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Electronic collection growth: an academic library case study




Kichuk, Diana

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited



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Purpose - This paper seeks to provide recent case study evidence for the remarkable growth of electronic resources in Academic library collections and to analyze growth patterns and impacts. Design/methodology/approach - A case study reviewed electronic resources growth at the University of Saskatchewan Library over a 12-year time series, from 1996-1997 to 2007-2008. The researcher collected data from the library's databases A-Z lists over the time series, compiled statistics and growth rates for both net holdings and new acquisitions, then analyzed and contextualized the results. Findings - The study reveals three electronic resources growth or development stages corresponding to advances in electronic resource types - i.e. bibliographic, full text and reference - and a pattern of sustained rapid growth. It was found that growth doubled within the last four years of the time series, with ±100 resources being added annually in the same period. Both internal and external events impacted on growth. Just as internal and external events contribute to the growth of electronic resources, new events such as economic decline may contribute to growth decline. Research limitations/implications - While the study is limited to a single academic library case, it has applications to similar academic library profiles across North America, where sustained rapid growth has had a significant impact on reference workers and researchers. Practical implications - This research provides a case study for describing electronic resources growth in academic libraries. The data and findings may help support funding increases, and an understanding of the extent of growth and its impact on reference workers and researchers. Originality/value - Although generalizations from one case study cannot be made, this study of electronic resources growth and its implications substantiates the general conviction that overwhelming growth has occurred and that the consequences for library services and systems is considerable. The paper applies the concept of growth or development stages: bibliographic, full text and reference, to describe the evolution of electronic resources in an academic library.



Academic libraries; collections management; digital libraries; electronic journals


Collection Building, Vol. 29, Iss: 2 (2010) pp. 55-64







Collection Building, Vol. 29, Iss: 2 (2010) pp. 55-64

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