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FY04 Acquisitions Annual Report

JULY 1, 2003 - JUNE 30, 2004

Prepared by: Lisa German


Narrative Summary of the Year’s Activities

Core processes

Services and Access

Staff and faculty in Acquisitions had a banner year.  Our primary initiatives included implementing Voyager acquisitions module, re-profiling our domestic approval plan, re-vending thousands of serials titles, implementing a new ordering process, implementing Promptcat, and working with the various library teams to improve access to our collections.

Through it all, the Acquisitions staff worked through countless workflow changes with cheer and good humor.  As a unit, the people who work in acquisitions handle change better than any group I’ve ever seen.  They are, simply, in a league of their own.

The Voyager acquisitions module is the third acquisitions system that Acquisitions has used in four years.  This implementation involved hard work on the part of all the staff.  I’d like to especially thank the Voyager Acquisitions Team (Stephanie Baker, Peggy Steele, Maria Porta, Rod Allen, Tiffany Tsou, Susan Edwards, Janice Pilch, Karen Wei, Tim Cole, and Barb Henigman) who worked very hard to implement this new system.  This was a huge initiative which involved the work of many people.  Maria oversaw the modification of the more than 15,000 order records, Tiffany Tsou created over 3000 funds, and Peggy Steele and Aart Olson worked with Accounts Payable to establish an electronic feed from Voyager to Banner.  Stephanie Baker and I conducted many training sessions for faculty and staff in and out of Acquisitions.  It was an enormous effort by a lot of people.   I’d also like to thank Mike Soule in Chemistry and Michael Norman and the folks in Serials Cataloging for their assistance. For the first time in the history of the UIUC library, acquisitions, cataloging and circulation functions are all being performed in the same system.  This is affording us the opportunity to work much more closely with the cataloging units.  We are examining workflows and seeing where we can make changes to make the technical services processes more efficient. We are also working more closely with the other acquisitions units in the library:  Asian, Law, and Slavic.  We meet regularly at the Voyager acquisitions team meetings and this has proven to be an excellent vehicle for standardizing procedures and sharing information.

 In the fall of 2003, the Approval Plan team re-profiled the Blackwell domestic approval plan.  We worked very hard along with Blackwell staff to re-profile according to the wishes of the library faculty and within our budget.  This process was severely hampered by the consolidation and integration of the Academic Book Center Company and Blackwell Book Services.  We also began using Blackwell’s Collection Manager system for ordering.  Thanks to the excellent training provided to the librarians by Kathleen Kluegel and Cindy Ingold, we moved to a new way of ordering for many of the monographs we purchase.  This process change has resulted in a redesigned workflow in both selection and acquisitions components of the ordering process.  Fewer students are needed to perform bibliographic searching.  Library faculty like the new system and it has reduced errors since the number of redundant steps performed has been curtailed.

 In FY04 we worked more closely with the Cataloging units.  We recognize that the entire technical services process needs to be efficient.  If material speeds through Acquisitions and sits in Cataloging, it does no one any good.  Conversely, if it takes Acquisitions a long time to do its job and then material speeds through Cataloging, that is not helpful either.  The goal of the whole process needs to be efficient. We implemented the Promptcat service from OCLC which delivers bibliographic records to our catalog at the time books are shipped to the library.  This improves accessibility and allows our catalogers to focus on more difficult cataloging activities. Naun Chew, Junghae Lee, and Beth Trotter did a great job assisting in this process.

In order to conform to the terms of the Serials Request for Proposal that was awarded to Ebsco, we revended more than 1000 serial titles from Swets Blackwell (now Swets Information Services) and Harrassowitz to Ebsco during the summer and fall of 2004. Lisa Fielder in particular deserves much of the credit for this successful revend that saved the university over $20,000 in service charges.  We paid most of our Ebsco invoices electronically in Voyager (for the first time) which saved countless hours of staff time. Stephanie Baker and Maria Porta did a great job learning this new process and we will train staff to process these in the future.

Much time was spent working out new procedures for electronic resources access and troubleshooting.  Wendy Shelburne worked closely with John Weible and Michael Norman on the new Online Resource Registry (ORR) implementation and our troubleshooting team answered hundreds of reference questions.  We began tallying them in June and realized we answered 400 questions from users and other staff members. 

It’s very hard to write a report of the Acquisitions Unit in a vacuum.  We work so closely with the AUL for Collections, the selectors in the library, and all the faculty in Technical Services.  Teamwork occurs, work overlaps and processes are revised so it is hard to know sometimes where the work of one unit ends and the other begins.  This is a feature of our integrated environment. 

Collection Development

The approval plans continue to be underfunded.  The devaluation of the dollar affected the European Blanket Order so severely that we had to cease receiving books from Italy and Spain from April-June, 2004. 


Support/Ancillary Activities

All Acquisitions work can fall under support activities.  Lisa Fielder and Wendy Shelburne worked with departmental libraries to assist them in connecting to electronic resources. We began claiming monographs proactively for the first time in order to assist departmental libraries with claims.


Training and Staff Development Activities

With the implementation of the Voyager acquisitions module, staff throughout Acquisitions received training and learned how to use the new system.  Each staff member worked with Stephanie Baker and not only learned how to use the new system, but, in many cases, received a refresher on how to perform their jobs.  The system is leading to several changes in workflow.   We have done several cross training activities so that in all but one case, multiple people can perform each of the various ordering, claiming, and receiving activities that occur in acquisitions. We conducted 13 training sessions for fund managers on the user of the Voyager Acquisitions System, Katie Clark conducted two “excel for fund managers” sessions (thanks, Katie!) and hosted two forums with guests from Blackwells and Ebsco.

Additionally, we hosted an e resources forum and several open sessions with our various vendors.


Innovative Ideas, New Initiatives and Successful/Failed Examples

Each of the examples above are new initiatives for the UIUC Library.  We implemented a new system for recording acquisitions activities, implemented Promptcat, implemented new ordering systems and streamlined e resources troubleshooting.


Public Relations and Promotional Activities

Acquisitions staff worked with the AUL for Collections on the third promotion and tenure ceremony for newly promoted or tenured faculty.


Goals and Planning


Last year’s plans and goals:



This year’s plans and goals:


These goals are a mixture of both tactical and strategic goals.