Project Overview

Every academic year, the University of Iowa Libraries works to offset increases in the costs of information resources. Like our peer university libraries, our strategy is to minimize the impact of inflation by continuously monitoring the use of the collection to identify and eliminate journals, databases, and ebooks that:

  • are low-use;
  • carry a high cost per use;
  • duplicate content available from other sources.

In years past, these monitoring processes, along with reductions in spending on printed books, have enabled UI Libraries’ collection management team and liaison librarians to counter rising costs. However, during the 2019-2020 academic year, subscription costs were set to increase five to seven percent, and we found it difficult to identify further spending reductions. The UI Libraries needed to identify $600,000 in subscriptions to cancel. (Please note that subscriptions managed by the Law Library were not included in this process.)

To ensure that the best possible decisions were made in this difficult environment, we gathered feedback from the campus community through a three-stage journal and database cancellation review process:


The process included:

  • Listening forums across campus.
  • Contact from liaison librarians with departments and programs with proposed lists of subscriptions to cancel.
  • Information from liaisons regarding metrics libraries staff used to define “low use” and “high cost per user.” These metrics vary by discipline.

Faculty and staff should completed a feedback form to make a case to keep journal or database titles. All feedback was submitted to Linda Walton by Friday, April 5, 2019. UI Libraries’ liaison librarians were available to field discipline-specific questions.