Like many other academic research libraries, the UCSB Library faces multiple challenges in the effort to build collections and provide access to information resources needed to support the diverse programs of research and teaching on our campus.
The cost of academic information resources continues to rise at a pace well above the rate of inflation in the general economy.1 In addition, the volume of scholarly publishing worldwide is increasing rapidly, and academic publishers are developing a proliferation of costly new online research databases and other electronic resources. At the same time, because of the challenging economic environment of the past decade, and especially following the global recession of 2007-2009, collections budgets of many research libraries have failed to keep up with the demands of the academic information marketplace. At UCSB, while the base collections budget has been protected from cuts since the early years of the last decade, it has mostly remained flat since then, with no new funding to cover rising annual costs of journal and database subscription. As a result, the library is limited in its ability to add new subscriptions without cancelling others, and the rate of monographic acquisitions has declined.
As part of the University of California, UCSB participates in subscriptions for research databases, journals, and ebook packages negotiated on behalf of the UC campuses by the California Digital Library (CDL). While these CDL-licensed resources are highly cost effective for UCSB and greatly extend our access to a broad and diverse array of academic information resources, it is a common misconception that they are available to our campus at no cost. In fact, for the great majority of CDL resources to which UCSB has access, we pay a share of the subscription cost, along with the other participating campuses, and annual increases in these costs must be covered out of our collections budget. Nor is it true that all CDL-licensed resources are available equally to all ten campuses. There are many CDL resources that can be accessed by faculty and students at some UC campuses but not others. That includes UCSB, when the cost to participate cannot be sustained given our budget limitations.
1Inflation data in the accompanying chart is from Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)” (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Labor, 2013), ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt; YBP Library Services, “Annual Book Price Update,” (2013), http://www.ybp.com/book_price_update.html; Stephen Bosch, “Average Price of Serials, Based on Titles in Select Serial Indices: 2009-2013,” Library and Book Trade Almanac (Medford NJ: Information Today, 2013), 430-431.