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Posted on Apr 8, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions about the Electronic Core Collection (ECC)

Thanks to the advocacy of many partners over the 2018-2019 academic year, the plea for additional funding for the Electronic Core Collection was heard. Thank you to Executive Vice Chancellor, Dr. Loren Blanchard, for allocating an additional $1 million in base funds to this critical resource that benefits all California State University students, staff, and faculty. This case could not have been made without the support of the Statewide Academic Senate and the senates of many CSU campuses, listed below. We still have a way to go, but this goes a long way.


Resolutions in support of the ECC

The Statewide Academic Senate and several CSU campuses — including ChicoEast Bay, FullertonHumboldt, Long BeachLos Angeles, Monterey BayNorthridgeSacramentoSan Bernardino, San JoseSan Luis Obispo (also ASI), and Sonoma — have passed resolutions in support of increased funding for the ECC.


What is included in the ECC?

The ECC currently includes a collection of subscription databases of published content, including scholarly articles, popular news and magazine articles, reference articles, business data, and e-books. See the full list of 2018-19 ECC databases at the bottom of this document.


Who is responsible for the ECC?

The ECC began in 1999 as an initiative of the CSU Council of Library Deans (COLD). It is funded by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, Academic Technology Services Division. Decisions about subscribed content included in the ECC are made by COLD, based on recommendations made by a COLD standing committee, EAR (Electronic Access to Information Resources), whose ten members include two deans, plus librarian representatives from small, medium, and large CSU campuses, each serving two-year terms.


Who can access the ECC?

All CSU students, faculty, and staff have unlimited access.


What is the current budget for the ECC?

$5 million per year, which has stayed flat since 2008. This cost equates to about $10 per CSU student.


What disciplines are covered by the ECC?

The ECC has a range of disciplinary content, including business, humanities, social sciences, law, technology, music, and physical and life sciences. The ECC is weak in STEM content, however, with several core resources missing. For example, the ECC does not include the most recent six years of the journals Science or Nature. Neither does it include the top science journal database, Elsevier’s ScienceDirect or the key resource for chemistry majors and faculty, American Chemical Society Journals.


How is the ECC being used?

This material is used for faculty and student research, creation and completion of course assignments, information literacy instruction, and a variety of other faculty, student, and staff projects. In 2017-18, there were over 17 million full-text downloads from all library databases procured by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, including the ECC.


If a resource is not included in the ECC, how do students and faculty at CSU campuses get access?

In some cases, individual CSU libraries subscribe to core resources not included in the ECC, which may be accessed by just those campus users. In other cases, particularly at smaller or less-resourced campuses, the individual library cannot subscribe to all core, necessary resources. Those students and faculty must rely on interlibrary loan, a slower, more onerous process and limited by copyright restrictions on quantity, or do without. This creates educational opportunity inequities between CSU campuses, and these access gaps have grown over time.


Does the system save money by purchasing content consortially for the ECC rather than individually by campus?

Yes. Savings for system-wide subscriptions vary but buying as a system is almost always less expensive.


How has the ECC been affected by stagnant funding and subsequent erosion of buying power?

With stagnant funding over the last ten years, there has been a loss of approximately $1 million of buying power due to inflation alone. Unfortunately, subscription price increases have exceeded the inflation rate during that time period, so loss of buying power is actually much higher. For example, Elsevier recently claimed its average annual price increases were among the lowest in the industry at 5% per year. Using Elsevier’s estimate as a minimum, loss of ECC buying power in ten years would be a minimum of $3.4 million.

With at least $3.4 million loss of purchasing power, the core collection has had to be modified over time in order to stay within the $5 million budget, pushing the costs of core information resources onto individual campuses, with many campuses losing access altogether. A recent example is the cancellation of LexisNexis Academic Universe—an online service composed of approximately 5000 full text legal, news, reference, and business sources—in 2017. Nineteen campuses were not able to retain subscriptions to LexisNexis.

See the full list of databases that have been cut from the ECC at the bottom of this document.


What’s happening with the ECC budget for 2019-2020?

The ECC is facing more than $600,000 in cuts in 2019-20, as reserves from other budget areas that have been used in past years to cover this overage have been spent down to zero. This underfunding will translate to dropping subscriptions to several core research databases.


What budget increases are needed to make the ECC whole?

Increasing the ECC to $10 million would address losses in purchasing power from ten years of stagnant budgets. Increasing the ECC to $15 million would allow the system to expand access to new types of content not included in the ECC to date, such as streaming media.


What would the CSU libraries do with increased funding?

While decisions about ECC content are made via a shared governance process, there are several options that would serve the entire CSU system. Several core databases and journal collections that the majority of campuses pay for individually could be added. Subscriptions to emerging and in-demand content types could also be added.


What would it cost to make the ECC whole?

For the equivalent of $10 more per student in general funding, the ECC will provide fair and equitable access to core information resources for all CSU students and faculty, and restore access to fundamental resources for science, business, and legal research.


What will happen if we maintain the status quo in the ECC?

Without increased funding, the ECC will continue to shrink, information access inequities will grow across the CSU, and opportunities for system-wide purchasing efficiencies will be lost.


What specific databases are included in the 2018-19 ECC?

  • ABI/Inform (business)
  • Academic Search/Business Source Premier
  • Academic Complete eBooks
  • ACLS (humanities eBooks)
  • America History & Life/Historical Abstracts
  • Biological Abstracts
  • CINAHL Complete (nursing)
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete
  • CQ Researcher
  • Dissertations & Theses Abstracts
  • Ethnic NewsWatch
  • GenderWatch
  • Global Newsstream (regional, national, international news)
  • Grove (Oxford) Music
  • JSTOR (13 collections) (humanities)
  • MathSciNet
  • MLA Intl. Bibliography (humanities)
  • Mergent (business)
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • Project Muse (humanities)
  • PsycInfo / PsycArticles
  • Safari (technology eBooks)
  • Sociological /Social Services Abstracts
  • Westlaw


What specific material has been cut from the ECC since 2010?

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Factiva (news, business)
  • Grove’s Art
  • Hoovers and Oxford Research (business)
  • Lexis Nexis (legal, news, business)
  • Philosopher’s Index
  • Rand California

In addition, the following databases were previously partially funded via the ECC. In 2013, that funding was eliminated.

  • American Institute of Physics Journals
  • American Chemical Society Web Editions
  • Elsevier Science Direct
  • Springer
  • Wiley Interscience
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Posted on Jun 22, 2017

Resolution in Support of Student Data Privacy

On June 15, 2017, the CSU Council of Library Deans (COLD) adopted a resolution affirming “the crucial importance of privacy in the collection and retention of student data.”  CSU Library Deans will “communicate the importance of student data privacy to library staff and faculty, to students, and to the campus community” and will “encourage the creation of a publicly posted library policy on patron privacy in all CSU libraries, both online and in the physical environment.”

Full text of the resolution.

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Posted on Jun 13, 2017

OneSearch: The New CSU Library Discovery System

OneSearch: The New CSU Library Discovery System

Long Beach, CA – Coming this summer, all 23 of the California State University (CSU) library collections will be integrated into new Library Discovery System called OneSearch.

As a joint effort led by the CSU Council of Library Deans, the primary goal of this upgrade is to enrich the research experience of students while assisting faculty and staff in their scholarly and professional pursuits.

OneSearch features an intuitive, mobile-friendly interface that makes it easy to find, cite, save, and share books, ebooks, ejournals, articles, and streaming video from the CSU Libraries.


OneSearch includes CSU+, a new book sharing system for the entire CSU. Through CSU+, students and faculty will have direct access to over 29 million books held by the CSU Libraries; they will be able to request a book from any other campus to be delivered to their home campus within 2-3 days.

“Many of the libraries are currently using catalogs that are over 20-years old,” said John Wenzler, chair of the Council of Library Deans. “By migrating from these outdated systems, we can improve access for students, faculty, and staff, in a more user-friendly interface.”

Gale Etschmaier, library dean at San Diego State University, said, “This is truly a revolutionary initiative that will transform academic libraries across the CSU. OneSearch is a powerful tool that will advance research, discovery, and academic achievement.”

Gerry Hanley, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Technology Services for the CSU said, “Our big and important goal is to support equity across all campuses so all CSU students, faculty and staff have equally successful, innovative, and powerful library services for learning, teaching, and scholarly activities.”

CSU libraries can expect to see this upgrade in June of 2017. For more information, please see Unified Library Management System.

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Posted on Nov 16, 2016

CSU Council of Library Deans Passes Resolution in Support of Open Access for CSU Faculty Publications

Open access refers to free, online public access to scholarly and scientific works in open access journals (gold open access) and university repositories (green open access). All CSU campuses have open access institutional repositories. Open access resolutions and policies for faculty are currently in place at more than 200 American universities, including a mandatory (opt-out) policy for the entire UC system, as well as resolutions at a small number of CSU campuses.

On October 27, 2016, the CSU Council of Library Deans (COLD) unanimously voted for a resolution in support of Open Access for CSU Faculty Publications. The CSU libraries are committed to increasing equitable access to scholarly research by supporting faculty efforts to publish in Open Access Journals and Repositories.

Full text of the resolution (PDF).

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Posted on Aug 17, 2016

Library makerspaces enhance student learning

Library makerspaces enhance student learning

Makerspaces have become increasingly popular additions to libraries, allowing visitors to learn and apply hands-on creative skills in tandem with traditional scholarship. Several CSU campus libraries have developed maker spaces, adopting maker culture, which values creation as an alternative to consumption. Both makerspaces and libraries provide informal learning opportunities, so it’s not surprising that libraries are serving as facilitators and incubators for the accessible, collaborative culture that makerspaces strive to create, according to Isis Leininger, Coordinator at Oviatt Library’s Creative Media Studio, CSUN.

“Beyond just providing access to innovative technologies, makerspaces are a place to discover those technologies, use them, and in turn cultivate student engagement,” added Jenny Wong-Welch, Director at Love Library’s build IT, SDSU.

Establishing a makerspace

Both the Creative Media Studio at Oviatt Library and build IT at Love Library were among the first mini makerspaces to appear on CSU campuses. “In the beginning we had a more basic makerspace focusing on providing more general, multimedia software and better cameras in response to increased multimedia projects in classes,” Leininger said. “But now we’re going beyond equipment.”

According to Wong-Welch, the makerspace that she helped to found grew out of a personal interest in technology. “Right about the time I started doing 3D printing, I did some workshops, so that became the stepping stone for incorporating my own interest in electronics into helping students actually make things,” Wong-Welch said.

Benefits of a makerspace

From virtual reality equipment to advanced digital editing software, students have access to explore and utilize a variety of tools and platforms. Even in their infancy, the two makerspaces at Love and Oviatt libraries have given students opportunities to grow beyond what they learn in the classroom.

“Students here are really gaining the opportunity to build interdisciplinary skills and go beyond their major. Meeting people from other majors and being in a collaborative environment like this is preparation for their future careers,” Leininger said.

“I think that this learning community helps to build universal digital skills in a newer manner than you would in a class. But you are also building workplace skills and you get a chance to learn about the design process which lets you conceptualize, design, engineer, evaluate, and reiterate,” Wong-Welch added.

Campus receptiveness

Building a community is at the core of the makerspace ethos, and Leininger believes the makerspace she coordinates has been successful at not only attracting students but cultivating a community.

“Students here are engaged and love being here. The recording studio is pretty much occupied all the time. People from all different majors have come together to make this a very popular space,” Leininger said.

Student involvement

Students excited to learn and share new skills become so highly involved with these spaces that makerspaces are able to organically foster student communities and connections, Leininger explained. Oftentimes, students have the opportunity to play larger roles within their makerspace community as student assistants.

“The biggest way to keep a makerspace going is to involve students and give them ownership of their learning community, so that they can call it their own and feel more invested,” Wong-Welch added. “By maximizing student engagement we are also providing internships and work experience that could lead to real jobs.”

CMS student assistants

CMS student assistants, Alyse Kollerbohm, Rose Rieux, and Eva Cohen, training each other on 3D modeling and printing.


Future plans and opportunities

As library makerspace communities grow, staff are actively planning to provide students with greater access to more maker tools and nurture even more creativity across their campuses.

“I think makerspaces will become even more popular and become part of every library. We’re looking forward to expanding and we’re always trying to improve,” said Leininger. “Hopefully if we get enough funding we can start a maker club and get a green screening room next.”

“What I love about the makerspace is that students might have an idea and they know that there is a community where they can actually produce what they envisioned,” Wong-Welch said. “And I believe the library, as a huge social hub of different students, is a great place to foster and help actualize those ideas.”

Maker culture across the CSU

Many other CSU libraries are enhancing their campuses’ learning potential by fostering maker culture. Here are some of the exciting initiatives being implemented.

    • Cal State San Bernardino, launched fall, 2015
    • San Jose State University, launched fall 2015 – fall 2016
      • Creative Media Lab: Students use this lab for high-end video and audio editing, animation and game development
      • 3D Printing: Piloting 3D printing in the library with a TAZ Lulzbot 5, and adding a Lulz Mini and Glow Forge 3D laser printer
      • Maker Technology Checkout: Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, makey makeys, 3D printing pens and Google Cardboards are available for checkout
      • Pop-Up MakerSpace: Converting laptop storage cart into a convertible maker space. It will include the kits listed above, soldering kits, servo kits and a mini 3d printer.
    • San Francisco State University, launched November 2015
    • Cal Maritime, launched September 2014
      • Maker Days: Monthly events, ranging from Arduino and 3D printing to quilling and pumpkin carving.
    • Sonoma State, launched January 2016
      • Innovation Lab: Partnering with SCI220, a science class, the Library piloted an Innovation Lab in January 2016 in a Library classroom. The lab featured 3-D printers, Arduino kits, and other gear. The pilot was deemed successful, and SCI220 will be repeated in the fall of 2016. Additions to the lab for fall 2016 may include a 3D Scanner and Raspberry Pi computing.

At time of publication, still more programs are taking shape across the state. At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Robert E. Kennedy Library is collaborating with the campus’ Innovation Sandbox to expand and move their location to the library. Cal Poly Pomona University Library has allocated a section of their building for a maker space with plans to hire staff. At Chico State, the Meriam Library plans to establish a maker space in the future, and the Sacramento State University Library is in the process of raising funds.

CSU libraries are operationalizing maker culture in a variety of styles, formats, and programs, but their goals remain consistent: provide access to information and technology, teach new skills, and create a safe, welcoming learning environment. These core values have always been at the heart of the libraries’ mission, and the future holds exciting possibilities for maker culture to continue enriching library learning.

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Posted on Jul 1, 2016

New funding for open educational resources improves access to course materials

New funding for open educational resources improves access to course materials

In October Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 798, the College Textbook Affordability Act of 2015, which establishes a $3 million grant fund to be awarded to CSU and community college campuses that demonstrate their commitment to increasing adoption of high-quality, no-cost and low-cost course materials.

Since then at least 17 CSU libraries have collaborated with staff across their campuses to apply for grant funding, which would allow them to more widely adopt affordable learning solutions (ALS) and open educational resources (OER). Each campus may apply for up to $50,000 to fund faculty professional development and technology support.

Faculty adoption of affordable learning solutions

AB 798 aims to reduce costs of course materials for students by providing OER adaptation and adoption support for faculty. For many faculty, time is “one of the most challenging things” about shifting toward OER, according to King Library Sr. Assistant Librarian Ann Agee.

Brian Beatty, Associate Professor of Instructional Technologies and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Operations at San Francisco State adds that “Designing classes and incorporating new instructional materials often requires a lot of major work, additional work that faculty may not have planned for.”

In response to these concerns, both Agee and Beatty hope that grants from AB 798 will make it easier for faculty to make the switch over to more accessible course materials.

“We’re developing a 2-3 hour faculty workshop to help link faculty to OER resources,” Beatty said.

On an institutional level, Agee believes that a tenure process that acknowledges faculty contributions to using or creating affordable course materials could also facilitate faculty willingness to adopt. “The tenure process doesn’t recognize or reward creating open resources,” Agee said. “If the incentive were there, then I think more faculty would make the shift to OER.”

New grants’ potential benefits to more programs

At San Jose State, Agee has noticed that health science, library science, and computer science departments have been the biggest adopters of ALS. For the time being, San Jose is focused on adopting resources for “high-enrollment GE courses,” but other disciplines such as meteorology are also interested in adopting more accessible resources.

At San Francisco State, Beatty has seen interest from the economics, statistics, and English departments. San Francisco State has given all faculty members the opportunity to switch over to ALS, even for courses with small enrollments, according to Beatty. Their grassroots approach capitalizes on faculty enthusiasm for promoting the benefits of ALS. “These early adopters are like case studies for other faculty,” Beatty said. “We rely on these faculty to help tell their story to their colleagues.”

Cultural impacts of AB 798

Beyond the faculty professional development opportunities AB 798 offers, many ALS specialists hope that this legislation will bring about a shift in institutional culture. “We want faculty to think of the cost of instruction from the very beginning so that we can change the culture and attitude toward OER,” Beatty said.

Agee echoed Beatty by adding, “We want to make OER adoption more mainstream and not just a library thing.”

According to Nicole Bohn, Director, Disability Programs and Resource Center at San Francisco State, AB 798 is “helping faculty think in new ways…Anecdotally we’re finding people learning more about accessibility.”

Supporting and expanding future ALS efforts

Looking forward, Beatty hopes this legislation will have far-reaching impacts on student experiences beyond the class sections funded by the first round of grants. “We want to reach as many courses as we can,” Beatty said.

Bohn believes the CSU’s commitment to accessibility will continue to be at the forefront of designing educational content. “My biggest hope is that we continue to be ambassadors in designing accessible courses for everyone,” Bohn said.

For more information about AB 798, participating faculty and courses, and helpful e-textbook reviews, visit

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