The Buck Stops Here: Assessing Ebook Subscriptions at Columbia University Libraries

Goertzen, Melissa J.; Klahn, Krystie A.

Over the past four years Columbia University Libraries (CUL) has seen exponential growth in electronic book (e-book) purchasing. These purchases have not only increased the depth and breadth of the collection, but they have also created new opportunities for remote learning and instant information access. In turn, this new push for purchasing electronic has created new demands in assessment to understand the true benefit of these resources, most notably in regards to annual e-book subscriptions. This paper explains an assessment methodology used within the library system at CUL to evaluate the cost-benefit of e-book subscriptions. By appraising several databases, we were able to analyze cost and usage to determine the actual value of these resources. The findings yielded a savings of approximately $60,000 for the 2015 fiscal year. This is an ongoing initiative that will help us document the e-book landscape and build data sets that will inform collection development decisions.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Libraries and Information Services
Published Here
November 21, 2014


A slide deck based on this paper is available in Academic Commons at