The Library's Acquisition / Information Access budget has traditionally been allocated and used for the purchase of information resources (books, serials, media) or for access to existing information resources (electronic bibliographic and/or full-text online databases, etc.).
The Information Resources Council has been asked to consider funding projects to create information resources.
A number of questions arise-
"Are there any constraints, either in our own policies, guidelines, etc. or those of the University or the Board of Regents against using Information Access funds for such a purpose?"
"What would customer reaction be?"
"How would decisions be made regarding which projects to fund?"
"What team(s) would make the funding request? How does this fit into the Library's organizational structure?"
"Should a certain amount / percentage of the information access budget be set aside at the beginning of the year for such projects?"
"Should funding for electronic resources creation be limited to a certain percentage of the Information Access Budget?"
"If funding is approved for than one year, where should the on-going cost come from?"
IRC supports the needs of the Library's internal and external customers by providing leadership, vision, and strategic direction for information resources development, creation, management, and preservation.IRC is charged to accomplish this purpose through, among other things, theallocation and management of the Information Access Budget. The final allocation of the Information Access Budget is done by IRC based upon guidelines agreed upon with Library Cabinet.
The Information Access Budget Guidelines (online at http://www.library.arizona.edu/library/teams/irdp/budalloc.html [Document did not exist at time of archive, 08-09-2006.]) establishes the principles, policies and assumptions that underlie the allocation and management of the Information Access Budget and of information resource development and preservation in general. The guidelines serve to ensure effective allocation and management of the budget to achieve the goals of the Library and the University.
Nothing in the current Guidelines document (revised May 1999) specifically mentions information resource creation one way or the other. It is stated, however, that the Information Access Budget is used to purchase "all forms of bibliographic records (BNA records, cataloging from OCLC, etc.), access to remote databases, locally loaded databases, and other means of access to information that is needed by our customers." This last phrase could be interpreted in a broad manner to allow for funding of information resources creation.
In addition, the use of the words "development" and "creation" in the statement of purpose and charge for IRC, indicates that the Library will be involved in information resource creation and that the Council (IRC) has a responsibility to facilitate those activities.
The question has been raised as to whether or not there are any legal restrictions or constraints imposed by the Legislature, Board of Regents, or University of Arizona that would preclude use of the information access budget for information creation projects.
The Arizona Revised Statutes defer authority for expenditures on behalf of the University of Arizona to the Arizona Board of Regents. The Board of Regents then defers authority for expenditures to the Procurement Authority at the University of Arizona.
The U of A Financial Services Office controls library acquisition expenditures at the local level. (See http://w3.arizona.edu/~fso/deptman/5/502exp.html [Document did not exist at time of archive, 08-09-2006])
The Financial Services Office has established the following expenditure object codes for "Library and Museum Acquisitions":
Library Acquisitions - Periodicals (7820): Expenditures for magazines, newspapers, journals or other similar periodicals purchased by the University Library System.
Library Acquisitions - Other (7830): Expenditures for University Library System acquisitions other than those specifically described above, such as films, video tapes and audio tapes.
Art Objects & Displays (7840): Expenditures for materials
and labor used in building displays for University museum and library artifacts,
and for the
acquisition of such artifacts. This code is line item budgeted and does not participate in an ABR pool.
(The IRC FAST consultant has informed us that food and travel are not
allowable expenditures for information access funds, but that is the only
restriction we are aware of. Although it appears it may be allowable, IRC
members still have concerns regarding funding staff / student positions.)
There is some concern that campus faculty, staff and students might object to the Library "taking money away" from the purchase of books and journals and directing it instead towards projects. The Library has conducted no assessment of customer opinion on this issue so the concerns are, at this point, speculative. Nevertheless, appropriate customer education should be planned for.
The question of criteria for deciding what projects would receive funding is an important one. To a large extent, the same guidelines that are applied for selecting existing information resources could apply. For example:
The impetus for developing an information resource creation project should come from identified customer need. There should most likely be a partner / collaborator such as a faculty member or a campus department or unit and/or maybe even an off-campus entity. Outside funding should be pursued.
What Library teams / units should be involved in the proposal and decision-making process for information resources creation projects?
The logical players, in addition to IRC, would include the Integrative Services Team(s) where the customer need has been identified, as well as the Digital Library Initiatives Group (DLIG).
DLIG is a project team. Project team funding comes from BAG. Will DLIG become a permanent functional team with fund lines?
The initial proposal for the project would most likely come from / through an Integrative Services Team(s) and should be directed to the Digital Library Initiatives Group. Subsequently (or concurrently?) the request for project funding could come from the Integrative Service team to IRC. This would fit in with the existing Information Access Budget allocation structure. If approved, the funds could then possibly go into the team's "Special Purchases" line (for example, SST6 or SET6…).
Another option is to allocate to each IS team a specific fund line for information resources creation projects, and funding in these lines could only be used for this purpose. If the funds are not used, lines will be swept by IRC by a certain date. IS teams would determine customer needs and develop an MCA by a certain date. Additional funding could be requested, if needed, through IRC one-time requests.
Although IRC has some concerns, as identified above, we believe that it is feasible to fund information resources creation projects from the Information Access Budget. It will require careful planning and monitoring. We look forward to further dialogue on this with Cabinet, DLIG and the Library as a whole.