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Interlibrary Loan Analysis and Course Reserves Review

Posted by Jessica McMillen.
August 31st, 2020

Blog post by the Collections Advisory Committtee

Interlibrary Loan Costs vs. Subscription Costs

The WVU Libraries Collections Advisory Committee strives to make data-informed decisions regarding journal subscriptions.  Highlights of our recently completed review of FY20 interlibrary loan (ILL) costs may be of interest to our WVU faculty.  Below is a chart showing the journals that incurred cumulative interlibrary loan costs of more than $200 between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

ISSNJournal TitleSum of FY20 ILL Costs# RequestsSubscription Cost
0048-9697Science of The Total Environment$957.3740$            14,812.00
1556-8318International Journal of Sustainable Transportation$816.0016$              1,076.00
0045-6535Chemosphere$407.1517$            12,295.00
1521-0251Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice$375.0010$                 455.00
0950-0618Construction and building materials$310.0913$              3,495.00
0928-6586Ophthalmic Epidemiology$275.005$              2,480.00
2372-1391Palaestra$253.724$                 319.00
1552-4205 Business & Society$234.881$              1,130.00
1746-1766The Nonproliferation Review$220.005$                 891.00
0959-6526Journal of Cleaner Production$215.559$              3,163.00
1942-7603Drug testing and analysis.$206.906$              3,214.00

In addition to the ISSN and title of the journal, you see the total ILL expenses for FY20, the number of requests that incurred an ILL expense, and finally, what we would have paid for a year’s subscription to that journal.  Since we unbundled our Science Direct, Springer, and Wiley packages, we try to do this ILL review annually, looking for any journals that are costing us more in ILL costs than the subscription price.  As you can see, even at 40 ILL requests totaling $957.37, a subscription to the Science of the Total Environment journal would not be cost effective.  The annual ILL expenditures for The Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice and Palaestra come closest to what annual subscriptions would run.  What we don’t know, yet, is if the demand for these journals is short-term or on-going, but these are titles we will keep an eye on.

(e)Reserves Purchase Requests

Providing excellent course reserve service is a high priority for the WVU Libraries.  If we don’t own an item a faculty member has requested for reserves, we quickly explore the purchase options.  The Libraries’ Collections Advisory Committee has determined that any reserve item request costing $350 or more will trigger a consultation with the appropriate liaison librarian.  The librarian will review the request and determine if there might be a suitable substitute already in our collection, or, even better, an open educational resource.  The liaison may determine that there is no reasonable substitute, in which case factors such as the number of students in the course, the license terms, and the potential for on-going use will be considered, along with the purchase price, in making the final decision whether or not to invest in the resource.

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