Students' fears over cut in online resources calmed


STUDENTS have been assured by the James Joyce Library that there will be no further cuts made to any major online resources, despite initial concerns that access to many resources would be restricted. The reassurance comes after the subscription for one online resource, “The Oxford Scholarship Online”, was discontinued after being available to students for less than a year.

Deputy Librarian of the James Joyce Library, Carmel O’Sullivan, emphasised that the university would not be making any arbitrary decisions with online resources and will be reviewing with every school what resources are needed. “[What] we will be doing is looking at each school’s journal subscriptions and looking to see if there possible cancellations there,” said Ms O’Sullivan. “We won’t be making any decision on cancellations until that consultation has taken place in the first instance.”

Ms O’Sullivan stated that her main priority was to maintain library opening hours but acknowledged that while savings would have to be made to continue such services, every aspect of spending would be reviewed.

“Since online resources are very expensive, every year when it comes to renewing the subscription, we look at the usage and what we do is if we think that the usage is low, we promote it,” explained Ms O’Sullivan. “[But] if the usage is still very low then it’s common sense that you don’t spend money on it –that’s our policy.”

Head of the School of Philosophy, Dr Brian O’Connor, said that “The Oxford Scholarship Online” had been used on a trial basis since January before its subscription was discontinued. “I guess with the passage of time, it might have become a stock resource like JSTOR,” said Dr O’Connor. “But it was pretty new and… because it hadn’t been around for a long time, it would have been the first thing to go.”

Dr O’Connor stated that he wasn’t aware of any central online resources at risk of being cut, saying “of course, every university wants to have all the resources that are possible… [but] none of the central resources, that I know of, have been threatened.” Students’ Union (SU) Education Officer, Paul Lynam, emphasised that the university is prioritising their resource due to the lack of funding available to them but made it clear that no cuts should be made.

“From what I’m aware, online resources costs are significantly less than the physical costs,” commented Mr Lynam. “There’s a distinct move there from the old school to online but it should be made quite clear, online should be safe enough.”