Post-National Library Week FYI

by Kelly Jacobsma, Director


Libraries generally don’t publicly promote political agendas; however we feel that our users may want to know how politics in Washington and the President’s proposed budget may impact library services in Michigan and at Hope.  As you may know, President Trump has proposed eliminating all federal library funding – and the agency, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), that administers much of it – in his initial FY18 budget proposal.


Total elimination of IMLS as proposed in the President’s budget would have a devastating impact on library service across Michigan. For instance, the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds pay for all costs associated with MeLCat, the statewide resource sharing program that provides nearly one million loans to library patrons per year, as well as the majority of the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) 40 databases and eBook content. Both programs have become irreplaceable for libraries and schools of all types and sizes.


At Hope, we would not only lose MeLCat sharing, we would lose the Academic OneFile full-text database and many others. Academic OneFile is the most used database by Hope students.


During the FY18 appropriations lobbying season, the American Library Association asked Representatives to sign “Dear Appropriator” letters to the Appropriations Committee, asking them to preserve funding this year for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. One-third of the entire House of Representatives (from both parties) signed “Dear Appropriator” letters and nearly 170 members signed at least one.  (Visit this House tracker to see whether your Representative in the House signed.) So far, none of our West Michigan Congressmen have signaled support. While there will surely be budget negotiations, we invite you to express your support for LSTA funding and the exceptional services these funds provide to Michigan communities. The value of being informed about the issue is that it allows you to take a stand. You can make your voice heard by posting a comment on the blog, writing an opinion piece in a newspaper, or writing a thoughtful letter to your legislators in Washington. As always, remember that at Hope we practice the Virtues of Public Discourse as we express our views with those who may not agree with us.


The entire budget is online at America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. For more information and actions that you can take to save library funding nationally and in Michigan, visit the American Library Association’s Government Relations and Advocacy page.


Shapeshifting: What’s Happening with Scholarly Journals and What Faculty Can Do

When the annual Periodicals Price Survey 2010 appeared in the April issue of Library Journal, not much came as a surprise. Chemistry and Physics top the disciplines with the highest average price per journal; over 50% of publishers reported a 5-10% drop in print orders; and library directors were advised to expect a 6-8% increase in prices for 2011.

By and large we saw 5% price increases on our major journal packages with a couple of exceptions. Oxford University Press obviously thought it was not getting a big enough piece of the pie and increased our journal package price by 54%. Nature Group raised the ire of liberal arts colleges nationwide when they increased the price of a print subscription to Scientific American from $35 to $300. We have dropped our online access to Scientific American next year due to a 100% price increase for the online version. The University of California is considering a system-wide boycott of all Nature journals due to a proposed price increase of 400% in 2011.

In order to manage journal subscription prices in 2010 (in the face of a 2% budget reduction), the Hope College libraries undertook an aggressive review of journals in print. Print journal subscriptions were reduced from 614 titles to 399. Microfiche subscriptions were reduced from 127 titles to just 11. Eight-five journal subscriptions were dropped altogether and 130 were converted to electronic format. We reduced our “spend” with Elsevier by nearly $15,000, relying instead on our “purchase-on-demand” program. Some new e-journal packages were added, most notably a package of 45 nursing journals.

What’s The Big Deal?

As noted in the “Periodicals Price Survey 2010,” many libraries are re-evaluating the value of Big Deal journal packaging. Big Deal journal packages are a large bundle of titles, of varying relevance, offered for a single package price. One of the more disturbing trends amongst the Big Deal publishers is that of buy-outs and mergers of e-journal companies and bidding wars between companies to acquire significant titles. Big Deals at Hope include packages from the American Chemical Society, Blackwell, Cambridge, Duke, Wolters Kluwer, Oxford, Project Muse, Sage, Springer, and Wiley. This past year we saw Wiley acquire Blackwell, Nature acquire Scientific American, and Sage acquire important Association of Psychological Science journals from Wiley-Blackwell. The Sage Big Deal was perhaps the most upsetting as they offered new unsavory pricing models and less flexibility in their packages. As evidenced by the Nature Group’s response to the University of California’s request to negotiate, some publishers are simply going to play hardball.

Journals Are Essential

While it goes without saying that scholarly journals aren’t cheap, they are an essential component in supporting a liberal arts education, particularly at an institution like ours — heavily focused on faculty research and publishing and student-faculty collaborative scholarship. Our stats on e-journal use show that the Hope College community accessed over 100,000 electronic journal articles in 2008-2009. Our top twenty most used journals this past year were: Journal of the American Chemical Society, Ecology, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Journal of Philosophy, American Literature, Hispania, Plant Physiology, Ethics, Reference & Research Book News, Psychology Today, PMLA, Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, JOPERD – The Journal of Physical Education Recreation & Dance, Journal of African History, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of Advanced Nursing , American Historical Review, and Mind.

Preserving Our Investment

Over the past ten years, the library has spent over one million dollars on access to electronic journals. By and large these are subscriptions which allow access only as long as the library continues to pay. While extremely convenient for users, the e-journals market continues to be volatile, and prices continue to rise much faster than library budgets. As a way of protecting our investment in electronic journals, the library has joined Portico, a not-for-profit electronic archiving service. To date, over 8,200 journals and 4,600 e-books have been promised to the Portico archive. If a publisher goes out of business, there is a catastrophic event, or in many cases if the library can no longer afford to subscribe, Portico ensures we will retain access to the content we have already purchased.

E-journal Exp. Ten YearsWhat Can Faculty Do?

Our community is not powerless in coping with the scholarly communication crisis — there are steps we can take. Our faculty are generating the scholarship that fuels the publishing of scholarly journals. According to the Hope College Faculty Bibliography, Hope faculty authored 375 articles between 2008 and 2010; 105 in STM journals. Yet by signing standard publisher agreements, faculty may have limited their ability to post their articles on their course web site or in an institutional repository. In the age of the Internet, when sharing has become easier than ever, they may be limiting their ability to share their work. Sharing not only enables new research to build on earlier findings and fuels the further advancement of knowledge, it brings scientists and scholars the recognition that advances their careers. Discussion about creating an institutional repository where faculty could make their work freely accessible was a major focus of the Library Committee this year. Stay tuned for that continuing conversation on campus in the coming year.

Here is what faculty can do:

1. Educate yourself about your rights as an author. View this short YouTube video on Author Rights, or read this brochure on Author Rights. If you are interested in retaining your rights an an author, a librarian can help you determine how to proceed. One way to get started is to use the Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine which will help you generate a PDF form that you can attach to a journal publisher’s copyright agreement to ensure that you retain certain rights. Librarians may also be able to help you determine what the publisher already allows by consulting the SHERPA/RoMEO database, which provides a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher’s copyright transfer agreement.

2. Consider publishing in an open access journal. Understandably, faculty want to publish in the highest quality high-prestige journals possible. However, many open access journals are of high quality (generating respectable impact factors) and are widely accepted. The ISI Web of Science database now includes over 450 open access journals. This week Springer announced that it is has partnered with BioMed Central to offer 12 new open access, peer-reviewed journals in science, technical, and medical fields. Because the library is a member of BioMed Central we receive a 15% discount off the article processing fees (BioMed Central’s standard article-processing charge is $1,485). The library will help offset the cost of article-processing charges if faculty choose to publish in a BioMed Central or PLoS journal.

3. Support open access legislation. On April 15, 2010, the Federal Research Public Access Act (HR 5037), known by its acronym (FRPAA) was again introduced into the House and is pending in the Senate. The bipartisan Federal Research Public Access bill would require that US Government agencies with annual extramural research expenditures over $100 million make electronic manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles that stem from their research freely available on the Internet. Presidents at 118 colleges and universities (including President Bultman) have endorsed the bill. You can support the bill by writing to your legislators via the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

— Kelly Jacobsma, Director of Libraries

Work Cited:
Henderson, Kittie S. and Stephen Bosch. “Seeking the New Normal [ Periodicals Price Survey 2010]. Library Journal 15 April 2010. 36 – 40.

Citation Conversations

Participate in a campus discussion about citation rules and formats. We welcome input from students and faculty.

Students have expressed confusion and frustration about creating “correct” citations. Directions given to students in class are not always consistent with what is stated in the most up-to-date version of the particular style guidelines; nor are all faculty within a discipline telling students the same thing.

Citation ConversationsInformation about citations in 2009, including where on the library website to get the most up-to-date official versions of various styles, are provided in this article. Please go to the comment box at the end of the post to share your thoughts on the matter!

How do I correctly cite an article that I read full text online?

Answers to this question vary from instructor to instructor.

This year, both MLA and APA have changed their guidelines. The most up-to-date information the library has access to is Research and Documentation Online, by Diana Hacker.

An example of a recent change: MLA, which until Summer 2009 required the URL of the publisher for fulltext articles (found online), now only requires that the name of the database and the word “Web” be used to indicate that an article was found online rather than in paper (or microform).

Johnson, Kirk. “The Mountain Lions of Michigan.” Endangered Species Update 19.2 (2002): 27-31. Expanded Academic Index. Web. 26 Nov. 2008.

Note: The URL of an article (or a database) is not the same as the name of the database. In general, including the name of the database is cleaner looking than including the URL. In the sample above, Expanded Academic Index is the name of the database.

Students Confused by the Wide Range of Citation Styles They are Expected to Know

From what librarians have heard, the instructions given in class varies from instructor to instructor. For instance, the Chicago Manual of Style currently includes the URL of the source database (for an online article) as a required element in their citation guidelines. Some faculty are asking students to omit this information.

The fact that two different versions of the most recent Hacker manual (print) are roaming about hasn’t helped matters. Also, the most recent APA manual in print includes some errors in the sample paper section.


Although some faculty say they do not care where the students find the article, whether electronically or in print, saying they just want the “basics” – author, article title, journal title, pages, date, etc. – these directions are not consistent with the citation manuals or with what students are asked to do in other classes.

For now, directing students to Research and Documentation Online, thefirst choice on the Citing Sources link from the library hopepage, is the most consistent advice.

Colleague and student friends, please share your thoughts on the matter in the Comments box! (note: comments are moderated to prevent spam)

— KJ and PA —

The Center for Research Libraries

crlHope College is now a member of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), a partnership of more than 240 university, college, and independent research libraries. The consortium acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives and other traditional and digital resources for research and teaching. These resources are then made available to member institutions cooperatively, through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery. The Center’s mission is to support advanced research and teaching in the humanities, sciences and social, sciences by ensuring the survival and availability of the knowledge resources vital to these disciplines.

This new membership is a big deal. CRL collections are diverse and highly developed, including:

  • 6,500 international newspapers
  • 2,500 U.S. newspapers, many dating to the colonial era
  • 2,000 U.S. ethnic titles
  • More than 38,000 foreign journals that are rarely held in U.S. Libraries
  • More than 800,000 foreign dissertations – mostly from European institutions
  • Major microform and paper collections from Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, and more

For researchers at member institutions CRL functions as an axillary library of extraordinary resources with user-focused policies including project-length loan privileges and three-day delivery on most interlibrary loans. Faculty also are eligible to participate in a demand purchase program whereby purchases of up to $2,000 annually for foreign dissertations, newspapers, and archival material may be requested.

Access to the CRL collections is available immediately. The library staff will be working on adding links and other access points to the CRL collections. If you are interested in learning more about how CRL may support your research, contact your librarian.

Finals Week at Hope – How Students Work

At lunch today I came across some statistics in a publication called NextSpace (By the Numbers: statistics to think about).

  • 278 photo uploads per second to Facebook
  • 10 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 2,000,000 e-mails sent per second
  • 100,000,000,000 clicks per day on the web
  • 1,000,000 instant messages sent per second
  • 55,000,000,000,000 links between all web pages

Then, I did a walk around the library to see what was happening during finals week. The photos tell an interesting story.

How Students Work4

Why the Library?

We know that for many of you entering Hope College this fall, using a library for research has not been a part of your past experience. And in the age of Google, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest we have a pretty good idea why this is so. So what can we offer you when you ask “Why the Library?”

When you find yourself finally settled into some corner of a library, as you begin to engage with the ideas flowing from a book, a journal, or from your own pen, you will find that your mind clears. Surrounded by quiet, you find that the atmosphere in a library gives you permission to shut out worries and demands of your daily life, and that you can think. You find that you are able to concentrate in a way that you cannot in other places. You have permission to engage fully with the ideas in front of you and you find more clarity in your own thoughts.

When you walk between the book stacks in the library, you are walking among conversations handed down over centuries. Conversations of great men and women, and also those of misguided purpose, sit together on shelves in constant discussion. Conversations of those with whom you agree and those with whom you disagree await your examination. Sitting amongst this noisy conversation, you have the opportunity to discern your own truth, perhaps a truth that did not previously exist for you. Creative expression, that which makes us most human, is preserved among the shelves; literature, poetry, dance, visual arts and music are there to be experienced and explored. The greatest scientific discoveries, emerging from the sweat of years of research, building upon the trial and error of those who have gone before them, live in the texts of scholarly journals.

We all recognize that libraries now exist in two realms, the physical and the virtual. The virtual library – electronic books, journals, reference sources, and databases of digital print, audio and image files – make library research efficient, convenient and, in some ways, easier than in the past. The materials found in virtual libraries, however, are just beginning to become visible through search engines like Google. Most virtual library material is contained within library electronic collections that must be searched using a database interface. Because the research shows that young adults do not find using library databases intuitive, we have provided a single search box layered on top of these collections to make searching library collections  intuitive. You may still need a guiding hand though, and librarians are here to be that guide. Librarians teach people how to ask good questions, find a good research topic, which electronic resources will be best for a particular need, how to navigate the interfaces, how to think about search results, how to get to the content, and how to avoid plagiarism.

Just as the technology of finding information has changed, so have the ways in which students learn. We now know that learning happens in community. In addition to reading, students spend much of their time creating, exploring, communicating and collaborating. Libraries have responded to these shifts by providing a supportive environment that nurtures these activities, integrating content with technology and services. Going beyond what is learned in a classroom by further exploring, internalizing and challenging, requires curiosity, a thirst to know more. The best library cannot instill that in our students alone. But we hope when that thirst appears, what we provide will satisfy.

Over time the ways in which scholarly information is communicated and how and where it is accessed will evolve. Libraries will adapt and provide new tools, methods and services for our students. For now, you just need to know that the library is here to help you succeed and that is reason enough when someone asks, “why the library?”

— Kelly Jacobsma
Director of Libraries