Document Type


Publication Date


Conference Name

Charleston Library Conference: Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition

Conference City

Charleston, SC

Conference Dates

November 4-7, 2015


The University of Colorado Boulder participated in one of the first patron-driven acquisition (PDA) pilots in the late 1990s. During the pilot, CU-Boulder triggered a substantial number of books about bananas as the result of an undergraduate research assignment. The pilot was largely considered a failure because of the rapid rate at which funds were expended and because it resulted in the selection of materials that were deemed inappropriate for the collection. However, it also demonstrated user demand for e-books and illustrated the librarians’ role in the selection of materials in academic libraries.

In 2010, CU Boulder revisited patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) and launched a consortia pilot for the CU system. Unlike the initial pilot, the current PDA model utilizes custom, subject-based profiles to identify content within the scope of our collection development policies. While this mediated version of PDA has increased our libraries’ comfort level, it is unclear if PDA is working for all subjects or different types of libraries.

This presentation explored how PDA has impacted collection building at each library in the CU System. Which subjects are loading the most records and triggering the most purchases; which library is triggering those purchases; and how does a library analyze the impact of a PDA e-book program on the print book collection? Are we building collections that support the teaching and research needs of our campuses given existing resources? If we aren’t purchasing banana books, what do we have instead?