~ 1. December 2008 ~
Interesting article in the new College & Research Libraries (Nov. 2008) argues that focusing an undergraduate collection on books rather than serials makes educational and economic sense, given the nature of undergraduate research, the rate of inflation in the serials world and relative stability of book prices. Ongoing commitments to serials take a huge bite out of the book budget, when there’s little evidence that undergraduates need them more than books, which are often valued by undergraduates for “their authoritativeness and comprehensiveness, their readability, their emphasis on fundamental facts and theories, and their inclusion of contextual information that may not be readily available in articles.” This has rung true for me several times when students have come asking for scholarly articles but totally unprepared for the level of specialized research that they contain.
Seems to be an open-access preprint available: Walter, William H. Journal Prices, Book Acquisitions, and Sustainable College Library Collections.