Skip to Main Content

Assessing DDA : Measuring Success for Strategic Objectives


     Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, consisting of 11,000 students; approximately 5,000 are undergraduates.  Kelvin Smith Library (KSL), the university’s main library, has nine Research Services Librarians (RSLs) who oversee and collect for majors in the Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences. RSLs have a number of responsibilities which include working closely with students and faculty who conduct research as well as collection development.  

Strategic Objectives

      Research is one of the three main tenets of the KSL 2015-2018 Strategic Plan.  We want to “ignite discovery, research, and scholarship by aligning our expertise with the needs of researchers as they address the world’s most pressing needs.” KSL will support research through purchased content, “ensuring effective access to the diverse and interdisciplinary information resources.” KSL wants to secure “University investment in scholarly content at a level commensurate with our University-defined peer research institutions.”  For additional information on the Kelvin Smith Library Strategic Plan  click here.


     As is common with other academic libraries, KSL spends approximately 20% of its annual materials budget on monographs and 80% on serial purchases.  However, with a mostly flat budget and serial inflation, RSLs must be hyperaware of purchasing decisions and their justification.  In 2012, the Kelvin Smith Library conducted a Demand-Driven Acquisitions (DDA) pilot for both physical and electronic books in an effort to offer a breadth of scholarly material to faculty and students in a cost-effective way. By design, DDA allows the library to only purchase content used or requested by our constituency at their point of need.

     The pilot ran from March 2012 until June 2014.  Coutts was the supplying vendor for the DDA pilot.  Meetings were set initially with Coutts to discuss workflow, set-up subject profiles and parameters for titles in which KSL would receive MARC records, and to set expectations.  Internal discussions were held to address our goals, such as what we wanted to track, and how we wanted to implement the pilot. 

     The scope of this assessment project will cover both DDA and firm order titles purchased within the two year time period in which the DDA pilot ran. 

     For the print comparison, I examined DDA print titles selected versus circulating print firm order titles that were purchased within the same time period.  I was sure to remove non-circulating purchases, such as items in reference.  Print usage statistics were compiled using Sierra, an Innovative Interfaces product.  Comparisons were made in the following areas: total items, total checkouts, total renewals, total usage, as well as their averages.  I also considered average book price, average price per use, and percentage of titles with no usage.  I also analyzed expenditures by subjects, to view which types of books were sought out by our constituency and compare that to our typical budget allocation ratios by subject.  For more information on print statistics, please click here.

      Ebook comparisons were compiled using Myilibrary and Sierra.  Myilibrary was able to provide usage information for title hits, page views, and page downloads, while price and call number information was obtained using Sierra.  For this assessment, I only compared ebooks firm ordered with Coutts/Myilibrary.  In the future, I would like to get a better sense of total ebook usage and plan to do so using Intota Assessment, a ProQuest product.  This will allow us to analyze user patters, platform preferences, and usage growth.  Similar to the print comparison, subject breakdowns were analyzed.  For more information on ebook statistics, please click here

      Both print and ebook usage statistics are from point of purchase through September 2015.