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Key BUDGET themes: (from infographic)

  • Who controls: library or academic department?
  • Developing sustainable models for PDA

References to support themes


From the University of Chester ebook curation case study
Ebook collection purchasing is generally planned with a fixed outright purchase made when specific pots of money are available. A small number of subscription purchases are also made. The library has a separate online budget used for the purchase of database/journals/large ebook collections online, accounting for the majority of e-purchases. In addition to these purchases 18% of books funds specifically allocated to departments in 2011-12 were used for ebook purchase.

Who controls: library or academic department?

From the University of Hertfordshire ebook curation case study
The information materials budget is held centrally by the Chief Information Officer and planned each year by a team of Information Managers following consultations with the Academic Schools they each support to define costed book investment plans for the year that take account of the collection development requirements to support the current work of the University. The budget profile for the year includes provision for the student demand led purchase of ebooks in addition to book selection by information managers and academic staff.

Developing sustainable models for PDA

From the University of Newcastle ebook curation case study

Allocating resources for ebooks is becoming quite challenging as many of the collections are sold as annual subscriptions, and so behave just like serials, plus of course they attract VAT. Traditionally, when allocating budgets, serial subscriptions were allocated first and the flexible portion of the resource budget was what was left for books and AV. In the early days, circa 2002, the library struggled to spend the funds allocated for ebooks, whereas now, the challenge is in juggling budgets to ensure that there is enough to go round. PDA limits have to be carefully controlled; otherwise they could absorb the lion’s share of the budget. Currently, the library spends between £300,000-£350,000 on ebooks and between £400,000-£500,000 on print books. It would be very easy to envisage a time when the split is 50:50 and at some point in the next 5yrs, for e-book spend to exceed print.

PDA profiling and expenditure models: it is important to invest the time to profile your PDA offering and manage the risk. Develop systems to ensure that the money allocated does not go all in one go. Profile the content to ensure that as far as possible, the publishers and subjects are aligned to your subject interests.

If you are concerned about the speed or ease with which ebooks are purchased – which will impact on how long your funding lasts -talk to the vendor. There ought to be flexibility to adjust the trigger point for purchases to match your institutional need.

Be prepared to experiment with PDA, ideally with some ring-fenced project funds, preferably for a full academic year. The knowledge gained from this experience will make it much easier to incorporate a PDA strand in the general bookfund.