Thursday, April 12, 2018

Collection Development and Management for 21st Century Library Collections: an Introduction by Vicki L. Gregory

Gregory, V. L. (2011). Collection development and management for 21st century library collections: An introduction. New York: Neal-Schuman.

            I chose to read Collection development and management for 21st century library collections: an introduction by Vicki L. Gregory in addition to the course textbook. It is a very readable, well-written, and thorough introduction to the subject. Although published seven years ago, it is still up-to-date on topics of both classic and recent interest. A selection of some chapters of interest:
Chapter 1: The impact of new technologies on collection development and management.

            The world wide web has made information so accessible that the demand has shifted from the traditional library core collection of a little bit about everything to the demand for everything, including very specialized resources. Gregory refers to The Long Tail by Chris Anderson (2006) to describe the many specialized titles that were more hidden before the internet and social media made everything available to anyone at any time. In this new age of “every possible resource must be available,” it is up to the librarian to act as a filter to find the best resources.
Chapter 7: Assessment and evaluation of the collection, including deselection (weeding).

            Gregory enumerates several ways of assessing a collection, including circulation statistics for any library (including database and eresource hits) and citation analysis of student and faculty papers to determine if there was a need to go to outside sources or if everything needed was found at the college or university library or website. She goes on to thoroughly discuss why weeding is so important, several tools and guidelines like CREW (continuous review, evaluation, and weeding) and MUSTIE (misleading, ugly, superceded, trivial, irrelevant, elsewhere). The sometimes outraged public reaction to weeding can be averted by constantly performing it rather than weeding a large portion of the collection all at once.
Chapter 10: Professional ethics and intellectual freedom.
            All library professionals are bound by personal and professional ethical standards. ALCTS (Association for Collections and Technical Services), a subgroup of ALA, has composed special guidelines in addition to the ALA general guidelines. Collection development and acquisitions librarians have unique issues because of their close contact with vendors and the spending of thousands or millions of dollars of institutional funds. The acceptance of gifts is one such issue, even of a meal. Gifts should never prejudice a decision towards or away from a vendor. With electronic media, patron privacy and confidentiality have become prime issues, as well. Gregory refers to ALA’s Library Bill of Rights to illustrate how to maintain intellectual freedom and refrain from censorship, even the self-censorship of not purchasing controversial materials in the first place.
Chapter 11: Preservation.
            Gregory gives a synopsis of physical preservation in libraries. Of interest is the special challenge of electronic resource preservation. One of the stumbling blocks of electronic formats, including hardware and software, is the swift pace of technological advancement that renders older formats redundant and sometimes unusable. For example, does anyone still have 8-track tape players available? Even carefully digitized or born-digital collections have to be migrated to newer platforms and file forms as technology progresses.

Chapter 12: The future of collection development and management.
            The future involves the ever-expanding role of electronic resources, of course, but also of the increasing local contribution of information, such as digital repositories of local research. Information literacy is of greater importance now than ever with the many competing unauthorized (and downright incorrect) resources available on the web. The author opines that the physical book will never completely vanish. I certainly hope so. Although I love the ease and speed of acquiring and using eaudiobooks, ebooks, and other online resources, I also appreciate the ease of reading, rereading, note taking, and referring back inherent in the physical paper form.

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