ACADEMIC SENATE: SAN DIEGO DIVISION
October 24, 2000

 

ANNUAL REPORT
LIBRARY COMMITTEE
1998-99

The committee addressed a number of issues this year, as discussed below.

UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN SEARCH

The Library Committee was represented in the search process at several levels: Interim Librarian Phyllis Mirsky met with the various candidates; the Library Committee chair, along with the Deans, met with all of the candidates; Professor John West (Chair of the 1999-00 Library Committee) attended search committee meetings, including candidate reviews; Professor Andrew Wright met as a member of the Friends of the Library Board; and Lynda Claassen served as the Librarians' Association representative on the search committee.

[Follow-up: In the fall of 1999, UCSD welcomed Brian E. C. Schottlaender (formerly Associate University Librarian for Collections and Technical Services at UCLA) as University Librarian.]

REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY

At the end of the 1996-97 academic year, Interim Senior VCAA Richard Attiyeh appointed a broadly-based Task Force on Instructional Technology, and requested the group's recommendations by the end of 1997-98. Proposals and perspectives were sought that would guide the various vice chancellors in developing an organizational structure by which to make rational plans and decisions over the years ahead in the rapidly evolving area of instructional technology.

The Library Committee noted that the Library has been intricately involved in instructional technology activities on campus, by virtue of the fact that it's used for information resources in instruction; it also works with faculty developing courses and lectures, and helps them identify electronic resources. Some concern was expressed with regard to the advisability of having the new Librarian be responsible for Infrastructure/ Instructional Computing, or to be responsible for just the Library. It was felt that the next Librarian should at least be intellectually aware of technology and how it's used in modern libraries, and that the opportunity for a role as Vice Chancellor for Information Technology might make the position more attractive.

The Library Committee recommended that if an Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Information Technology is created, and is not the head of the Library, then the head of the Library should report directly to the Senior VCAA rather than to the VCAIT.

With respect to implications for instruction, it was the opinion of the Library Committee that teaching should be evaluated on its effectiveness, not on use of technology.

We urged the use of campus-wide priorities and goals as guidelines for how to divide up the resources.

We noted that while the report specified that every faculty member should have full access to the Internet and to instructional technology, a great deal of indirect cost recovery comes from the professional research staff, who are not faculty members, yet no corresponding initiative was proposed for them.

REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON LIBRARY COLLECTIONS

While the report recommended an increase in the role of the Library Committee in overseeing the health of the Library, the committee felt that the fact that there were no provisions or recommendations beyond three years was not a satisfactory solution to the collection's problem. The Library Committee wishes to play a more active role, and has addressed several major related areas of concern. The Library has the use of temporary funds from the Office of the President for about three years only. We need to address the increasing shift in venues of scholarly communication and the exponential growth of costs that have necessitated the Library's canceling subscriptions to many journals. Perhaps, as a result, major changes in deciding on merits and promotions should be investigated.

As a result of extended discussions, the following formal recommendations by the committee were made:

#1: Inclusion of Senate Library Committee in the Review Process for New Departments

The Library Committee should be included in the review procedure for new departments and programs, including graduate degree programs, for the purpose of evaluation of the impact of the proposed program on the Library. It was our intention that the Senate Library Committee be formally included in the process, as is the Senate Committee on Planning and Budget currently, so that any proposed program would necessarily have to be evaluated by the Senate Library Committee before being approved. The purpose of this proposal was to provide a review procedure -- 'with teeth' -- of the proposers' assessment of the Library needs of the program. Currently, the Librarian must make his case with the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and there is no mechanism for faculty input to register dissent to the proposed assessment of impact. While P&B could, in principle, take this up, that is only one of many concerns that that committee has to consider, and the Library is not represented on that committee. This procedure has been adopted at UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside (and possibly other UC campuses as well), and it has resulted in a much closer scrutiny of the effects of proposed new programs.

This proposal met with resistance at both the Academic Senate and Vice Chancellorial levels.

The Senate Committee on Planning and Budget, while sensitive to the issues involved, was concerned about placing an additional layer onto the review process, and felt more comfortable should Library Committee review occur simultaneously with other committees' reviews. One member suggested an alternate approach: including a member of the Library Committee as an ex officio member on P&B for those occasions when Library resources are involved.

Neither the Senior VCAA nor other Senate committees to which our idea was referred viewed it so kindly. It is not clear it was understood that we were asking not for any sort of veto over a program, or to assess a program's appropriateness, but rather merely to serve as a body to determine whether the assessment of the Library's needs for a program were accurately reflected in the program proposal. The Library Committee is felt to be uniquely suited to this role, as it has both the University Librarian and a representative of the library staff as permanent members.

We hope that a future Library Committee can breathe new life into this idea.

#2: Institution of Regular External Reviews of the Library

Regular external reviews of the Library should be instituted. Other campuses (e.g., UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara) have found that these are a positive experience for the campus and the Library alike. It gives the Library a chance to explain its needs and problems to an impartial external committee whose recommendation is likely to carry more weight than that of a campus committee. At the same time, of course, it provides a mechanism for addressing any problems there may be with the Library.

While our proposal has been met with favorably, it seemed clear that nothing could be done until our new Librarian is in place with whom there can be consultation.

RUNAWAY JOURNAL COSTS AND SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING

In response to increasing costs for scientific journals, scholars and librarians have begun to suggest ways to transform the current state of scientific publication. Though it has become clear that libraries will soon be in a state of crisis, it's no longer just a library problem. Ideas were sought regarding what the faculty can do to put pressure on commercial journals. The fear exists that commercial publishers may move to control electronic publishing. In this regard, the Library Committee had an opportunity to meet with Richard Lucier, Executive Director of Systemwide Planning for Libraries and Scholarly Information and University Librarian for the California Digital Library.

His view is that the timing of electronic publishing playing a significant role in the academic review process will depend on the discipline and what scholars are willing to accept. His approach, rather than superimposing some kind of system on all faculty, would be to give faculty members an opportunity to modify their approaches and see what is acceptable to them for promotional reviews. The Library Committee strongly supported that approach.

The Library Committee discussed finding a commonly acceptable wording for a proposal for limiting the number of publications considered in a given academic review, and to encourage faculty to choose a method of publication that would deal with the problem of excessive cost of publications. However, it was ultimately decided this was not the most productive approach. Relative levels of productivity are already considered in academic reviews. In the end, reviewers don't simply don't count publications, but rather depend on their own assessments and those contained in outside letters. Although there was interest in such an approach on the part of some members, no agreement could be reached within the Library Committee on a concrete proposal.

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE UNIVERSITY-WIDE TASK FORCE ON COPYRIGHT

UC Electronic Journal

The Library Committee was informed by the Division Chair that talks have been initiated regarding the establishment of an electronic journal, and that the Division was asked whether the Library Committee would be interested in spearheading a campus response. After discussion, it was decided that for the time being the Library Committee would maintain an active interest in this issue but not become involved in spearheading it.

The committee responded enthusiastically to the information that UC Librarian Gerald Lowell was working with UCLA on a pilot program to identify faculty who are editors of journals or are on journal boards to see if collectively they can be avenues of approach. If successful, the practice could be replicated on the other campuses.

LAUC PROPOSAL FOR EXPANDING THE LIBRARIAN SERIES SALARY SCALES

The Library Committee strongly supported the joint proposal by LAUC (Librarians Association of the University of California) and the University Librarians to expand the salary scales for the Librarian series. The Library Committee sees this action as critical to the future welfare of the UCSD and other UC libraries. We therefore urged in formal communications to the Chair of the Representative Assembly and the Senior VCAA to view this proposal favorably and to convey this message to the Chancellor and to the Office of the President.

It is impossible to have a great university without a great library. It also is impossible to have a great library without great librarians. This is particularly true at a campus like UCSD, which has risen to great heights in only a few years, and so has a library that is relatively small in terms of collections, and so depends critically on its librarians to provide the access to needed materials that make our greatness possible. This excellence is threatened, however, by the erosion of compensation for the individuals who run our Library.

The compromise proposal arrived at by LAUC and the University Librarians was to add Steps VI and VII to the Librarian rank, in parallel with the proposal to add Step IX to the Professorial rank. It would also move the step of indefinite service to Step V and the "distinguished" designation to Step VI. Presently, Step IV is the indefinite-service step, and Step V is reserved for "distinguished" librarians and is the highest level to which librarians can aspire. The result was that 127 of the 473 (27%) appointees in the Librarian series are concentrated at Step IV with little likelihood of advancement for the rest of their careers at UC. This in turn has resulted in low morale and significant turnover among talented, mid-career librarians.

There is anecdotal evidence that UC is losing talented librarians to California State University libraries that offer higher salaries than UC offers. Even more seriously, and of direct concern to UCSD, is the fact that when the Library recruits for additional positions, candidates frequently turn down the offer, or do not even apply, because of the perceived gap between available salaries and the cost of living in San Diego.

All professional employees deserve incentives to excel in their careers. Presently, financial incentives are lacking for a large proportion of our librarians. We hoped that the appropriate authorities both at UCSD and System-wide would support the joint LAUC-University Librarians proposal. The welfare and excellence of our libraries are at stake.

[Follow-Up: The 1999-00 Library Committee has been informed that while there was general support for the proposal, the Academic Council felt it could not in good conscience approve it because LAUC had not provided a detailed explanation or analysis of their proposal. Several concerns were raised about the predicted financial impact of revising the salary scales. In addition, there was an inquiry regarding where UC librarians' salaries stood in comparison to those of other research university librarians with similar responsibilities. A full proposal, complete with a proper justification and analysis of costs, has been promised.]

JOINT MEETING WITH THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMPUTING

The Library Committee met jointly with the Committee on Computing (at its request) to discuss the intersection of computing issues and Library issues, and to help facilitate an ongoing relationship between the two committees. The meeting was felt to be useful and successful, and it was recommended that we have at least one such joint meeting a year.

Respectfully submitted,

Joanna M. McKittrick
John A. Orcutt
John B. West
Andrew Wright
Phyllis Mirsky, ex officio
Lynda Claassen (LAUC Representative)
Nathan Baker (Graduate Student Representative)
Irene Chen (Undergraduate Student Representative)
Donald F. Tuzin, Vice Chair
John C. Wheeler, Chair