Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA) shows great promise as a technique for controlling the front end of the print lifecycle. In an environmental context, PDA is the 'Reduce' in Reduce-Re-Use-Recycle.' In automotive terms, PDA can be seen as a front-end alignment, the process which assures that a car steers and handles properly. In concert with a program of active deselection, PDA can assure that a print collection strategy stays on course.
There are print PDA programs in place at some universities (Vermont, Cornell, UC-Riverside), and this may serve as a bridge strategy, especially since only 30% of newly-published books are available simultaneously in print and electronic form. (In an interesting development here, Cornell and Coutts have collaborated to enable automated query of Coutts inventory from the Library's Voyager system.) But the full potential for space savings and sustainable collection management clearly lies in patron-driven eBooks. Their immediate availability and new business models such as short-term loans make the digital version of PDA especially attractive.
The ALCTS Acquisitions Section Technology Committee explored PDA in detail at a day-long preconference last week in New Orleans. As moderator of the session, I enjoyed a ringside seat as the 64 attendees and 11 presenters described new approaches to aligning selection of materials with user demand -- a key element in achieving print collection sustainability.
In a show-of-hands survey, attendees predicted that 30%-50% (and in a couple of cases 70%) of their monographs budgets will be dedicated to PDA within the next five years. The early evidence suggests that this approach will serve users better, will slow the rate of growth of physical collections, and will ultimately reduce the need for deselection. In a particularly compelling example, Doug Way of Grand Valley State University highlighted the savings after one year of a PDA program with EBL:
- GVSU experienced 10,514 uses against the 50,000 PDA records loaded
- 5,251 of these uses were short-term loans. Only 343 were used enough to trigger purchase.
- Had all 10,514 been purchased, GVSU would have spent $550,464. Instead, the few purchases and many short-term loans cost just under $70,000. GVSU saved $481,625.
- Space-wise, the Library satisfied user demand while putting 10,000 fewer books on its shelves.
curating a discovery environment.' The many facets and many players involved in PDA are captured nicely in the presentations from this session, which will soon be available on ALA Connect.Have a look: there is a great deal of innovation and experience represented there.
Pictured below: Our Illustrious Panel of Supreme Magnitude, along with the Technology Committee members who organized this session. Thanks to everyone who contributed and attended for an excellent day.