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The Survey of Academic Library Subject Specialists: Biology & Medical Sciences

  • ID: 2417544
  • Report
  • February 2013
  • 92 Pages
  • Primary Research Group
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This study looks closely at the collection development and spending plans of library specialists in medicine and biology, predominantly from major academic institutions, but also including some corporate libraries and smaller colleges. The study covers overall budgetary allocations for medicine and biology, with time series data, as well as data for spending on eBooks, books, journals, databases, and other information vehicles. The study also reports on collection development plans for specific subject areas such as oncology, pharmacology, and evolutionary biology, just to name a few. The 100-page study also gives extensive data on the use of institutional digital repositories, trends in information literacy, relations with library patrons and many other areas of interest.

Participants include Harvard University, McGill University, the University of Manitoba, the University of Auckland, the University of Pittsburg, Carnegie-Mellon, Sanofi-Aventis and many others.
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This study is based on data from 55 colleges with programs in medicine and biology, predominantly from medical schools and PhD-level or research universities in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia/New Zealand. Participants include Carnegie-Mellon, Harvard University, Rice University, McGill University, Sanofi-Aventis, University of Auckland, University of Manitoba, University of Pittsburgh, and many others. The report looks closely at collection development plans in a broad range of areas including but not limited to: biotechnology, evolutionary biology, histology, marine biology, oncology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, virology and many other areas. The study also looks at medical and biology subject specialist perceptions of materials price increases, spending on e-books, information literacy requirements in medicine/biology, contributions to the materials budget from academic departments, book and monograph purchases, database preferences and renewal plans, use of university presses, use of institutional digital repositories, trends in budget and staffing, relations with library patrons, monitoring of faculty publications as an aid in collection development decision-making, and other issues in medical/biology librarianship.

Some of the study's many findings are that:
- 19.23 percent of libraries in the sample--23.81 percent of those in the United States but none of those in other countries--have received contributions from other departments of their college or organization to pay for information sources desired by these departments
- 34.62 percent of libraries in the sample, including 42.11 percent of higher education libraries and a third of medical and veterinary school libraries, have an endowment, grant, or other special allocation that falls outside the normal library budget but that supplements library purchases in biology and/or the life sciences
- Libraries in the sample have experienced a 2.5 percent increase in the price of print books in biology over the past year and an 8.75 percent increase in the price of e-books
- Libraries in the sample have increased spending on biology e-books from $6,016 in 2011 to $7,520 in 2012
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