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Faculty Support: Departmental Statistics 2020-21


Database Circulation

While Cost-Per-Circulation is a useful statistic for measuring the value of a database, there are many exceptions.

  • Many databases are free and have no cost per circulation. 
  • Some databases are provided by PASCAL as part of our annual fees. While we do breakdown costs and assign them to each title, they are non-cancelable.
  • Some databases are so inexpensive – less than $500 - that canceling them would not provide any meaningful amount of money to spend on other databases. The average database now costs between $3,000 and $5,000. Many cost more than $10,000.
  • Some databases are purchased as part of a package, and while individual titles may not carry their weight, other titles in the package more than offset the cost. It is not possible to cancel individual titles when they are part of a package. It’s all or nothing.
  • Some databases contain no full text. They are “indices” which point you to content located in other databases. Examples include the MLA bibliography and PsycInfo. Moreover, most databases are only partially full text and contain many citations. Because our databases are “smart”, finding a citation in one database will send you to the full text in another database - if and when it is available. Bottom line - the cost per circulation of indices is the absolute cost of the database, because they provide no full text circulation. They do connect you to large numbers of articles in other database and are very useful for upper level research where borrowing materials from other libraries is common practice.

Departmental Circulation by LC Number - 2020-21

Periodical Circulation

This report shows in house circulation of the library's print titles. Circulation is gathered by placing tally cards behind each title on display and asking users record a tally mark with each use. While this is an imperfect method that undercounts actual use, it does reveal trends in use up or down over time.

This report also tracks circulation for a small number of digital titles that we subscribe to because they do not exist within our 200+ databases or they provide incomplete coverage. In some cases online periodicals come with a one, two, or even five year moratorium. The subscription closes the gap.

The rule for dropping an individual print or digital periodical is less than 5 circulation per year for three years. 

Over the last three years, less than a dozen titles passed the criteria for retention, and even then we are averaging just over 100 circulations per year in print, vs.100,000 via our databases.

FYI - 99% of periodical circulation occurs within our databases, not thorough individual subscriptions.