Determining the average cost of a book for allocation formulas: Comparing options
Williams, Virginia Kay
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Williams, Virginia Kay, and Schmidt, June. (2008). Determining the Average Cost of a Book for Allocation Formulas: Comparing Options. Library Resources & Technical Services 52(1): 60-70.
Academic libraries that use allocation formulas to divide monographic funds among academic departments frequently include the average cost of books per discipline as a variable. Published price indices provide average costs for some subjects, but for libraries serving interdisciplinary departments, purchasing nonbook materials with monographic funds, or purchasing foreign language materials, the published price indices may prove insufficient. This study investigates methods of determining average prices to be used in allocation formulas. As part of evaluating the allocation formula at Mississippi State University, the authors reviewed literature pertinent to library use of allocation formulas, surveyed Carnegie Doctoral/Research Extensive land grant university libraries on their use of average price as a variable in allocation formulas, and calculated allocations using average price data from four sources: the Bowker Annual, previous acquisition cost data, Blackwell Price Reports, and Blackwell approval plan profiles. The pros and cons of each method of determining average price are discussed.