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Library survey

Last year Fellows were invited to respond to an online survey on Library usage and satisfaction. Fabienne Michaud* reports.

jhgThe results have been considered in the development of the Society’s new Collection Development Policy, which is designed to provide a clear framework and a sound foundation for the future of the Library’s collections.

A Working Group led by Richard Hughes was formed to review the policy. A survey was recommended to seek the views of the Fellowship on the value and role of the Library and subject priorities for future acquisitions. The questionnaire was sent to a random sample of the Society’s Fellows:

  • 35% of all those registered for remote journal access (“Athens users”)
  • 35% of those not registered (“non-Athens users”).

The response rate was of approximately 15%, and the headline messages were:

  • 56% of respondents use the Library in some way (81% of Athens users; 45% of non-Athens users).
  • 13% of respondents use Library services at least once a month (22% of Athens users; 9% of non-Athens users)
  • 73% of Athens users and 29% of non-Athens users use the physical Library.
  • 88% of Library users see the Library as being of first or second resort (43% first resort; 45% second resort), with only 12% seeing it as a Library of last resort.
  • 81% of respondents think the subject coverage of resources provided by the Library caters for their needs well or very well.


High priority subject areas, unsurprisingly, reflect the Fellowship make-up, with engineering geology, structural geology, petroleum geology and environmental geology being most popular. Regional geology titles were also of notable interest. Respondents from the academic sector had a wider range of subject interests than their colleagues from industry, but most respondents from both groups thought the Library covered their subjects well.

The results of the survey will not be used in isolation when decisions on future disposals and acquisitions are made, but as part of a matrix of factors including journal usage and cost-per-use data.

  • You can read the draft document online at Council will discuss the document in early April. Please email any comments and suggestions to the Library E: by 7 March.

Journal Subscriptions 2014

Fabienne Michaud writes: Fellows will recall that the 2010 Library Review approved by Council required a significant reduction in Library net operating cost. At its meeting on 28 November 2013, Council agreed that rather than taking journals published by Elsevier and Springer as both hard copy and online, to subscribe to the online-only form with significant saving of cost. It is envisaged that all existing journal subscriptions would be maintained without cuts being required for 2014. The planned savings made complete the programme of net operating cost reduction, and the future focus will be on the development of new Library services. Fellows will wish to note that all Elsevier and Springer titles will be freely available online to Fellows both onsite and offsite.