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Purpose—Little is known about the current state of industry standards subscriptions in U.S. libraries. In this age of electronic access and tightening budgets, many libraries are re-examining whether or not to alter paper subscriptions of standards to electronic versions and/or switch to on-demand delivery.

Design/Methodology—Two surveys were conducted in an attempt to gauge the extent to which other libraries are currently collecting standards in electronic format, or providing on-demand purchasing for industry standards.

Findings—The number of libraries purchasing electronic standards or providing on-demand purchasing in 2003 appears to be incongruous with comments from both surveys. In the 2001 survey, librarians could not find ways to fund on-demand purchasing and in the 2003 survey, a number of libraries were purchasing some sets on an irregular basis to save money. A little over half (51%) of the responding libraries provide electronic versions of standards and sixty percent indicated they provide on-demand purchasing of individual standards.

Originality/Value—Survey responses resulted in several local changes to improve patron success rates at acquiring industry standard including: created a publicly-searchable database of locally-available standards, initiated a purchase on-demand process, worked with Interlibrary Loan (ILL) staff to determine which standards would be better to purchase versus request on ILL, and became more adept at reference interviews involving requests for standards.


This is a post-print of an article published in Collection Building, 24, no. 1 (2005): 20–28, by Emerald.


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Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.



standards article appendix A.doc (52 kB)
Appendix A: Summary of responses to information survey in January 2001

standards article appendix B.doc (69 kB)
Appendix B: Industry Standards Survey: summary of responses—35 ARL libraries

standards article appendix C.doc (24 kB)
Appendix C: Workflow for Industry Standards requests