The main borrowing collection was transformed to ensure our resources are relevant long into the future, with a Collection Modernisation Project guided by data analysis, consultation and extensive quality control.
Following international trends, print borrowing has continued to decline at UOW with a further 21% drop in usage since 2018, while use of digital collections steadily grows, reflective of a highly networked and distributed campus environment. This presented the opportunity to acknowledge that print and digital collections can co-exist, recognising all formats of information and knowledge are vital for learning, scholarship and research. The project aimed to improve the presentation and access of high-demand print items.
Project deliverables included:
- using data to inform acquisition and distribution models
- accelerating transition from print to electronic resources
- closing the Curriculum Resources Centre (CRC)
- removing obsolete texts
- moving high use print items at the Wollongong Campus Library to a refurbished Level 1 space
- transferring low-use items to offsite storage to maximise available space
- improving online search results.
These changes ensure the UOW Library collection will remain vibrant and relevant to changing teaching, learning and research needs into the future.
Business intelligence tools were used to analyse data and user engagement. Where the data showed low usage of resources, acquisition and expenditure was reconfigured towards resources that were in high demand.
The purchase of an additional 217 ebooks, including textbooks, supported the transition from print to digital resources, and academics were consulted about niche print collections so that teaching and research needs would continue to be met.
Closing the CRC building at Wollongong Campus and amalgamating the collection into the central Library provided better visibility, longer hours of access and additional facilities to the specialised teaching resources used by education students.
100,000 low use print items were moved to off-site storage to maximise floor space. These books remain discoverable online and are almost always retrieved from storage within one working day of the request.
Short (2 hour) loans were also reviewed. Here, the Library found access would be improved by transitioning to two-day loans. Automatic renewals were implemented to improve usage of the existing print collection and improve user experience.