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

Goertzen, Melissa J.; Klahn, Krystie A.

This paper builds on the ideas presented in The Future Landscape of E-Book Programs at Columbia University Libraries (Charleston Conference 2013, poster session). The objective is to describe an assessment methodology used at Columbia University Libraries which evaluated the cost-benefit of subscribed e-book collections. By appraising several databases, we were able to analyze cost and usage to determine the actual value of these resources. This work involved conducting cost and overlap analyses as well as examining usage data which identified common usage trends. The method was applied on two separate occasions in the Collection Development department and the Science and Engineering Division Libraries between January and May of 2014. The outcomes of this study yielded a savings of approximately $60,000 for the 2015 fiscal year. Since we worked with subscription packages, the savings will be ongoing and allowed us to evaluate how to allocate resources to best support the needs of the user community. In both cases, we spoke to the vendor and found opportunities for price negotiation and discussions related to platform performance.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Libraries and Information Services
Published Here
November 17, 2014


A presentation paper associated with these slides is available in Academic Commons at