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Library Technology Reports Archive

Big-Deal Serial Purchasing: Tracking the Damage

The “Big Deal” looked like a good deal, a true win-win. But while the Big Deal has lowered the rate of serial price inflation, for many libraries the pricing remains unsustainable. Nearly half of libraries have seen substantial increases in serial spending during the past ten years. Where does your institution fall on the scale? Drawing from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data, Crawford presents a thorough study, crunching the numbers of a survey of 2,594 academic libraries through 83 revealing charts and graphs. Examining data organized by groups of academic libraries, and broken down by library size, sector, and Carnegie Classification, this issue ofLibrary Technology Reports offers such findings and explanations as:

  • Summary of number of institutions and full-time equivalent students
  • Tables plotting key figures from 2002 to 2012
  • Analysis of trends in spending and acquisitions, with notes on special cases
  • Data on how the non-serial spending is hitting the 1,516 small libraries particularly hard
  • Book-spending trends comparing liberal arts colleges to doctoral research universities or public and private institutions
  • Suggestions for improving libraries' position in the serial marketplace
Walt Crawford is an internationally recognized writer and speaker on libraries, technology, policy and media. Author of numerous books, articles, and columns, Crawford is also the creator, writer and publisher of Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, an ejournal on the intersections of libraries, policy, technology and media published monthly since 2001. He maintains a blog on these and other issues, Walt at Random. He received the LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Outstanding Communication for Continuing Education in Library and Information Science in 1995, the ALCTS/Blackwell Scholarship Award in 1997, and the Gale Group Online Excellence in Information Authorship Award in 1998. A senior analyst at RLG for four decades, he previously wrote Library Technology Reportsvol. 41, no. 2, “Policy and Library Technology.”

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