MONOGRAPH ACQUISTIONS ANNUAL REPORT 2003-2004
Monograph Acquisitions processed 24,013 firm orders, 15,599 approval orders and received 35,714 items this year. This in itself is quite significant, since the staff complement has been reduced again this year by one retirement, and two staff members left for other departments. We have been able to maintain a reasonable level of productivity due to the dedication and cooperation of staff members as well as efforts to streamline and improve processes.
During the year Monograph Acquisitions staff catalogued a total of 25,766 items. The backlog of cataloguing in Bibliographic Services continues to be a priority. For cataloguing statistics see the Bibliographic Services Annual Report.
Open Order Report
An open order report was generated at the end of the fiscal to clean up any orders outstanding for more than three months. This resulted in a list of approximately 1200 items. This is a very labor-intensive job. It includes tracking down vendors, checking availability, reordering some items while canceling others. However, the effort is worthwhile to obtain materials for the library and to free up monies for other purchases. Our goal is to further reduce this number to less than 500. Because of staff time restrictions, claiming has virtually ceased. The open order report accomplishes this. Specific items are handled on an individual basis if an item is requested.
Routine vendor visits were dominated by discussions about services, discounts and their new and improved web sites, some offering web-based book purchasing similar to amazon.com and chapters.com.
YBP continues to provide excellent service and is constantly upgrading and enhancing their system and services. We continue to find the range of management reports offered by GOBI on-line to be extremely useful and easy to generate on demand. In the spring some new features such as Peer reports were added to Gobi. We hope to investigate pricing and suitability for this and other such products in the coming year. We switched our paper slip service to on-line slip selection this year. After several training sessions for staff and subject specialists, we have been up and running for most of the year. The on-line selection streamlines the entire process of on-line ordering from an Acquisitions perspective and feedback from subject specialists has been favorable. In August we began to receive our shelf ready stream of approval titles for the Bronfman Library and in January expanded our shelf ready yet again to include titles for the Leslie Frost Library. There was an initial period of refining specifications until things were as we intended. Over the year we received 21,726 approval titles. Between 20%-35% of titles have no catalogue copy (varies greatly with subject areas) and proceed through the regular cataloguing stream in-house. However, 14,912 titles arrived here ready for the shelf and were available to patrons within one week. One area that remains problematic is the selection of an item for Special Collections, although procedures have been modified this year by setting up a separate account with YBP. Some items have arrived ready for shelving with barcodes and property stamps not normally used in Special Collections. This needs to be kept to a minimum and items identified at time of order as much as possible. YBP now has a representative based in Canada, Pam Jacobs formerly from Guelph.
At the ALA/CLA Conference in June, I was able to meet with representatives from Aux Amateurs du Livres in Paris and from Casalini in Italy. Meetings were productive and we were able to iron out some issues.
After a period of frustration with the new French Canadian and Canadian literature approval plan with Coutts, we have finally seen a vast improvement is service and supply. There have been changes at Coutts in staffing and upgrades to their systems. Our new representative is Clare Appavoo. We met several times with Coutts staff to discuss improvements and their on-line slip service. Subject specialists worked with us to upgrade/create profiles and after some training, with more to come, the on-line slip service has begun. The jury is still out on Coutts'ability to perform as stated.
Weeding, Gift Processing and Bibliographic Maintenance
Bibliographic maintenance, weeding and transfers have been extensive this year and will continue to be so well into next year due to all the changes and moves in the library system. We have been fortunate to have the assistance of two students during the summer and one throughout the school year, with a second added in January. Extensive weeding was carried out in Frost, Steacie, Business and Government Documents and Scott. 18,037 items were transferred and 11,771 items were weeded. Updating Yorkline records for lost/missing items reported by Circulation continues, as does the processing of incoming gifts and items from the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. Records were loaded and /or deleted from A-G Canada and OCLC for these items, a time consuming but necessary process.
For a detailed breakdown, see the statistics in the Bibliographic Services Annual Report.
Out of Print Books
Periodically our out of print "wants" list is checked against several sources on the Internet. We do have a fair success rate and enjoy the ability to comparative shop for the best price. However, due to lack of staff time, we have not been able to pursue this to the degree we would like and we currently only investigate items that are specifically requested.
We had a successful financial year, managing to expend our budget in a timely fashion. Due to the foresight and acumen of Bruce Dugelby in the Treasury Department, we fared well with foreign currency as this year saw the Canadian dollar at all time recent highs. This put extra strain on Monograph Acquisitions staff as we struggled to expend the extra funds thus available.
With a new release of the Peoplesoft system in Finance, the impetus is there to get the FHRS interface up and running. This is excellent news from our perspective as duplicate entry of invoice will be unnecessary, thus freeing up additional staff time for other pursuits. To this end, Bob Thompson and I met with Finance to begin work on the update of our records to make this happen. Linda Gamble, Sandra Smith and I attended training sessions for the new release of their software to go live in the new fiscal. Finance also introduced a new version of the P-card system campus-wide. They changed banks, issued new cards and procedures with statements and reconciliation available on-line. Along with the new release of Peoplesoft, a new release of E-reports was launched with improvements to that system as well.
As processes and changes move along, the flow of work demands more and more interdependence and cooperation with other areas. We work in close alliance with Bibliographic Services and have experienced a strong sense of cooperation towards a common goal. We are learning much from them and they understand more of our processes as well. We also have experienced a prospering relationship and spirit of cooperation with LCS as we work more closely with them Year after year, we continue to enjoy the support and cooperation of Scott Facilities in our daily operations. Co-operation is extremely important and will be even more of a challenge in the coming year as we move collections hither and yon.
STAFF AND TRAINING
Staffing has been a major concern this year. Amy Chan retired from Monograph Acquisitions after many years of service to the Libraries. Susan Stent and John Fileccia transferred to positions within the Libraries this year as well. Susan Stent's vacancy was filled in November and John Fileccia's was filled on a contract basis for a year. Amy Chan's position was not filled. With vacancies of one sort or another for most of the year, the department worked diligently to cope and maintain the status quo. Human Resources continues to request Michele Francis' secondment to carry out job rating.
Training was ongoing this year as we continue to upgrade skills as new databases become available. Donna Munshaw-Sepper and Michele Francis attended a two-day session "Living Well Amidst the Chaos". Linda Gamble attended a workshop on streetproofing for women as well as Peoplesoft training. Nancy Hall attended training on the new P-card system, E-reports, and Peoplesoft . She also attended ALA/CLA Annual Conference in Toronto in June and took part in a pilot workshop sponsored by the Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Wellness Centre at York called "Mental Health in the Workplace". All staff was trained in the Cataloguer's Desktop, a web version of many cataloguing tools as well as GOBI2 on-line ordering from YBP.
This year a unique training opportunity presented itself and several staff members from Monograph Acquisitions and Bibliographic Services availed themselves of it. An on-line course in the use and application of LC Classification offered through Mohawk College was taken by the staff. Time during the course of the workday was made available to pursue this endeavour. Feedback was positive and most felt information learned was invaluable in the performance of their duties.
CHALLENGES AND PLANS
I would like to see a web presence for subject specialists with links to useful vendor sites, helpful tips for Acquisitions information and any other tools that might be useful. I also hope to be able to improve the Technical Services web page to include more Acquisitions procedures information in the coming year. With improved reports available from a variety of sources, more vendor performance evaluation will be possible as well. We will continue to work with our major vendors on streamlining processes and better discounts. Perhaps in the near future with a new release of SIRSI, capability to do on-line ordering will become a reality. Increasingly technology allows us to better serve the students with improved accessibility and timely provision of the materials need for their research.