Many academic libraries’ collections development policies have discouraged the acquisition of assigned texts, but recent trends to support textbook affordability, student success, and online learning have altered this approach. A recent study suggested that title persistence—the frequency with which a unique title is assigned across multiple semesters and within a single semester across multiple sections—has implications for the value of that text with respect to library collection development. It makes sense that purchasing frequently assigned course materials would provide good return on investment from the library’s perspective, but the phenomenon of title persistence has not yet been closely examined. This presentation leverages around ten years of course assigned text data from a public, Carnegie R2 university to investigate the frequency with which texts are assigned from one semester to the next and from one section to another within a single semester, the fields of study in which title persistence has been more and less prevalent, and the relationship between title persistence and specific publishers. The presenters will outline some of the implications of title persistence for library collection development and highlight some considerations for librarians and publishers thinking through how to approach licensing assigned course materials.
Participants will emerge from this session with a broad understanding of the title persistence at a public university with an enrollment around 20,000 and more specific knowledge of how title persistence interacts with subject areas and publishers. The speakers will encourage participants to reflect on the implications of title persistence in their context and will pose provocative questions to ensure a lively Q&A.
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