From: Scrivener, Laurie L.
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2016 1:05 PM
Subject: humanities databases update
The library has completed its review of our online database subscriptions in the fine arts and humanities. Based on the responses that we have received from you and your colleagues, we have decided to cancel only one of the proposed items, RIPM: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals. The online guide has been updated accordingly.
We received a great deal of thoughtful, detailed feedback from the arts and humanities faculty during this process, for which we are grateful. Your investment in the scope and quality of our collections is extremely important to our ability to make informed decisions.
As we selected candidates for potential cancelation, we reviewed the contents and uniqueness of each database. We also relied heavily on our usage statistics, and all of the titles that we proposed had very low usage; one as low as 47 total searches over six years. The importance that you placed on some of these titles honestly surprised us, as it did not match what we were seeing from the usage numbers.
In the future, we may be facing similar difficult budgetary decisions, and usage statistics will be one of the data points we will consider—although not the only one—in choosing which resources may be cancelled. Therefore, we urge you: please use these resources in the future in a way that will give us data that accurately indicates their value.
Remember, all the databases can count is the number of times a person conducts a search or downloads an item. If you are, for example, downloading PDFs and distributing them to your class of 100 students, then all we’ll see is one download when it should really be 100 uses. Some small changes you can make to improve these statistics include:
- Instructing your class on how to access the databases themselves, instead of providing them with the downloaded materials.
- Emailing colleagues database permalinks instead of downloaded PDFs when you share items.
- Creating assignments that require your students to use these databases for themselves.
It’s a small change in habits, but it really will help us to have more accurate data. We are available to answer questions about these issues or to help you develop assignments encouraging your students to use these materials.
Thank you again for your thoughtful, detailed responses. Please let us know if you have any questions, or if we can assist you with anything else.