The Transition from Print to Electronic Journals: A Study of College and University Libraries in Indiana

Jo McClamroch

Abstract


Objectives – This study examines what factors are considered by college and university libraries in Indiana when making the decision to cancel subscriptions to print journals when an electronic equivalent is available. The study also looks at who the primary decision makers are in this regard. Libraries at public and private institutions of varying sizes were included in the study.

Methods – An online survey was sent to seventy-three libraries in the consortium, Academic Libraries of Indiana. Structured interviews with administrators at nine libraries were also conducted.

Results – Academic libraries in Indiana use subscription cost, redundancy of formats, student preference, budget reductions and usage as the primary factors in canceling print journal subscriptions in favor of their electronic counterparts. There is also a preference for the electronic format for new subscriptions even when a print version is also available.

Conclusions – The study indicates that subscription cost is the most important consideration in the journal cancelation process with other factors also having an effect on the preference of libraries for electronic versions of journals. The study also shows that libraries at public and private colleges and universities are at different stages of moving away from print to an online-only journal format. At the same time, there is consensus that a small collection of print titles will still be needed. The primary decision-makers are librarians, faculty, and library administrators.

Keywords


e-journals; print cancellations; decision-making

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