Related product Collections Management

Frequently Asked Questions about the Number of Copies in I-Share Recommendation

What is the recommendation?

The CARLI Board of Directors recommends that five (5) circulating copies of any edition of a UB-eligible monographic title are adequate to meet the routine resource sharing needs of the students, faculty and staff of all I-Share participating libraries. Selectors should consider this consortial, monographic duplication target in collection development planning and acquisitions decision-making.

The Board is providing this recommendation as guidance to member libraries; it is not a comprehensive and enforceable policy of CARLI.

Read the full text of the recommendation.

Why are you making this recommendation?

At the request of the CARLI Board of Directors, the CARLI Collections Working Group examined library collections expenditures, the cost and number of new titles published, and the circulation of titles in the I-Share collection.  As noted in their report, libraries are allocating less of their collections budgets for book purchases, book prices are rising, and the number of titles available for purchase is continuing to increase. These factors, taken in combination with the level of usage among titles in the I-Share collection underscore the need to reduce unnecessary duplication within the shared statewide academic collection in order to broaden and diversify the I-Share collection.

How was the target number of copies determined?

The CARLI Board reviewed the circulation analysis of the I-Share collection that was completed by the CARLI Collections Working Group. Based on the report from the CWGs, the Board established the recommendation regarding the number of copies that would adequately meet the routine resource sharing needs within the I-Share community.

Does this recommendation conflict with the I-Share Agreement regarding responsibility for building your own collection?

The recommendation is not meant to negate the responsibility outlined in the I-Share Agreement of each I-Share library "to develop its collection to provide primary support for its mission/curriculum. I-Share resource sharing is intended to supplement, not replace, the institution’s own collection and its ongoing development."  The CARLI Board recognizes that for some titles, especially where the content is of special local interest and/or where local usage is anticipated to be high due to explicit curricular needs or research interests, an institution may decide to make purchases above the five-copy limit. We believe these decisions should be exceptions and made on a title-by-title basis.

Is this a recommendation for all CARLI libraries, or just I-Share libraries?

This is a recommendation for I-Share libraries. However, as all materials purchased within the state support the statewide collection, other libraries may want to consider this recommendation as they select items for their local collections.

Why is this presented as a recommendation, rather than a guideline or best practice?

This recommendation is intended to provide guidance to I-Share libraries based on the Collections Working Group's analysis of the usage of duplicate items in the shared collection. It is intended to foster conversation and consideration of the shared collection, and is not a comprehensive and enforceable policy. Since the recommendation has not yet been implemented at I-Share libraries, we are unable to determine whether this will become a best practice.

What happens if our library decides not to follow the recommendation? Are there penalties for not adhering to the recommendation? Will we be kicked out of CARLI or I-Share?

The CARLI Board encourages all I-Share participating libraries to adopt the recommendation, however there are no consequences beyond the missed opportunity to expand the breadth of the I-Share collection.

Does any other consortium make this recommendation to their membership? Is this approach to collective collection building being successfully employed elsewhere?

Yes. In 2005, an OhioLINK task force recommended a range of 3-8 circulating copies per title in their consortium, based upon subject of the material. The Orbis Cascade Alliance is currently piloting the voluntary Unnecessary Duplication Threshold Project asking that their libraries purchase only 3 copies of any given title.

What is the advantage to our students and faculty if we choose to follow the recommendation?

By choosing to purchase unique or infrequently held titles for the collection instead of additional copies of a widely held title each participating institution will be helping to broaden the collection available to their own patrons and to all patrons at Illinois academic institutions.

Why does the recommendation apply only to print copies of books and not to e-books?

The recommendation is limited to print resources that can be shared easily among I-Share libraries. E-books are typically governed by licensing agreements or terms of use that limit resource sharing.

What if we need “x” number of copies for a class? What if we need a book for accreditation purposes and the limit within the state has already been reached?

The Board recognizes that for some titles, especially where the content is of special local interest and/or where local usage is anticipated to be high due to explicit curricular needs or research interests, an institution may decide to make purchases above the five-copy limit. We believe these decisions should be exceptions and made on a title-by-title basis.

What if our copies are on reserve or don’t circulate?  Do they count?

This recommendation is for monographic titles that are eligible for borrowing by other I-Share library patrons. Items that do not circulate to other I-Share libraries’ patrons should not be counted as a circulating copy for the purposes of this recommendation.

If I purchase electronic copies of titles that only our students have access to, do these count?

No, only print copies that are eligible for borrowing by patrons at other I-Share libraries are covered by this recommendation.

If the recommended number of print copies has been reached, can we purchase electronic or paperback copies?

Choosing to add other formats of a title that is already available to users is a local decision, and should be based on the needs of your patrons.

What do we do about our approval plans? How do we coordinate these with other I-Share libraries?

Using either the vendor-provided software (if available) or checking the I-Share union catalog will allow an institution to confirm if five copies have been purchased by I-Share libraries. If five copies have been purchased, it is up to the individual libraries to determine whether additional copies are needed in order to meet their local curricular/research needs.

How will you monitor the impact of the policy on the depth and breadth of the shared collection over time?  At the end of each year, will CARLI be able to provide data showing the impact of these guidelines on the shared collection?

The CARLI staff will run analyses at least annually to determine whether the number of duplicate copies purchased is being reduced.

This recommendation will potentially increase the number of I-Share lending requests. Will the increase in the number of books shipped around the state result in an additional ILDS costs?

No, CARLI will not see any increase in ILDS costs through the term of our current contract with the delivery vendor.