Patrons, ILL, and Acquisitions

Below are listed questions that were submitted during the March 9, 2011 webinar. Answers from the presenters will be added when available. Not all the questions could be responded to during the live webinar, so those that could not be addressed at the time are also included below.


  • Patron-Driven Acquisitions
    Peter Spitzform, Collection Development Librarian, University of Vermont
    Focus: Print PDA
  • Two Patron Driven Acquisitions Case Studies: Local to Consortium - Print to E - Pilots to Programs - Experiment and Grow the Process
    Lynn Wiley, Head of Acquisitions, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    Focus: Print Consortial PDA
  • Patron Driven Acquisitions at Duke University Libraries: A Case Study
    Nancy Gibbs, Head, Acquisitions Department, Duke University
    Focus: E-books PDA

Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions about library, publishing, and technical services standards, standards development, or if you have suggestions for new standards, recommended practices, or areas where NISO should be engaged.

NISO Webinar Questions and Answers

  1. In the studies cited, was in-house use considered? How is "circulation" defined?

    Peter Spitzform: Our circulation system has a flaw, and it is virtually impossible to count “browses,” i.e. items used in-house.  Thus, we are not able to measure such uses.  At UVM we decided that “circulation” means any transaction wherein a patron checks out a book to his or her account for their use.  We think that, because there is an even playing field—all books in our circulating collection will be counted identically, so they all have the potential to be browsed in-house or checked out.  Thus, usage (in the form of circulations) will be measured equally.

    Lynn Wiley: Print means it was charged out, reserves is also included there. We do not measure in-house use of books. E-circulation is more complicated as there is a hierarchy of sorts; it means that the item was viewed, and you can see pages and/or percentage viewed and pages printed for ebrary.
  1. Any information on the causes of low circulation? Low interest might be one reason, but difficulty discovering books might be another.

    Peter Spitzform: I’m not aware of any studies that have come to any definitive—or even hypothetical—explanation of why 40% of books in typical usage studies do not circulate.  While I think that discoverability is a crucial issue for our profession—and many of us are busily trying to find discovery tools that improve what patrons can find—I don’t personally think it would explain the consistency of low-usage.  Remember, the first major circulation study (Allen Kent, Pittsburgh) was conducted in 1973 when the only discovery tool was the physical card catalog.  Contemporary usage studies involve computerized circulation records.  The resulting circulation rates are nearly identical.  I can only hypothesize that patrons gravitate toward the books that most meet their needs, which suggests that the books that go unused do not fall into that category.

    Lynn Wiley: Yes it could be that is a factor. But we did look at core books (basic Trade and University Press titles). It is quite interesting that the Ebrary books are discoverable on the same platform and users found them easily and used them. For our print pilot I think I mentioned how the users were finding them even as we loaded them so clearly the users are searching the OPAC
  1. Any data on how much journal usage changed as that content moved from print to e?

    Peter Spitzform: Nothing but anecdotal evidence.  We know that usage of print journals plummeted when the electronic version of titles were available, but we did not conduct usage studies of our print journal collection after we went significantly online (plus, we generally cancelled the print version once we had secured online access.)

    Lynn Wiley: Yes , it skyrocketed. See Tina Chrzastowski's studies on this (measured print to e use).
  1. At UVM, do you ever clean out the records, or do they stay there until someone orders them? If kept in, does this cause problems with WorldCat?

    Peter Spitzform: We do not clear out the records for the books we do not yet own that are available for Order on Demand.  Books by our three publishers (Wiley, Palgrave Macmillan, and Oxford University Press) have tended not to go out of print like they did in the past, and the online environment has significantly eased our capacity to find titles one way or another.  Thus, we decided to keep the records indefinitely.  We do not attach our OOD records to OCLC (until we actually make a purchase), so there are no implications for WorldCat.
  1. Three questions: 

a) Are there separate budget/funding accounts at UVM, or are these purchases amalgamated with other non-rush orders?

Peter Spitzform: We do not have separate accounts from which we purchase books.  All book purchases come out of the same pot, but are accounted for by fund codes for reporting purposes (i.e. we can report how much money we spent in a fiscal year on botany books, but there is no botany fund from which we purchase those books.)

b) Is there oversight/veto power by subject librarians?

Peter Spitzform: No.  Orders come to our Collection Development and Acquisitions staff (2 individuals), who know that we will order pretty much anything anyone wants.  They will ask if someone wants a very expensive encyclopedia set, for example, but I think we’ve turned down only one or two purchases over the life of our pilot.

c) Are there limits on price/quantity requested by a particular individual?

Peter Spitzform: No.  Though, as above, we will deliberate on very expensive items, but we do not prevent individuals from ordering whatever they need.

  1. How did you introduce this to your patrons?

Peter Spitzform: We simply loaded the OOD records and turned it on.  We did not do a major publicity push, though we had a news item about it on the library’s home page for a while, and it was written up in a campus publication.

Lynn Wiley: At UIUC, we used Library Gateway announcements.

  1. Can Peter clarify whether they never link records to OCLC, or just for items that are not purchased?

Peter Spitzform: We link all of our owned items to OCLC.  We do not link the records for books available for on-demand ordering, but which have not been requested or purchased.

  1. Is the new PDA program instead of an approval plan (e.g., where books simply arrive based on a profile)?

Peter Spitzform: Our OOD program for print books was substituted for our approval plan just for the three presses we were using.  We received the records for the entire publishing programs of Wiley, Palgrave Macmillan, and Oxford.  However, our new e-book patron-driven acquisitions pilot is based on our profile: records for available e-books from the three presses are loaded only after they have been qualified by our approval profile.

  1. How many of the OOD purchases would have come on approval prior to your implementation of PDA?

Peter Spitzform: For FY10, our patrons ordered 590 books from our OOD program; we would have received 1,502 books on our approval plan that same fiscal year (i.e. we did not receive 912 books we would have on approval.)  For FY09, patrons ordered 505 books from our OOD program; we would have received 1,759 on our approval plan that fiscal year (i.e. we did not receive 1,254 books we would have on approval.)

  1. Did you purchase the bibliographic records? Does the three-day turnaround include full cataloging?

Peter Spitzform: UVM does purchase the MARC records we use for our OOD program.  And yes, we catalog the books on a rush basis as part of the 3 working day turnaround.

Lynn Wiley: YBP purchase since then neglible; the three-day turnaround does include the full cataloging.

  1. Now that you have some experience with order on demand, is there a shift in acceptance by bibliographers?

Peter Spitzform: At UVM, we do not have bibliographers.  I oversee Collection Development, and our profile with YBP is the central tool we use to obtain our books.

Lynn Wiley: At UIUC, the humanities folks are still nervous bout OOD, so we are providing more data.

  1. Do you coordinate with bookstores for textbook PDA requests?

Peter Spitzform: We do not have experience with textbook PDA activities, and we have not utilized bookstores for any of our patron-driven purchasing plans at UVM.

Lynn Wiley: We did a study with the bookstore a few years back, and the textbook costs would have killed our monograph budget on our campus.

  1. Are all the savings coming out only from the three publishers?

Peter Spitzform: Yes, all the savings I’ve reported on the books we would have received on our profile, but which were not ordered by patrons in our OOD program, all came from our 3 selected publishers.

  1. You have subject librarians, and the description about them says they do collection development... do they still? How has this affected how much collection development they do?

Peter Spitzform: I’m guessing this is not for UVM.  We have subject liaisons, but not subject bibliographers.

  1. Has anyone discussed the potential impact of large-scale PDA in lots of universities on academic publishing, and therefore publishing opportunities for scholars/faculty?

Peter Spitzform: I’m not aware of seeing any studies on this.  Certainly, however, if libraries were to do PDA on large scales, the goal would be (or at least should be) to allow patrons to discover MORE than they would have under traditional practices.  That is, it would be in the interest of libraries and their patrons to load the records for more books than they would have purchased traditionally (automatically), to allow patrons as much freedom to discover what they need as possible.

Lynn Wiley: Good question. We know at Illinois that we can’t get all the domestic publishing output, never mind foreign publishing (and we did try a lot before the budgetary issues). This new program gives us the ability to purchase those titles selected (virtually) by bibliographers while also meeting the needs of our users who simply require a bigger universe to get their work accomplished. We can afford this still as with the shift to more e-books, it allows us to balance the package e-book deals vs. title by title purchasing.

  1. What do you mean that titles weren't owned?

Peter Spitzform: I’m not certain what this question means, but for our OOD program for print books, we loaded the records for books we did not yet own, and patrons request those that they need us to purchase.  At that point, of course, we do own those titles.

Lynn Wiley: If you mean to ask why we loaded records for titles not owned: At Illinois for the print based we deduped on load to take out those we already owned in print. For Ebrary, we took of the publishers of the big packages we already bought -- like Springer e-books -- but we also kept in some university press e-books we knew we owned in print, as we wanted to see the use of them vs. use of the print.

  1. Why were the records added, if the titles were already owned? Especially given how many of these were requested?

Peter Spitzform: At UVM, we did not add records for titles already owned.

Lynn Wiley: Assume this is a question for the Illinois PDA: It was a consortial project, and we looked at purchase gap and availability, and we needed to meet a user demand for popular titles and e-book turnaways of user limits are a factor there if we start buying consortially.

  1. How did you transfer the “rush not available” requests to ILL (e.g., automated, manual)?

Lynn Wiley: Manually.

  1. So far both presentations have spoken of YBP for paper copies. Did the presenters speak with other vendors? Have other vendors shown interest?

Peter Spitzform: UVM has worked exclusively with YBP for decades.  Because of the solidity of our relationship, we did not seek out other vendors.

Lynn Wiley: YBP is our vendor by contract so have not spoke to anyone else.

  1. Did you specifically include or exclude textbooks from either study?

Peter Spitzform: At UVM, we did not decided to include or exclude textbooks.

Lynn Wiley: Yes by YBP categorization so then this means that  those more “subjective” labels not caught.

  1. Did you track requests by patron type (e.g., faculty, graduate, undergraduate)?

Peter Spitzform: I mentioned in my part of the presentation that we changed our user interface for Order on Demand after we did some usability testing.  At that point we began to include patron types in the order form, but I have not gathered that data yet.

Lynn Wiley: Yes, we did. Graduate student requests were highest, but all groups were represented.

  1. For all speakers: You used ebrary. Have you had patrons desiring downloadable ebooks vs. ebrary's online-viewing model? And how has the purchase of ebrary by ProQuest affected your PDA projects?

Peter Spitzform: UVM has not started utilizing ebrary’s services yet, though we’re open to doing so in the future.  Our current PDA plan for ebooks is with EBL, which can be downloaded to e-readers.

Lynn Wiley: Latter, do not know as yet, re former it is a problem, do want pdf downloads but this is our opportunity to ask for it and show why we need it and it is still only way to get to title by title for a broad spectrum of titles so it’s why we continue to purchase…we spend a lot more at Illinois on the large book titles that ARE downloadable.

  1. Two questions: Why did Duke go with e-preferred rather than PDA? How long did it take to attach OCLC holdings to the ebook records?
  1. We've had a PDA running for a number of years, but have had problems getting our purchases reconciled with OCLC (non-purchases in there still). Has Duke also experienced problems reconciling OCLC and the local catalogue? Not the ebook titles individually, but on the whole (we've had difficulties getting only the purchased items in there).
  1. How many clicks did it take before a purchase was generated? Did you have a threshold (number of clicks before buying) or did one click purchase the ebook?

Peter Spitzform: UVM has set the third click to result in a purchase of EBL titles.

Lynn Wiley:  At Illinois TEN activities (print a page, view a page).

  1. Did you merge the ebrary records with existing records for print, or were the electronic and print versions in separate catalog records?

Lynn Wiley: Illinois all one catalog.

  1. For books that the library does NOT purchase, would you consider enabling users to make personal purchases?

Peter Spitzform: I would personally favor maximizing users’ choices, including the purchasing of titles themselves.  However, that view is not shared throughout our library at UVM, so we have not gone that route.

Lynn Wiley:  NO, not at Illinois, we will not broker individual purchases, we as a publicly funded institution will not make direct purchase referrals.

  1. Do you know what percentage of your ILL will remain traditional ILL, and what percentage will go to PDA?

Lynn Wiley: Good question and do not know right now it is small but given the growth of ebooks and how hard they are to “lend” that % will go up.

  1. For all presenters: If you projected out from the pilot to a year's expenditures, how much money would you have to budget to continue this pilot?

Peter Spitzform: At UVM, we only have enough data to comment on our print pilot.  Because the program has saved us lots of money each year it has operated, we are not concerned about allotting money to it.

Lynn Wiley: We are now looking at 100k for another PDA to see where that may bring us for print and are not yet doing another for Ebrary as we are looking at all models.

  1. What steps are you taking to limit expenditures so you have money throughout the year?

Lynn Wiley: Controlled profile, small record loads (but more frequently).

  1. For all presenters: Do you expect vendors will start charging premiums for print PDA titles, since they won't be selling as many books overall?

Peter Spitzform: So far, I have not heard of such a plan to increase prices or premiums from our vendor.  It’s possible (but I have no data on this) that vendors could start to gain customers they would not have had because of publicity about their willingness to participate in such programs.

Lynn Wiley: Publishers set the prices.

  1. For all three speakers: Who supplied the pre-order records, and did they ever bulk update them?

Peter Spitzform: YBP supplies our Order on Demand records, and EBL is working with YBP to provide our records for e-book PDA.  I’m not certain I understand the question about bulk updating.  Sorry!

Lynn Wiley: Records were not pre order  in that sense, they were full records, we have BibNotification for updates.

  1. Has anyone had problems with multiple links in their records (i.e., for multiple ebook platforms)?

Lynn Wiley: As we take out any ebooks we get from other sources no.

  1. How might NISO help in this area?

Answer (Participant): NISO could assist with ebook formatting issues so that an ebook could be used on any platform.

Peter Spitzform: The participant’s response is right-on.  I’m certain that consumers, patrons, and all e-book users would love to be able to read any book on any device.