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The SFX Advanced Collection Tool: Supporting Cost-effective Collection Management

The Advanced Collection Tool, now available to all SFX® customers as part of the sfxadmin Web-based administration tool, is a new feature that many SFX customers have been looking forward to. Drawing from information in the SFX KnowledgeBase, the tool helps libraries to analyze their electronic holdings and manage their resources more cost effectively.

When purchasing electronic subscriptions, libraries today can choose from a large number of vendors and packages. Many titles are available from different vendors and in different package offerings. Furthermore, many packages are purchased as a whole without the library being able to pick and choose the titles that it wants; rather, it has to subscribe to an entire package, making duplicates inevitable.

By identifying overlaps in title and date coverage of packages or sets of packages, the Collection Tool helps libraries manage their collections by determining, for example, how many unique titles a package contains compared to other packages or to the library’s entire holdings; how much overlap there is between packages; and how many duplicates are in each package. Comparisons can be made at the title level only or can include date coverage as well. Packages with extensive overlaps can be identified, and the subscription budget managed more cost effectively.

The tool can generate many kinds of output reports, at various levels of detail. Downloaded reports can be imported in to a Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet for easy sorting and analysis.

The SFX Advanced Collection Tool has been Beta tested and reviewed by a number of existing customers and feedback has been very enthusiastic. Customers like the ease of use, the comprehensive reports, and in particular, the support for a range of scenarios that arise in a librarians’ everyday work, such as analyzing the current collection and checking the added value of potential purchases.

Andrew Brown, from Swansea University, commented, “The Advanced Collection Tool provides us with a simple, intuitive interface which can be accessed by all staff members, not just SFX experts. We’re using it to discover links activated with identical coverage, and it will be useful in identifying significant overlap between packages that we subscribe to. The Advanced Collection Tool is a good example of Ex Libris collaborating with its customers and providing a tool that does exactly what’s needed.”

Along with the SFX Statistics module, which shows the usage of individual journals, packages, and platforms, this powerful tool will make collection management more efficient and cost effective.

by Christine Stohn, SFX product manager