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COR discusses library budget

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 15 - December 12, 1996

(Article prepared from meeting minutes.)

The Commission on Research discussed the library budget at the November 13 meeting.

Mark Smith said Bonham Richardson had written him and said comments made at the last COR meeting were in line with what he was thinking about maintaining access to materials, rather than having actual copies. Tamara Kennelly of the library also wrote and was more concerned about maintaining the budget and encouraged a more forceful response from the commission, Smith said.

He said Len Peters said at a pre-COR meeting that external factors affect the budget, especially the cost of serials.

Joe Schetz said the commission should make a statement that the library is a high priority. He said the library is very important to the research mission of the university.

Anne McNabb said the commission needs to be careful of the type of message we send. She said we need to be more informed before making any type of statement.

Schetz said he believes it is obvious that the library is not very high on the priority list of allocations of money. The budget is not being increased.

Smith mentioned Virginia Tech's library is slipping in ranking. The library's' personnel salaries are low.

McNabb said the university is slipping across the board, not just the library. She said the library may be in the same situation with regard to budget as other areas; hopefully, the library is not being unfairly prioritized when it comes to funding.

Smith asked if there are alternatives that may not cost as much. He said information access may be the pivotal issue. He offered to get more information on the budgeting of the library.

McNabb suggested that perhaps Provost Peggy Meszaros could address the commission on this topic.

Smith said he would find out more and draft a position letter for the commission's review at the next meeting. He said he plans to have an action item on the agenda concerning this issue for the first January meeting.

In other business, John Eaton said, "The library, Computing Center, and Research and Graduate Studies (particularly Len Peters) have been very supportive of the electronic-dissertation-thesis project." He noted a list of sponsors and their roles in the project.

Eaton said N.C. State has a pilot project and will probably be submitting electronic theses/dissertations this spring. He said the purpose of the project is to use computer-based technology to improve both the content and availability of theses/dissertations. "We want students to be more creative in their scholarship; we want to give them access to some of the tools that are out there (multimedia tools, ability to produce color graphics in their documents, ability to put video and audio in their documents); knowledge to be more widely available; and we want students to become electronic publishers."

He said the benefits are elimination of the hard copy, which will save students money without a significant increase of effort; saved shelf space in the library; and less-expensive access to theses/dissertations.

To date, more than 60 proposals have been submitted electronically. Electronic theses and dissertations will be required after January 1.

Schetz and Smith mentioned the potential problem of plagiarism. Eaton said he did not think it would be a major problem, but he was not prepared to say it would not happen. He said there would be a workshop in January to train the students. He listed the procedure the students will follow in submitting their theses/dissertations. Eaton asked the membership to inform members of the campus community.