BY EMILY BARTON
Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 23, 2007
To save money, the University's libraries are canceling some of their journal subscriptions because of budget cuts and the increasing costs of the subscriptions.
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Many of the cuts are to print subscriptions only, while the University continues to subscribe to the journals online.
University Librarian Paul Courant said that about 2,500 were canceled this fiscal year. In many cases, Courant said, the University starts by canceling duplicate subscriptions, leaving one copy of the journal in at least one library, as opposed to in multiple libraries. The University's other prominent case is when subscriptions were cancelled to journals with lower demand.
Students who want to use journals whose subscriptions have been cancelled completely will have to use the Interlibrary Loan program to request them from other libraries around the world.
Courant said it's possible that a journal might not be available through the loan program if it becomes too obscure for universities to maintain a copy.
"It's a real concern," he said.
Eventually, though, most of the journals the University subscribes to could be available only online, said Bryan Skib, a senior associate librarian.
"That's certainly the direction we're headed," he said.
The University Library budget has gone up by an average of 3.1 percent per year since 2004.
According to Library Journal magazine, the average subscription price of national arts and humanities journals has increased 6.8 percent per year since 2003. National social science journals increased 9.2 percent and national science journals increased by 8.3 percent.
In an April letter addressed to the University's deans, Courant explained that he was asking librarians to cut 2 percent in spending for the fiscal year because of $29.6 million in appropriations withheld by the state. The letter also mentioned an increase in online-only subscriptions as a way to save money and space.
But even if a subscription is canceled completely, it doesn't mean it's permanently banished from the University libraries.
Skib said the University is always reevaluating its subscriptions, and if a faculty member asks for a specific journal, the University would consider subscribing to it.
He said if someone searching for a canceled article or book couldn't find it through the Interlibrary Loan program, reference librarians would work to find other materials on the same subject.
Students don't all see the migration of journals from paper to the Internet as a particularly bad thing.
"With the world increasingly going online to get its information, I almost want to see it being offered on the Internet," LSA freshman Aaron Kaplan said.
Others said they think online subscriptions are more convenient than print.
"I'd prefer it to be online. That way I wouldn't have to come (to the library) to do my research," LSA senior Jaclyn Goldberg said. "Interlibrary loan is too inconvenient for most students to use. The want their information quickly."
- Scott Mills contributed to this report.