SCOPE: A Cost Analysis of an Automated Serials Record System

Michael E. D. Koenig, Alexander C. Finlay, Joann G. Cushman, James M. Detmer


A computerized serials record and control system developed in 1968/69 for the Technical Information Department of Pfizer Inc. is described and subjected to a cost analysis. This cost analysis is conducted in the context of an investment decision, using the concept of net present value, a method not previously used in library literature. The cost analysis reveals a positive net present value and a system life break-even requirement of seven years at a 10% cost of capital. This demonstrates that such an automated system can be economically justifiable in a library of relatively modest size (approx. 1,100 serial and periodical titles). It may be that the break-even point in terms of collection size required for successful automation of serial records is smaller than has been assumed to date.

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