SPEC Kit 324: Collecting Global Resources · 63
Challenges: insufﬁcient funding; inability to track down worthwhile additions to collection; out of print, no supplier;
language problems/expertise; Measures to overcome challenges: consortial cooperative purchase agreements; grants/
outside funding; language learning initiatives/grants; creative approaches, such as employing native speakers/students
from world areas.
Collections/materials budget reduction.
Comments from Different Area Studies Managers (not much on measures to overcome). African Studies: Reduced
staff support is limiting some activities. Arabic Studies: availability, language barrier, lack of book dealers who can
supply. Asian Studies: lack of affordability and subsequent budget stone-walling for the most desired yet high ticket
e-resources. IT/professional librarian colleague CJK-phobia (“we can’t deal with CJK since no one can read the
characters and implement a system-wide electronic resource like Si ku quan shu” (–-”we can’t give you dedicated
workstations for such a marginal use”—despite the fact such platforms are no longer required) or shelve and identify
CJK books in our branch libraries (even if the records and spines are all Romanized!) Peripheralization despite the
increased demand from patrons in such programs as Chinese language/literature. No overt measures have been taken
to overcome these challenges. Latin American Studies: purchasing power is in decline versus some Latin American
currencies (e.g., Brazil and Argentina). Latin American dealers are uneven in quality of their pre-selections, thus
requiring more and more time by librarian to review lists, catalogs, and offerings. E-products are not always of highest
technology from Latin America, thus making purchases unsatisfactory and risky in many cases.
Copyright differences between US and other countries, especially in acquiring electronic resources. Joining cooperative
groups is one way to address this, which can talk to vendors as a group. Shortage of language expertise among
technical services staff, for certain languages. Global resources librarians spend considerable time providing language
assistance to technical services staff, and now some language materials are outsourced for cataloging en masse
(to OCLC, for example). Bureaucratic challenges in getting public university to make payment to overseas vendors,
particularly in developing countries. Global resources librarians spend considerable time “troubleshooting” payment
Cost—we have requested additional funding from the university and pursued grant opportunities. Content—we have
purchased materials from online vendors that were not available through our standard sources. Statistics—availability
of usage statistics is an ongoing challenge for us.
Declining resource budgets, an endemic problem in the library, but one that is exacerbated for global resource
collection development by disproportionately high inflation as many previously developing regions continue to converge
economically with the US. Measure taken: the library strongly encourages librarians to involve themselves in community
outreach and development activities to build alternative, endowment-based sources of funding. Global resource
librarians have perhaps more natural opportunities to do this than librarians in other areas. Logistical problems that are
fundamental to collecting from certain world areas, e.g., obstacles to shipping, undeveloped or incompatible banking
systems, lack of bibliographic control for national publishing industries, lack of well-developed book export trade.
Measure taken: Periodic intensive foreign acquisitions travel helps alleviate some of these problems and in a surprisingly
Difﬁculty in developing and maintaining efﬁcient and effective vendor relationships. As the global economy has
suffered, smaller vendors are less proﬁtable. With smaller proﬁt margins, they are in danger of closing. Short runs of
materials that quickly go out of print and may have poor distribution channels. Rely heavily on book dealers to help in
collecting this material. We have turned to online sources to help track down out of print titles. Decline of US dollar in
purchasing power and inflation of resource prices, especially in the subscription fees of e-resources.
Dramatically increased cost of shipping has resulted in reallocation of collection funds to pay for shipping and handling
costs. The measures adopted to cope with the situation because of the reallocation of funds that would have been