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UBC Publications

UBC Library News Feb 28, 1991

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new series no. 31/february 1991
Scholarly communication system in jeopardy?
Have you visited the Library recently
to look at a new journal or book only
to discover we don't have it? If not,
expect to. UBC Library, like all major
research libraries today, is not able to
keep up with the unending avalanche
of publications.
Thaf s not new.
What has
turned this
situation into a
crisis is the
escalating cost
of serials. The
causes and
implications of
this crisis as
well as the
solutions go far
beyond the
Library and its
budget. They
go to the heart
of the
creation and
of knowledge.
The main reason for the decrease in
buying power is the tremendous rise
in the cost of serials, especially
technical, medical and scientific
journals published abroad. Over the
last fifteen years, average serial prices
have been
The problem
Not only are
research libraries unable to
keep abreast of
they're losing
ground. A
recent analysis
of serial holdings of major North
American research libraries shows
their coverage of the estimated
universe has dropped from 32% to
26.4%. University library budgets,
despite increases, are purchasing
fewer and fewer publications, resulting in less comprehensive and less
balanced research collections.
First Annual Symposium
on Library Issues
Communication System
in Jeopardy?
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 14th
Room 110
Henry Angus Building
Everyone welcome
Arm Okerson from the Association of Research Libraries will
join a panel of faculty, deans,
and the University Librarian to
discuss this issue and possible
solutions. Ann Okerson is the
author of a major report on the
crisis - Of Making Books There is
No End- commissioned by the
ARL in 1989.
This symposium is sponsored by
Ruth Patrick, University Librarian
and Daniel Birch, Vice-President,
going up at
twice the
consumer price
index (approximately 10% a
year). The price
of foreign
has been going
up much faster.
Add the
relative weakness of the
dollar (UBC
Library spends
over 90% of its
budget outside
the many new
journal titles
every ten
years) and a
budget squeeze
was inevitable.
Some causes
Between 1976
and 1986, the
number of
scientists in the U.S. doubled to over
4 million. According to an article
published in the Chronicle of Higher
Education in 1987, articles are submitted at a rate of one every 30 seconds
to over 40,000 science journals
(containing over a million articles)
published each year. The academic
tenure and promotion system, which
continues to be based primarily upon
scholarly publishing, contributes
significantly to this publication
explosion. As a result, more journals
are being published, they're getting
larger and being published more
There is little direct competition in
scholarly publishing, which has
become increasingly commercialized.
Some major firms have a virtual
monopoly in certain fields. Together,
three of the largest publishers
(Elsevier, Pergamon, and Springer)
publish almost 1300 journals. Spiral-
ing prices well beyond production
costs have created considerable
profits for the commercial publishers.
A 1989 report by Economic Consulting Services Inc. for the Association
of Research Libraries (ARL) analyzed
average prices and costs for four
major firms in the U.K., Netherlands,
Germany and the U.S. The findings
show that subscription price increases between 1980 and 1987 have
exceeded costs by 4.5% to 12.9%.
Library tactics
The pressure on research libraries to
maintain journal subscriptions gives
Also in this issue—
Senate Library Committee 3
Crane Library receives service award ....3
Canadian government CD-ROM's 4
Geology research easier on CD-ROM ...A
Your neighbourhood, city, world 4
What will UBC Library be like? 5
Help in the online jungle 5
Gifts enrich the collection 5
UBC authors to be honoured 6
Around the libraries 6
People 6
Hot off the press 6
On display 6 FEET
he journals
exed bv Me
:     I
•       C
UBC buys 65% of these journals;
84% of the English language titles
the publishers a captive market.
However, as prices began to skyrocket, research libraries had to take
The early seventies ushered in the
first massive serial cancellation
projects. To keep a balance between
monograph and serial spending and
preserve equitable subject coverage,
research libraries had to cut serial
titles. The cancellations have not
stopped. For example, the University
of Toronto Library recently cut over
1,500 serial titles. The Library at
University of California, Berkeley,
has just cut over $400,000 (U.S.) from
its serials budget and expects to cut
more this year. The cuts, however,
have not curbed serials spending
from eating into book budgets. ARL
libraries spent an average of 40% of
their collection budgets on serials in
1976. By 1987, this ratio had risen to
over 56%.
Academic libraries have tried to
bolster their collection budgets by
seeking special increases and endowments. To this end, university fund
ing reserves are being redirected to
try to keep up with the soaring
prices. Many libraries have cut staff
positions to move more money into
their collection budgets. Research
libraries have also tried to reduce the
impact of serial cancellations by
entering into cooperative buying
projects and resource sharing plans.
Some UBC examples
Since 1976, the Library has cut over
2,800 serial subscriptions in three
major cancellation projects. Despite
these cuts, we now spend between 60
to 65% of the $6 million collections
budget on serials compared to 32%
twenty years ago. Looking at the
science collection budget, the numbers are even more dramatic—serials
now account for over 81% of their
budget compared to 63% in 1984.
And it would be far higher if the
Science Division hadn't cut such
mega-titles as Beilsteins Handbuch der
Organischen Chemie (cut in 1978, it
now costs over $26,000) and Science
Citation Index (cut in 1988, it now
costs over $11,000—Woodward
Library still has a subscription).
Monograph and Serial Costs in ARL Libraries
1985-86 - 1988-89
6 -20%
Serials Unit Price (-1-44%)
Serials Expenditures (+43%)
Monograph Unit Price (+ 38%)
Monograph Expenditures (+11%)
No. of Serials Titles Purchased (0%)
No. of Mon. Vols. Purchased (-19%)
1987 1988
Fiscal Year
1989 Examples of price increases
|| European Journal of
II Operational Research
■ Journal of
|§; Molecular Structure
'' Journal of
|| Comparative Neurology
Brain Research
Of course, subscriptions are only part
of the expense in maintaining journal
files. Additional costs include
checking in issues, binding, and
providing space to shelve them.
During the university budget reductions in the 1980's, the Library was
successful in protecting the collection
budget from major cuts. However,
considerable sacrifices have been
made in staffing the Library. In 1987
and 1988, $430,000 from the salary
budget was reallocated to collections
on a continuing basis. The Library
also received assistance from "excellence" funds and other special
allocations. Favourable foreign
exchange rates in the last few years
have provided more stablity. However, price increases are not going
away and the GST will add 2.3% to
our collection costs.
Electronic solutions
With new computer technology and
the establishment of information
networks in academe, there is some
optimism for finding a partial
solution to this crisis. However, as
long as commercial publishers
maintain copyright control, the costs
of using technology for the dissemination of published research could
be even higher for universities. A
recent experiment in the Law Library
illustrates this point. A U.S. commercial database offering full-text
retrieval was searched for articles in
law journals not held by the Library.
Downloading a few articles cost a
staggering $538 (U.S.).
Taking back control
Research libraries have concluded
that continuing to seek more money
for collection budgets is not the
answer. The system of scholarly
communication must be reformed.
Ann Okerson's report (see box p.T)
summarizes the current literature on
the serials crisis and ends with
several recommendations. She
advocates increasing competition as
one way to prevent the major
commercial publishers from continuing to wreak havoc with university
library budgets. Academe needs to
increase the use of existing noncommercial channels as well as
establish alternative publishing
ventures which take advantage of
computer technology to collect,
preserve and disseminate knowledge
produced at universities. University
administrators must also reconsider
current policies that have created the
'publish or perish' syndrome. The
issues are complex and require the
leadership and participation of
faculty and university administrators. The solutions are not simple.
But can we afford not to seek them?
Brenda Peterson
Senate Library
Members of the Senate Library
Committee advise and assist the
University Librarian in formulating
policy for the development of
resources for instruction and
research; in advising on the allocation
of book funds to the fields of
instruction and research; in
developing a general program of
library service for all the interests of
the University; and in keeping the
University Librarian informed about
the library needs of instructional and
research staffs, and keeping the
academic community informed about
the Library. The Senate Library
Committee reports to Senate on
matters of policy under discussion by
the Committee.
The faculty members for 1990/1991
are Dean P.T. Burns, Mrs. E.A. Carty,
Dean J.R. Grace, Dr. S.E. Grace, Dr.
J.A. McLean, Ms. B.M. Peterson, Dr.
P. Resnick, Dr. G.G.E. Scudder, Dean
N. Sheehan, and Vice-President,
Student and Academic Services, K.D.
Srivastava. The convocation senator
members are Mr. J.A. Banfield and
Ms. N.E. Woo, and the student
members are Miss A.L. Callegari,
Mrs. L. Lohia, and Mr. M.D. Nikkei.
Chancellor L.R. Peterson, President
D.W. Strangway, Registrar R.A.
Spencer and University Librarian R. J.
Patrick are ex-officio members. Dr.
Resnick is Chair of the Committee.
Crane Library receives service award
The Crane Library for the blind and
visually impaired received a
Certificate of Merit February 5 during
National White Cane Week,
sponsored jointly by the Canadian
National Institute for the Blind and
the Canadian Council of the Blind.
The award is for Crane's role in
providing access to information for
the blind, visually impaired and
many print disabled persons
throughout British Columbia.
Crane Library's unique collection of
taped and braille books and
materials, technical resources and
reference services are primarily for
UBC's blind and visually disabled
students. But Crane has become a
provincial as well as national resource
by sharing these materials with
libraries, educational agencies and
service agencies nationally and
Paul Thiele Canadian government CD-ROM'S
for your review
The Library is participating in a
federal government test of electronic
publications in depository libraries.
The test is to consider the implications of including electronic formats
in the depository programs. Two
products are available for your
review in the Humanities/Social
Sciences Division, Main Library.
Termium is a computerized bilingual
dictionary created by the Department
of the Secretary of State. It contains
about 3 million French and English
terms in all fields of knowledge. Each
term is defined and notes are included about its acceptability rating,
its origin, frequency and official
status. The database comprises the
Secretary of State's collection of
terms, proper names and translation
problems. You can search the database by browsing the index of entry
terms or by searching the text of the
StatsCan Reference Disc 1989 is a
CD-ROM product distributed by
Statistics Canada. Its main contents
are a Statistics Canada Publications
Catalogue and a Directory to the
CANSIM Main Base Series. You can
search the Catalogue by keyword to
identify specific Stats Can publications, a complete collection of which
is in Government Publications. The
CANSIM Main Base Series Directory
is a 'Table of Contents' to the information Stats Canada maintains on
the economy. If the information is in
print form, it may be in Government
Publications. If it is in machine-
readable form and included in the
CANSIM University Base, a subset of
the Main Base Series, it is available in
the Data Library.
The Library has been asked to
complete test evaluations for the
Canada Communications Group,
formerly the Canadian Government
Publishing Centre. Come try the
databases. We welcome your opinion
their usefulness.
Jocelyn Godolphin
Geology research easier on CD-ROM
If you're doing research in geology,
take advantage of Science Division's
new CD-ROM, GeoRef. GeoRef has
more than 1.5 million citations and
covers the geology literature of North
America since 1785, and of all other
areas since 1933. It indexes journal
articles, conference proceedings,
dissertations and separately published maps. You can tailor your
searches using keywords, date limits,
language limits and other combinations. GeoRef is updated quarterly.
Searches on a CD-ROM are fast,
especially retrospective searches.
You may download or print your
search results. Searching and downloading is free; please bring your own
3.5" disk. Printing costs 15tf a page
with a UBC Library copy card.  The
CD-ROM is available weekdays from
8am to 5pm in Science Division, Main
Library. For more information or to
book a time slot to use GeoRef, phone
Bonita Stableford
Your neighbourhood, city, world -
the numbers at your
Have you ever wanted to find the
demographic characteristics of your
neighbourhood or another area in
Canada? Do you need to know the
age and sex distribution of the
population in your neighbourhood?
What is the educational, occupational, language, and ethnic makeup?
How many of the dwellings are
owned or rented? Wh§t about labour
force information and household
These data are available from the
Canadian census. A national census
has been held every ten years since
1871. Since 1956, Statistics Canada
has also conducted a mid-decade
census, the most recent one in 1986.
The next census day is June 4,1991.
The population census is a major
source of demographic information
for research and planning at both
local and national levels. Since 1961,
census data have been distributed in
computer-readable form, thus
providing a ready source of data for
computer-based statistical analysis.
All computer-readable census files
are available for use at the UBC Data
Library. (Printed census publications
are in the Government Publications
Division, Main Library). The Data
Library also has many other numeric
data files. The collection is particularly strong in Canadian economic,
financial, and demographic data,
Canadian social surveys and public
opinion polls.
If you need computer-readable
figures of any kind, the Data Library
is the place to start looking! Please
call 228-5587 or come to the Computer Sciences Building, Room 206,
for more information. We are open
Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to
4:00 p.m.
Hilde Colenbrander What will UBC Library be like ...
in        What do we want it to be
like? What will students,
the     faculty and others expect
from the Library? What
21st   services and resources will
exist? What will be
Century?the same? What will
be different? Dr.
Ruth Patrick, University Librarian
since August 1990, began a strategic
planning process in September to
answer these questions and many
Like other academic research
libraries, UBC Library faces many
changes- in technology, in the
publishing industry and in higher
education. These changes will bring
opportunities as well as challenges.
Many large academic libraries,
including MIT, the University of
Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon, have
developed strategic plans recently to
help them manage these opportunities and challenges. Although all
of the strategic plans share some
common concerns, each Library's
plan is also unique, reflecting that
particular institution's environment.
UBC Library's plan will also take into
account external and internal trends,
and, in particular, the goals and
objectives of the University's mission
statement, Second to None.
The planning process began with a
questionnaire which asked staff to
list the major issues facing the
Library. Jeff Gardner, a consultant
from the Association of Research
Libraries, was hired to coordinate
the process. In October, after a
review of the questionnaire results,
meetings were set up with all levels
of staff. A planning retreat was
organized, after which committees
were formed to begin work on
various parts of the strategic plan.
Many staff are involved in these
committees and work is proceeding
on a statement of the library's values
and operating philosophy; on a
vision statement of the desired
library of the future; on an
environmental analysis; and on
assessments of the Library's current
A user survey will be circulated
soon among the university
community. The survey is one way
we will gather your views on the
library. As the Library's strategic
plan evolves, interested members of
the university community will have
the opportunity to discuss and
comment on it. Watch this
newsletter and UBC Reports for more
Gifts enrich the collection
Hugh M. Palmer, Arts '36, recently
donated to Special Collections a
collection of almost 300 volumes by
and about Aldous Huxley. The
collection includes first editions of
Huxley's novels, short stories, poetry,
drama and other primary works, and
critical and biographical works about
Jan J. Solecki, Associate Professor
Emeritus of Slavonic Studies, recently
donated a substantial collection of
some 500 books on forestry (mostly in
Russian, with a few in Polish),
including many on the Soviet pulp
and paper industry. To be housed in
the MacMillan Library, the collection
dates primarily from the 1960s to the
present. It contains some books from
the '20s and '30s, as well as a few rare
imprints published in Russian in
Harbin, Manchuria.
Cyril Bryner, Professor Emeritus,
Slavonic Studies, has given the
Library over 200 books and periodical
issues on Russian science fiction and
a number of rare editions published
by Russian emigre scholars in Prague.
Help in the
online jungle
Graduate students and researchers in
History, Political Science and
Education participated recently in
hands-on sessions on using the online
library files. These sessions teach
basic search skills as well as orient
participants to the variety of online
sources accessible for their research.
Sessions tailored to information
Coordinated through the Humanities
and Social Sciences Division, the
sessions are tailored to the
information needs of specific subject
areas. For example, last fall, History
graduate students attended three
sessions. The first covered the basics
of searching UBCLIB, using the more
powerful command rather than menu
mode. The second session provided
search practice on local online files of
interest to historians, such as the
Canadian Politics Bibliography, the
Vancouver Centennial Bibliography,
and the Canadian Institute for
Historical Microreproductions. The
final session was an overview of
bibliographic, numeric and textual
databases containing historical
information available on networks,
such as Internet, on CD-ROM, in data
depositories like the Data Library,
and through commercial vendors.
Sessions to tutor Education students
Hands-on workshops on searching
the Library files, including ERIC,
were provided to education students
in early January. They can also attend
Info Tutor, Wednesday through
Friday at 3:30 p.m. until March 22, in
Scarfe 1A, for an individualized
tutorial on searching any of the files
Jocelyn Godolphin yt$
.■■■,■■■■•.■■•..■■■,■■■■■.■■•■ ■■■■VAV.'.V.ftVW.V.V.
UBC authors to be honoured
UBC President David Strangway and
University Librarian Ruth Patrick will host an
inaugural reception March 18 to recognize and
honour members of the UBC community who
have recently written books.
If you are a member of the University
community and the author of a book
published between January 1990 and March
1991, we would like to hear from you. Please
phone Isabel Pitfield, Main Library (228-2302).
Anthony Hardy was appointed
November 20,1990 as the Indonesian
Language Bibliographic Associate.
He has a B.L.S. from the University of
Indonesia and was Deputy-Head of
the Central Library of Atma Jaya
Catholic University in Jakarta for five
Dan Heino and Diana Kent from
Woodward Library and Barbara
Saint from St. Paul's Hospital Library
were largely responsible for the
preparation of the Health
Libraries'Association's submission to
the Royal Commission on Health
Care and Costs. The submission,
presented by Dan Heino, proposed
that a health information network be
set up to serve the health
professionals throughout the
Janet Heekin has been appointed as a
temporary reference librarian in
Woodward Library until April 30,
Hot off the press
Access to Scientific Information
Science Division, UBC Library
Footnotes and Bibliographies: Getting
Geological Sciences Information
Resources at UBC
Physics Information Sources at UBC
Start Here 127. General Literature of
Education (revised)
Start Here 150. Basic Geological
Science Sources
Start Here 151. Basic Physics Sources
To request a copy of these handouts, phone the Information and
Orientation Division (228-2076).
On Display
Freedom to Read
Books to dust?
Murder in the Stacks
Main Library
Romanov Dynasty
Special Collections
Main Library
History of Bloodletting
Medieval Caricatures of
Thomas Rowlandson
Woodward Library
Apollo's Kiss/Matricide: an
allegorical landscape
Cornelia Wyngaarden
March 5-28
Fine Arts Gallery
Main Library
Editor: Julie Stevens
Design: Merry Meredith
Information and Orientation Division
University of British Columbia Library
issn 0382-0661
printed on recycled paper


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