatest
need. In sum, the University of Michigan-Flint has shown remarkable
improvement in library services as compared to 1989, certainly meeting the
criteria and admirably addressing the concerns of the previous visit.
Continuing challenges for the University of Michigan-Flint in the area of
library services would include what some would view as marginal base
funding, and a collection that is barely adequate to support some programs
as reflected in national comparisons.
Submitted by Paul Streby, December, 2002
Revised April, 2003