Rethinking the Subscription Paradigm for Journals: Using Interlibrary Loan in Collection Development for Serials

Gail Perkins Barton, George E. Relyea, Steven A. Knowlton

Abstract

Many librarians evaluate local I nterlibrary Loan (ILL) statisti cs in order to affect collection development decisions concerning new subscriptions. In this study, the authors examine whether the number of ILL article requests received in one academic year can predict the use of those same journal titles once added to library reso urces. There is little correlation between ILL requests for indivi dual titles and their later use as subscribed titles. However, there is strong correlation between ILL re quests within a subject cat egory and later use of subscribed titles in that s ubject category. An additional study examining the sources from which patrons made ILL requests shows that database search results, not journal titles, dominate. These results call into question the need for libraries to subscribe to indiv idual journal titles rather than providing access to a bro ad array of articles.

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