unduplicated counts of serial titles. Dual‐format titles will be reported as electronic‐only in the ARL
Statistics 2006–07, reflecting the current transition from print to electronic formats.6
The process of deriving serials title counts was tested over the period of a year and, although not
perfect, it is feasible and practical in the short‐term and much more meaningful in the long‐term. ARL
reported extensively on the testing done at Texas A&M University and a detailed process for
implementation is documented in the ARL Statistics Webcast, which is available on the ARL Web site.7
Issues have emerged related to ISSN standardization practices, serials with no ISSN assignments, branch
and department libraries that are independent from one another and hard to deduplicate, and difficulties
regarding the implementation of new procedures. Collaborative discussion on how to address such
issues is taking place through postings on the Library Assessment Blog8 and during in‐person
conversations at ARL Survey Coordinators workshops and meetings. ARL also provides an ARL
Statistics FAQ online to help member libraries move into the new paradigm of counting serials.9
FROM COLLECTIONS TO EXPENDITURES
In an environment where collections are morphing into terabytes, petabytes, exabytes,
zettabytes, and yottabytes of information, it is questionable whether the units of volumes held, volumes
added, and serial subscriptions can continue to offer the utility they had in the past. As shown in Table 3
and Graph 3, it is now much more common for items to be loaned and lended between libraries than to
The challenge of measuring collections in new ways gave rise to the work of the ARL Task Force
on New Ways of Measuring Collections.10 During its two‐year investigation, the task force
systematically collected qualitative feedback through one‐on‐one interviews with each ARL library
director and, during the second year of its operation, the task force deployed two top researchers in
qualitative and quantitative methodologies, Yvonna Lincoln and Bruce Thompson. Two reports were
produced for the ARL community: “Research Libraries as Knowledge Producers: A Shifting Context for
Policy and Funding,”11 documenting the results of the qualitative inquiry, and “Some Alternative
Quantitative Library Activity Descriptions/Statistics that Supplement the ARL Logarithmic Index,”12
documenting the results of the quantitative inquiry. Based on these reports, the task force forwarded a
set of recommendations to the ARL Board of Directors that formed the following action agenda for the
ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee during 2007:
1. Reserve use of the current Membership Criteria Index for those occasions when it is needed for
consideration of membership issues.
2. Implement an Expenditures‐Focused Index.
Richard K. Johnson and Judy Luther, “The E-Only Tipping Point for Journals” (Washington DC: ARL, 2007),
http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/Electronic_Transition.pdf; Karla Hahn, “The State of the Large Publisher Bundle: Findings from
an ARL Member Survey,” ARL: A Bimonthly Report, no. 245 (April 2006): 1–6,
ARL Statistics Webcast, http://www.arl.org/arldocs/stats/statsevents/stats_webcast/120407ARL_final.html.
Library Assessment Blog, http://libraryassessment.info/?cat=28.
9 ARL Statistics FAQ, http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/statsfaq_dec3.pdf.
10 Task Force on New Ways of Measuring Collections, http://www.arl.org/stats/aboutstats/tfnewways.shtml.
11 Yvonna Lincoln, “Research Libraries as Knowledge Producers: A Shifting Context for Policy and Funding” (Washington DC:
ARL, 2006), http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/lincoln.pdf.
12 Bruce Thompson, “Some Alternative Quantitative Library Activity Descriptions/Statistics that Supplement the ARL
Logarithmic Index” (Washington DC: ARL, 2006), http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/bruce_3mk.pdf.