ARL Statistics: Redefining Serial Counts and Remaining Relevant in the 21st Century Martha Kyrillidou, Director, ARL Statistics and Service Quality Programs T he ARL Statistics 2006–2007 marks the 100th anniversary of the annual gathering of data established by James Gerould at the University of Minnesota. A landmark collection of data that has shaped the way research libraries have viewed themselves in the 20th century, the ARL Statistics are still relevant today thanks to the ongoing stewardship of the ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee. Through the work of the committee, the annual data collection was augmented in 1994–95 to include elements describing services, and in 2003–04 to include expenditures for electronic resources. Last year, the committee implemented another change that makes the ARL Statistics even more relevant for the 21st century: the definition for counting serials was changed from serial subscriptions to serial titles, emphasizing the scope of the content rather than the multiplicity of formats.1 The scope of the content available to library users is a more valuable indicator of a library’s relevance to the research, teaching, and learning processes within a research university. In earlier years, libraries were instructed to report the “total number of subscriptions, not titles, but electronic serials acquired as part of an aggregated package (such as MUSE or Academic’s IDEAL) [were] to be counted by title.” ARL library directors and other staff expressed concern that the serials count was problematic since many libraries engage in multiple consortial arrangements and the serials count was inflated by duplicate titles held in multiple packages. The RLI 262 18 FEBRUARY 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC Fast Facts from ARL Statistics 2006–2007 Half of a research library’s materials budget is spent on electronic resources. Both interlibrary borrowing and lending are decreasing as access to electronic resources is increasing. ARL libraries are adding a growing number of e-books to their collections.
Previous Page Next Page