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While most information is cheap and plentiful these days, academia is finding that the ``good stuff'' is being priced out of reach. UND's library once again is asking academic departments to trim the number of scholarly journals they receive. Just three years ago, Chester Fritz library managers asked departments to cut the number of journals by a third. This spring, the library is asking for another cut of nearly 25 percent. Journals report on the latest research and debate in every conceivable academic discipline. Because each one addresses a specialized audience, their circulations are low and costs are high. Some journal subscriptions cost thousands of dollars a year. The current round of cuts has sparked a protest among students on campus. More than 300 students have signed petitions expressing concern about the cuts and asking university officials to find more money for journals. Mike Franklin, an undergraduate psychology major, was a leader of the petition drive. ``We use these periodicals constantly,'' he said. ``Tuition and costs are going up and up,'' but the school is going downhill.

Library director Frank D'Andraia said the library's budget has remained constant, but the cost of materials has been increasing. As costs rise but the budget remains static, he said, the library has had no choice but to cut the number of books and journals it purchases.

The library and selected departments are beginning an experiment next year designed to cushion the loss of more journals. For those departments, the university will negotiate special arrangements to make published articles available for a fee. In the chemistry department, graduate students and faculty members would have direct access to the special arrangement, department chairman Richard Baltisberger said. Undergraduates would have to identify a specific article and then ask a faculty member to order it.

Grand Forks Herald, April 30, 1996