Direct Ordering by Subject Librarians in a Vendor System: A Case Study

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research






Acquisitions, Workflow, Ordering, Selection, Collection Development, Vendor


Acquiring monographs – print and electronic – is a core function of an academic library. Adopting innovative methods to select and order monographs is a valuable means of demonstrating efficiency and organizational performance while focusing on timely delivery of materials to the patron community. The University of Ottawa has opted to transform the ordering process for firm orders with its principal vendor, YBP, in order to take advantage of new workflow capabilities offered by the vendor. This involved a reassessment of the division of roles between the Acquisitions service and the collection development librarians. It also involved change management practices and a refocusing on key tactical goals such as redefining workflows with a user-centered approach, exploiting technology to make our processes as streamlined and effective as possible, and working with the vendor for mutual advantage. Selectors were asked to place their orders in an Export Cart rather than a Select Cart, with no verification being undertaken by the Acquisitions staff before the orders were transmitted to the vendor. The direct ordering method allowed us to order monographs more quickly and ensure that no backlogs accumulate for orders placed with this vendor. Significant efficiencies were gained in the Acquisitions unit, allowing staff to focus on orders of greater complexity, namely electronic resources. Selectors needed to learn the new process and adjust their work routines accordingly. This paper is a case study of the rationale, implementation, and outcomes of our initiative.