Library Research Roundup: [No] Info for the DDA

Downey, K., Zhang, Y., Urbano, C., & Klinger, T. (2014). A comparative study of print book and DDA ebook acquisition and use. Technical Services Quarterly, 31(2), 139-160.

This report examines Kent State’s six-month trial of YBP’s DDA system in light of the assumptions that this acquisitions strategy has the potential to deliver resources at the moment of need and could help nurture lively and evolving library use. This paper is part of a three part research collaboration between Kent State and the Universitat de Barcelona and focuses specifically on comparing DDA stats to existing print circulation information.

DDA might be an imperfect acquisitions model, but the literature shows that it has clear advantages over developed collections and package ebook purchases. Studies cited in the literature review from Brigham Young University and the University of Vermont showed only 40%-50% circulation in traditionally acquired collections. DDA models virtually guarantee 100% initial circulation, though it’s still unclear that resource use is comparable from print to digital.

Kent State compared samples of ebook DDA purchases and traditionally acquired print purchases over three years. They found that 99.8% of items acquired through DDA had repeated circulations during the first year, while only 62.5% of print acquisitions circulated over the same time period.

Acquiring ebooks is advantageous, especially for a campus like Kent State with multiple libraries. One of the major questions that still surrounds DDA is the size and type of the discovery record pool. Kent State currently stocks 40,000 discovery records of which around 3% have been triggered. This level could be a natural equilibrium for DDA purchasing, though it could just as easily point to discovery and scope issues. The only potential advantage in purchasing print might be the price point, ebooks cost the school $98.52 on average compared to $59.53 in print, though the cost per use was nearly identical.

Overall it seems like DDA is an improvement on traditional acquisitions strategies at Kent State, a multi-campus academic research library. These results are probably not generalizable and much research needs to be done both to understand new acquisitions models and attempt to look back on traditional methods with a critical lens. That said, print to DDA is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. Further studies in this series, comparing DDA to other ebook use, may offer a more subtle examination of the advantages and disadvantages of this purchasing strategy.