An interview with Dr. Birgid Schlindwein

Dr. Birgid Schlindwein  is the information specialist and director of the Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan Library  at the Technical University Munich (The TUM).  Here she talks to Malik Idrees about some of the most pressing issues facing  the libraries today. She shares her views with us in a private capacity. This interview was conducted in September 2012.

1. What methods are generally used in German libraries to assess the usage of journals?

As we (at the TUM) have an e-only policy for journals we use the statistics function of the publishers to measure access. The most common tool is COUNTER. For print only journals there is virtually no reliable method to measure usage.

2. How do you see the impact of e-books and e-journals on the library collections and licensing policies?

For journals we have the e-only policy. If we have a printed version it's because the package (print + e) is cheaper than e-only. For books the e-version is often a supplement especially for text books.

3. What is the role of user feedback and usage statistics from the publishers in your collection development procedures?

We have a project "user driven acquisition". A publisher offers access to all its  e- books for TUM members. We have the data of all these books in our catalogue. As soon a book is accessed more than a specific times, the book has to be bought. For renewal of e-journal holdings (or non-renewal) we use price per access.

4. Could you please highlight the ways to promote usage of journals and periodicals in university libraries in Germany.

For e-journals the Electronic Journal Library EZB is THE access portal. The EZB shows holdings of the library and provides access to the licensed journals.

 5. With increasing budget constraints, librarians consider it very  important to make the right decisions about subscriptions to serials. What  are the priorities you consider while evaluating products of a publisher?

The first priority is the demand of the scientists within the possibilities of the budget. The second priority is the number of scientists interested in the scope of the journal.

6. Providing research information according to Innovations and diversity in research interests in academia and industry is the challenge facing libraries and publishers alike. How do you think libraries and publishers work together to meet this challenge?

Frankly, some publishers are only interested in profits. Open access requirements of funding organizations and repositories of institutions will overcome this problem.

7. What major issues are affecting libraries while trying to find new business models and new ways of developing e-resource collections?

Different models offered by publishers complicate our administration. For e-books it is important that acquisition of a single title is possible. Many publishers only offer topical -based packages.

8. What do you see as the key issues regarding the free online trials of journals offered by publishers?

1. quality of journals
2. usability of website (like accessibility of issues, archive; searching; formats
3. bibliographic data and abstract of articles freely available

9. What criteria or policies does your library have nowadays for acquiring a new journal ?

1. Request by the faculty
2. Budget available (mostly requires cancelling of another journal)
3. e-version available
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