journal - Is cost benefit analysis applicable to journal...

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Is cost benefit analysis applicable to journal use in special libraries? Is cost benefit analysis applicable to journal use in special libraries?* M S Sridhar Abstract: This paper describes the concept of cost-benefit analysis in libraries, citing early uses. The need for cost- benefit analysis in libraries is shown, as are difficulties in applying the technique in libraries. Although many cost minimising efforts have been made by libraries, “utility” measures were found to be intangible and inappropriate, and so a serious threat to the integrity of the cost-benefit analysis. A systematic random sample of journals subscribed by ISRO Satellite Centre Library was subjected to a simplified cost-benefit analysis. “Cost per use” of a journal appears to be useful ratio for assessing journals subscribed to by a library. The sample study of cost-benefit analysis of journals indicates that such a study does not answer all questions, but provides an additional dimension over and above what appears in a simple use study to an understanding of journal usage. The conclusion is drawn that many non-economic factors dominate the decision to subscribe to a journal. It is felt that a cost-benefit analysis can increase the awareness of librarians, administrators and others concerning costs and use patterns, but cannot be truly effective without the help of intuitive value judgment. Keywords: Journal subscription, cost benefit analysis, journal usage, special libraries, use studies, journals budget * * * M S Sridhar 1
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Is cost benefit analysis applicable to journal use in special libraries? Introduction The McGraw-Hill encyclopedia of professional management defines cost-benefit analysis (CBA) as determining ". .. the ratio of the benefits of a given project to its cost, taking into account the benefits and costs that cannot be directly measured in dollars" 1 (Bittel ed. 1978, p242) A closely related concept of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) ". .. is defined as a way of finding the least expensive means of reaching an objective or a way of obtaining the greatest possible value from a given expenditure" 2 (Bittel ed. 1978, p242). Either to arrive at a benefit to cost ratio of a single project or to assess relatively the effectiveness of different projects, the identification and pertinent measure of all the costs and benefits of projects on as identical scale of measure (e.g., dollars or rupees)is necessary 3 . While CBA seeks to develop standards and criteria for determining how well the existing services of a library meet the requirements of its users, CEA aims at discovering new, improved procedures and devices for providing better services to the users. CBA has been considered as a valuable tool for increasing people's awareness of the costs and benefits of information and documentation as a production factor and to provide better basis for budgeting and strategic planning. Libraries are largely service-oriented paternalistic systems and
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journal - Is cost benefit analysis applicable to journal...

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