Acquisitions

 

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FY00 Acquisitions/Binding Annual Report

JULY 1, 1999-JUNE 30, 2000

Summary of the Year’s Activities

 

Core processes

In 1998, the Technical Services Division went from a division with three departments (Acquisitions, Automated Services, and the Office of the Principal Cataloger) to a division of four Teams (Acquisitions, Original Cataloging, Rapid Cataloging, and Serials). This initial change reorganized the division, but reengineering the processes has just begun. Over the course of the past year, Acquisitions began reengineering several of it’s core processes. We revamped the method of monographic receipt to make it a more efficient and logical process, began classifying books with cataloging-in-publication data received on approval, began searching OCLC and adding holdings for books received on the European and Latin American Blanket Order, and reassigned a staff member to help handle serial receipt, payment and electronic access problems on a full time basis. Each of these changes was done with the goal of providing better service to the departmental libraries we serve and to our users.

The retirement of one staff member and the relocation of another provided an opportunity to reexamine our monographic receipt procedures. It was not uncommon for it to take up to a month for monographs to be processed and invoices to be approved. Small backlogs of 3-4 trucks of books were routine and staff never felt like they made a dent in the work. With the assistance of one of our Library Operation Assistants, a graduate assistant, and me, we were able to eliminate the small backlog. We then redesigned the process and made it much more efficient. Though staff still have to check multiple systems (DRA, accounting, occasionally the paper order file), we have made better use of student assistants who now check some of the files. Books arrive from the mailroom on trucks that are only 2/3 full so that staff don’t have to bend down to the lowest shelf on the truck. I met with those responsible for monographic receipt and we established the expectation that all materials received would be processed within five days. We then rewrote the procedures and posted them on the web so that they would be accessible to everyone and easy to update.

This effort has had good results for everyone involved. Staff now understand the importance of their work to the whole process, procedures are easier to follow, invoices are approved in a much timelier fashion, statements are easier to process in the Business Office, and books ultimately are received in departmental libraries sooner and thus are accessible to users sooner. We still have some work to do in this area, but the improvement is phenomenal and the monographic receipt staff should be commended for their willingness to change and for their hard work in making this effort successful.

Books received on the approval plans are often some of the most popular and sought after books received in the Library. They are published by publishers that all agree are important. In order to facilitate the receipt of these books to the departmental libraries, we began processing approval materials received with CIP information. With the assistance of staff on the Rapid Cataloging Team, we trained a staff member in Acquisitions to cutter these books so that they would be received in the departmental libraries within a week after selection by a librarian. Several types of books (biographies, new editions, literature) still are processed in Rapid Cataloging, but over 4500 books were sent directly from Acquisitions to the libraries within one week of selection. We are happy that we can provide this service to libraries and we might examine in the future whether cataloging in Acquisitions can be expanded.

Another area of enhancement of service has occurred in the European and Latin American Blanket Order receipt areas. Formerly books were received and stored in the Bookstacks for six months and then OCLC was searched by one of the cataloging team staff. If copy was found the book was cataloged and if not, then it was often researched or sent to a departmental library for cataloging. This lead to the duplication of orders since there was no access to the bibliographic record of books that were received. Beginning this year, we search the books in OCLC here in Acquisitions after selectors have examined the books. Our holding symbol is added in OCLC and a record is added to the DRA online catalog. This makes the books available to users, allows selectors to see what has been received so that they do not duplicate an order, and makes the books available for interlibrary loan. IRRC staff tell us that they retrieve several of these books per week so we know they are circulating. This process has been accomplished with the assistance and guidance of the Original Cataloging Team Leader and staff.

The other major change in the core processes in Acquisitions has to do with serials. We have been able to reassign a Library Technical Specialist to assist with any kind of serial problem, be it payment, receipt, claiming, or assistance with an electronic journal connection. This position is very important to the team and it’s beneficial for the departmental libraries to have a contact person to assist them with these types of problems.

Training and Staff Development Activities

Much of the training that staff have received has been connected with changes in technology. Several staff members went to Netscape class and the Tech Services Research Programmer is working individually with many staff to set them up with Netscape mail so that they can read attachments that are sent to them. Several Acquisitions staff members also attended the Word Class offered in June.

The Biennial Conference for Working Women was another development activity that several Acquisitions staff attended and found worthwhile.

Additionally, five staff members accompanied Annie Copeland and me to the Ebsco office in Cary, Illinois this spring. We spoke with the district manager, the sales manager, and our customer service representatives about our account and the service they provide to us. Acquisitions and Serials Team staff members were able to talk face to face with people they usually talk with over the phone.


Innovative ideas, new initiatives and successful/failed examples

Annie Copeland, Barb Henigman, Peggy Steele, Sara Randall, Deloris Holiman and I spent many hours this year examining whether DRA was the correct system to use for the management of Acquisitions and Serials. After extensive discussion with other research libraries across North America, we recommended to the Library Administration that we expand the Innovative serials check-in system to include Acquisitions and to expand the use of the serials module out to the departmental libraries. One of the primary goals is to bring access to current journal information to users. The implementation of this recommendation is the primary goal of the Acquisitions and Serials teams for FY 2001.

This year, we abolished the Marking Unit located in Room 12. The decision to abolish the Marking Unit was made for several reasons, not the least of which was that it was too labor intensive and the typewriters had become obsolete. Before the typewriters broke down, we wanted to have a plan in place to change the operation. We felt that it might be good to bring the labeling process closer to the catalogers. We also wanted to apply security strips to books as soon as they are received so that the collection would be more secure.

This change has brought mixed results. We could have done a better job communicating the change to departmental libraries; we’ll remember that in the future. It has become a more efficient process and we have eliminated any marking backlog and are able to keep current with physical processing in Acquisitions.

We totally revamped our web page this year so that 1) we could share our procedures with the rest of the library and ourselves and 2) to provide information to the libraries about our approval plans, blanket orders, cancellation information, etc. We queried the rest of the library on what they’d like on our web page and we’re incorporating these suggestions.


Public relations and promotional activities

For the third year in a row, Acquisitions staff managed the Library Booksale. Acquisitions staff sorted books, organized, and worked at the booksale. This year, we received a great deal of help from GSLIS students. They were indispensable and played a large part in the success of the sale. Five thousand dollars was raised for the Library.

This year, Karen Schmidt, Deloris Holiman and I went to several division meetings to talk about the materials budget and how to manage individual subject funds. I went to one division’s meetings three times in order to discuss what Acquisitions could do for them and to discuss and explain the approval plans. From my point of view, these one on one meetings were more beneficial than a large forum (we also conducted a large fund manager forum in the Fall.) Additionally, I went visited both the Life Sciences and Physical Sciences Division meetings to talk specifically about their needs.


Involvement with other units in the Library and on campus or beyond

The four technical services teams worked closely together on several projects and tried hard to look at the acquisitions process as one fluid process from beginning to end. This process starts with a selector and ends with the access to something, be it book, electronic resource, or serial. Each of the four team leaders has a different vantage point from which to view this process. Different combinations of us were able to collaborate on several different projects including the reengineering of the marking process, participating in the work of the Cataloging Process Task Force, recommending the use of the Innovative Millennium product for the management of Acquisitions and Serials, and changing the workflow of blanket order and CIP books.

On the Binding front, we continued to develop our relationship with Binding Unlimited. Karen Huffman and Erich Burkhardt are able to process all commercial binding and we transferred Sudha Ramaswamy to Acquisitions to work with Jim Remington managing the physical processing operation.

Much of my time this year was spent doing work as a member of the Budget Subcommittee of the Collection Development Committee. Under the leadership of Karen Schmidt, this committee worked very hard to allocate the materials budget wisely. It is a privilege to serve on this committee and to work with its very fine members.

The acquisition of electronic resources continues to take an ever-increasing part of my time. We arranged for trial subscriptions for various electronic journals this year. Paula Watson and I need to develop a workflow document for the procurement of electronic resources to enable us to help regularize the process.


Additional Topics deemed unique to the unit

For the past three years, I have documented the need for ergonomic furniture in my annual report. Several staff have experienced repetitive motion problems. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bart Clark for providing several workstations for Acquisitions staff this year. It has been a morale booster and has reduced the number of complaints about aching wrists and shoulders. By the end of the next year, every staff member will have an ergonomically sound workstation and for that, I am very grateful. 

 

Goals and Planning

  1. Last year’s plans and goals
  2. Last year, one of our main goals was to move forward with DRA Acquisitions and Serials. We examined those modules, deemed them insufficient to meet our needs, recommended the use of Innovative for both acquisitions and serials, and began working on an implementation plan. In a sense, the ‘moving forward’ part of our goal was realized; we’re moving forward in a much more direct and in a better fashion and we’re going to implement acquisitions and serials modules much better suited to our Library’s needs.

    Second, we said that we need to increase our use of technology in Acquisitions. We have done a great job doing that this year. Staff now input orders into several of our vendor’s own databases leading to a shorter time between order and receipt. We do online claiming with Ebsco, Harrassowitz and Academic. We have reorganized our web page to include more information for staff outside Acquisitions.

    Finally, retirements and transfers have led to a reorganizing and a reexamination of staffing levels. Recognizing the need for higher levels of staff classifications, we have closed two lower level clerical positions, increased our student wage budget and hired an additional graduate assistant, and supported the upgrades of several positions. This has resulted in a leaner, but a more productive workplace. We need to continue this trend.

  3. Next Year's Plans and Goals

    Strategic Plan:  Develop up-to-date and meaningful tools for monitoring and analyzing the Library’s activities so that Library resources for services can be allocated strategically and tactically.

    My goals:

    • Successfully implement the Innovative Millennium Acquisitions module
    • Complete an RFP for French books purchased on Blanket Order which will serve as a model for other RFPs.


    Strategic Plan: Create an ongoing internal training and development program for all Library faculty and staff to ensure a basic knowledge of library operations, to impart needed skills and to develop each individual’s skills, gifts and knowledge.

    My goals:

    • To continue to support all library training efforts
    • To facilitate activities that encourage interaction between fund managers and the vendors with whom we do business in order to take advantage of the services that they can provide us.
    • To provide an environment where everyone’s work is valued, where hard work is appreciated, and where initiative is encouraged.

     

PERSONNEL

Professional Staff, FTE 1.0
Graduate Assistants, FTE .5
Staff, FTE 19.0
Students, FTE 3.6

ROSTER Date of 1 st Employment End date of Employment



Academic

Lisa German 11/1/96



Graduate Assistant

Jason Stuhlmann 8/21/99



Support

Betty Albert 8/27/56 3/30/00
Erich Burkhardt 4/16/00
Joyce Catchings 2/25/88
David Chapman 2/2/81
Kathryn Clayton 2/7/94
Karen Coleman 11/18/98 2/25/00
Naomi Crow 6/12/95
Renee Ellis 9/1/96
Lisa Fielder 7/14/86
Willa Harper 8/12/85
Karen Huffman 5/21/95
Jaelyn Jefferson 2/15/82
Betsy Karlberg 12/9/85 4/28/00
Marilyn Lindholm 10/14/99
Linda Morris 1/4/89
Sudha Ramaswamy 9/13/93
James Remington 4/19/93
Lucille Roberts 6/9/70
Annette Schoenberg 10/5/78
Betty Smith 11/4/85
Beth Trotter 8/31/82
Charlotte Wingstrom 5/16/77