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Subscriptions Review Process - Spring 2021 Update

Posted on: June 1, 2021

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Subscriptions Review Process Spring 2021 Update

In response to a recent commitment from the Provost’s Office to provide full, one-time funding for next fiscal year, the Libraries will no longer be forced to pursue subscription cancellations this year. The much-needed funds allow us to move from a reactionary stance into a more deliberate, strategic review of our subscription portfolio.

It is a great relief not to have to cancel subscriptions for next year. However, this financial reprieve does not include funding for new subscriptions.  Having received many faculty requests for new journals and databases over the years, the Libraries still wishes to better align subscription content with Western’s current teaching and research needs. During the 2020-21 subscription review process, some departments requested new subscriptions in place of existing ones. To honor these requests and ensure that the university’s subscription portfolio remains dynamic and relevant, the Libraries will be moving forward with a small number of request-driven subscription swaps. Our net subscription spending will remain the same, but the content itself will shift into closer alignment with the curriculum.

The titles being cancelled effective January 1, 2022 include:

  • Econometrics Journal (Oxford University Press)
  • Economic Journal (Oxford University Press)
  • Journal of Marketing Research (SAGE)
  • Merrill Palmer Quarterly
  • Early Music (Oxford University Press)
  • Musical Quarterly (Oxford University Press)


New titles to begin January 1, 2022 include*:

  • Representations
  • Philippine Studies Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints
  • Caribbean Studies
  • Speculum
  • Journal of Financial Education
  • Financial Management
  • Ethnomusicology


*This is in addition to new titles being added using decision package funds in early childhood education, marine and coastal sciences, and STEM (engineering and design, energy studies, chemistry, and biology).

Western Libraries intends to proactively review subscriptions in 2021-22 and explore additional title swaps in order to better meet the university’s ever-changing needs. We intend to maintain net subscription spending; however, if in future biennia the subscription budget is not adequately funded, the Libraries will again need to pursue large-scale subscription cancellations. The Libraries is grateful for the university’s engagement with the subscription review process this year. We look forward to working with the university community on a long-term and predictable budgeting model that allows for more strategic, sustainable subscriptions in the future.

Don’t hesitate to contact your Subject Team or the Collection Services division if you or your department have questions, concerns, or library needs. We are here for you!

Read more: Subscriptions Review Process - Spring 2021 Update

Donation to Western Libraries Expands WWU's Access to Digital Content via HathiTrust

Posted on: April 19, 2021

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Donation to Western Libraries Enables HathiTrust Membership

HathiTrust logo

Thanks to a generous gift from the Hacherl Family, Western Libraries is now a member library of HathiTrust, which means Western Washington University's access to digital content is now expanded. HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative that offers online access to the largest set of digitized books managed by academic and research libraries for scholarly, not corporate, interests.

Most HathiTrust content in the public domain can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection, but with the Western Libraries’ membership in HathiTrust, there are also some additional benefits. WWU students, faculty, and staff now have full viewing and downloading abilities for HathiTrust materials that are in the public domain, in addition to a small number of public domain titles not otherwise accessible to the general public. Access to other materials for which HathiTrust has received permission is now also available.

There are several ways to search and use the resources in HathiTrust. Full-text content in HathiTrust can be found through Western Libraries OneSearch. You can also search HathiTrust's catalog by Title, Author, and Publication Date, or, you can use keywords to search the full-text of all works in HathiTrust. Metadata are far richer and more consistently applied than in Google Books, an important distinction and consideration for academic researchers. HathiTrust can therefore be used to facilitate textual analyses and other digital humanities projects.

For more information about Western Libraries membership in HathiTrust, please see Western Libraries HathiTrust guide, or contact Jeff Purdue at

Read more: Donation to Western Libraries Expands WWU's Access to Digital Content via HathiTrust

Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Update

Posted on: May 22, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Spring 2020 Update

Over the last 16 months, Western Libraries and the Subscription Task Force have been engaged in the challenge of bringing subscription expenditures into alignment with the Libraries’ allocated collections budget. The final list of subscription cancellations for the 20-21 Academic Year (AY) is now available to all Western faculty, staff, and students on the Libraries’ subscription review webpage

This work involved the efforts of dozens of people, both internal and external to the Libraries, and was shaped by multiple outreach initiatives and tours through faculty and university governance channels. As was shared in January 2020, due to the combination of a flat collections budget and inflation of subscription costs, Western Libraries anticipated a subscriptions budget shortfall of more than $300K in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21. This immediate pressure required a reduction to subscriptions which meant moving towards a more agile, access-based approach rather than focusing primarily on traditional modes of ownership. 

During fall quarter 2019, 252 titles were identified for potential cancellation based on scores acquired by applying 13 quantitative and qualitative criteria. Of these original 252 titles, 63 titles  will be retained. Forty-seven titles will be paid for using the originally planned buffer of $66,000, with an additional 16 titles funded from the Libraries’ carryforward funds. 

Given current financial uncertainties, there are no additional one-time funds to retain more than the 63 titles mentioned above. Further, any one-time funds applied this year would only increase the scope of reductions for AY2021-22, as those funds are not added to the base budget. In saving an additional 16 titles beyond original projections this year, the Libraries are attempting to strike a balance between mitigating this year’s losses and making next year’s worse.

The retained titles will remain available for one year, after which they may again be subject to cancellation. The remaining 189 titles from the original draft cancellation list will be cancelled; the end date for each subscription—and any post-cancellation retention rights—are listed in the cancellation spreadsheet. This list represents a total reduction of approximately $278,000.

Next academic year, all subscriptions up for renewal will again come under review. Budget pressures are still such that annual subscription reductions are necessary into the foreseeable future. These pressures include the unsustainability of funding inflationary increases combined with an increasingly competitive university budget, steeply rising subscription prices, and ongoing publisher consolidation. If the Libraries collection budget remains flat, projections are for $121,000 in reductions for AY2021-22 and roughly $94,000 each subsequent year. 

Future annual subscription review processes will follow the same basic schedule as the 2019-20 review. They will include a variety of quantitative and qualitative evaluation criteria, including a period for input from the university community. To help ensure the best possible outcomes for next year, the Libraries is looking for constructive suggestions about how the process might be improved. To that end, you are invited to complete a short survey about the AY2019-20 subscription reduction process. The Libraries will use suggestions gathered from this survey to inform future revisions to the process. The survey should take less than fifteen minutes to complete and is due by Sunday, June 14.

Western Libraries appreciates the interest and involvement of the many people who have participated in this process, and encourages faculty to continue connecting with their UPRC and Senate Library Committee representatives, the Libraries’ subject teams, and each other. In the long-term, the proliferation of journal titles, rising costs of library subscriptions, and for-profit journal landscape require a more forward-looking conversation about scholarly publishing. While these challenges are ongoing, collective efforts and commitment can influence a more sustainable future for subscriptions. Western has the opportunity to be part of these important efforts. For more information about Open Access and the future of scholarly communications, visit the Task Force webpage.

Read more: Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Update

Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available!

Posted on: June 26, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available

On June 25, 2019, the beta version of Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) will be available to the university community. This central repository will allow for the discovery, sharing, and preservation of Western's digital assets, which includes images, video and sound recordings, and textual documents.

Screenshot image of MABEL's landing page header; text that reads: MABEL: Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library; placed over a search box with options to browse the collections or browse by format.

MABEL was developed to provide access to digital content in support of communications, research, and teaching & learning activities at Western, while also allowing for the responsible stewardship of unique materials and valuable digital assets created or managed by Western.


What’s the difference between Western CEDAR and MABEL? 

Western CEDAR provides open access to scholarship and creative works produced by the Western community, making the research, scholarship, and creative works of WWU faculty, staff, and students easily discoverable to anyone in the world. 

These two platforms have separate purposes and different kinds of content, and can be used together in complementary ways to support the wide array of teaching, learning, and research activities at Western. 

Screenshot from MABEL's landing page that lists the "Browse by Format" options, which include image, video, audio, newspaper, and text.

Content in MABEL can be used to support and enable:

  • Academic and scholarly research
  • Primary source instruction
  • Preservation of digital assets
  • Marketing & outreach activities


Western employees who work with digital assets on behalf of their organizational units will be able to use MABEL to manage and share those assets. Although access permissions for content in this platform will vary, members of the larger university community (employees, students, and beyond), will also be able to use MABEL for search and discovery of public-facing collections. 

MABEL is the result of an intensive, multi-year cross-campus university partnership involving numerous stakeholders, content creators, archivists, and library professionals.

Black and White photo of Mabel Zoe WilsonThe name MABEL is in part an homage to Mabel Zoe Wilson, Western's first full-time librarian and the namesake of the Wilson Library building, which is still part of Western Libraries’ main complex. Mabel Zoe Wilson served as librarian from 1902-1945. Tasked with creating a library from virtually nothing, she worked through four decades to grow, catalog, and organize the collections, initiate services, and teach students effective library use.

Work to improve and further develop MABEL will continue throughout the summer as a team of web developers and content experts will make additional improvements. The goal is to replace the beta version with the launch of an improved version in the fall of 2019.  

  • How to find MABEL: You may visit MABEL here:
  • Content Contributors: If you are a member of Western’s University Community, and you are interested in hosting your unit’s content in MABEL, please email  to learn more. 
  •  Interested in helping us improve the display and function of MABEL? Contact us.

Read more: Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available!