How does the Library acquire databases, books and journals

Acquisitions budget

The Library acquisitions budget consists of assignments from the Ministry of Education and Research and the University of Tartu. 
The Library divides the sum for purchasing:

  • databases, 
  • books and research journals for the faculties,
  • Estonian publications
  • reference materials, dictionaries, etc. 

The sums allotted for the faculties reflect the share of the faculty's budget within the university budget. This principle has been approved by the university Budget Committee. Subject librarians tell the faculties the exact sums which the faculties can use in the current year for purchasing foreign books, journals and other materials necessary for teaching and research.

The materials purchased on the faculty's request are entered into the e-catalogue ESTER and made accessible in the university main library; they can also be deposited to subject libraries at the faculties, see Depositing of books to subject libraries. All Estonian publications are purchased by using special sum allocated for this purpose.

It is more practical for the faculties to use their own budget to buy handbooks, manuals and other similar materials that are used in the faculty premises. There is no need to enter them into the e-catalogue. 

Subject librarians monitor the using of the sums allocated for their faculties and are responsible for observing the budget limits.

It is reasonable to buy monographs and other materials on narrow research subjects by using grant budgets. These materials have to be entered into the e-catalogue (Rector's order of 28.11.2005, no 32 about the organisation of the UT library network).

Purchasing access to databases and e-journal packages

Access to databases and publishers' e-journal packages is bought by using finances from the ELNET Consortium budget, as well as from the library budget. It is reasonable to buy such access centrally via the library.

If you wish to have a new database purchased for the library, first, inform the subject librarian of your faculty. Before purchasing, the database is usually open for a trial period. Subject librarians inform their faculties about the new database trials. The user statistics and feedback during the trial period are among important factors affecting the purchase decision. The purchase process may take quite a long time (price negotiations, procedures of procurement, etc.).

Library acquisitions budget has a separate section for purchasing databases and e-journal packages.

Subscribing for journals

Requests for journal subscriptions can generally be submitted once a year, usually by 15 September. The subscription period is from 1 January to 31 December. As a rule, publishers accept only yearly subscriptions for both the printed and e-versions. When requesting a subscription, it is important to note whether you need a printed or e-version. The price of research journals increases by 8-9% a year; journal subscriptions form a long-time burden on the faculty's acquisitions budget, therefore, the need for journals should be seriously considered. In some cases it would be more reasonable to use the services of Interlibrary Loans (ILL).

When subscribing for journals, the library has to pay the price 'for institutions', the price of e-journals usually depends on the number of university staff members (FTE) or the faculty members.

Journals published by several large publishers are purchased in the form of 'packages' (e.g. Springer, Cambridge UP, Oxford UP, Wiley, Sage, etc.) Constant changes in the publishing market cause constant changes in the list of accessible e-journals, as well as in the terms and accessibility of e-journal archives. The list of e-journals open for the University of Tartu is here. 

Requesting of books

To request the purchase of a book for the library, you need to send information to the subject librarian of your faculty. The request has to include the author, title, year of publishing, the publisher and ISBN.

It may take up to two months for the requested books to arrive at the library. Estonian textbooks can be purchased by the ratio of 1 book for 7 students; the ratio for foreign textbooks is 1 book for 20 students. Foreign textbooks are paid for from the faculty acquisitions budget, so it is up to the faculty to decide how large a share of it will be used for textbooks.

Library is using both Estonian and foreign vendors to find the best prices for books. Prices are asked from several vendors. Long-time cooperation with vendors ensure that the library is given discount on the prices. Buying a larger number of copies (usually starting from 10) also reduces the price.

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