Sunday, January 20, 2013

Collection Development: Dealing With the Two 500-Pound Gorillas

In a recent Green Bag article, academic law librarians Julian Aiken, Femi Cadmus and Fred Shapiro discuss the pressures many of us feel when it comes to collection development. They discuss the experiences at their institutions, namely the Cornell and Yale law libraries:
"While  law  libraries are undergoing  transformative changes  in many  different  areas,  the  area  in which  the changes are probably most transformative  is  in collections. The  two 500-pound gorillas in  collection development are tighter  budgets  and  the  transition from print  to digital  formats. These gorillas are not  just both big, they  also work  in  tandem  to  clobber  traditional  collection  ideas. The  challenge  libraries  face  is  to  serve  the  increasingly  ambitious research needs of  faculty and  students  in  the  face of  flat or  some-times  decreasing  budgets  and  rapid  changes in publishing,  information  formats,  and  patrons’ use of research materials (...)"

"One major way of maintaining a stellar and unique collection  is to slash  subscriptions  to print  serials.  Serials  are for the most part very well accepted by patrons in online versions and they are often wickedly  expensive,  particularly  from  English-language  jurisdictions. Serials are  labor-intensive  to boot, requiring checking-in and other  processing  and,  in  the  case  of  looseleafs,  filing.  In  other words,  print  serials  are  perfect  candidates  for  cancellations,  especially  since  in most cases, even when print  titles are cancelled, patrons  still  have  electronic  access  to  the  same  titles.  Libraries  also have to be willing to bite the bullet and rely on interlibrary loan for some categories of expensive, infrequently-used publications."
The article also addresses other trends related to collection development, such as patron-initiated acquisitions, scan-on-demand services, collaborative collections with  other  libraries, digitization of  library materials, institutional repositories, etc.

[Source: Law Librarian Blog]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:19 pm


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