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IS 560: Development and Management of Collections


Develop a Collection


This assignment guides you through the collection development process by organizing your work into seven different activities. These activities will help you assess the organization you are working with, create development rationale, conduct community analysis, construct a policy statement, assess information agency variables, evaluate the collection, select items for the collection, and design a strategy for promoting the collection.

Since each student is working with a unique collection, some variables in the assignment may not exactly match the situation. Be sure to identify as many relevant variables as possible, and relate them to your project. The variables chosen for this assignment typically are relevant in most situations. However you may need to modify these specifications or you may find some variables are not applicable. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!


All parts of this assignment will be graded using the guidelines noted in the syllabus. Each part will be graded separately. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4 each are equal to 10% of the total grade; Part 3 and Part 5 each are equal to 15% of the total grade; Part 6 and Part 7 each are equal to 20% of the total grade.

Part 1: The Parent Organization (10% of total grade)

You will be building a collection for an organization, institution, or group that you feel comfortable working with. This first activity asks you to identify this agency and to assess it using several variables. In special cases you may be allowed to develop a collection for an individual, but you need to talk to me about it.

Key points: Any agency is suitable. Collections may include any format or type of material – intangible or tangible.

Address these questions:

1.1 Identify your agency. Characterize the parent organization of the agency and the people who are employed in it. (For example, a university is the parent organization of an academic library). What kind of organization is it? What are its members like?

1.2 Summarize the parent organization’s mission, goals, and objectives.

1.3 How does the parent organization measure success?

1.4 How successful is it? Please be specific.

1.5 How might an appropriate collection help the parent organization be more successful?

1.6 If you could develop one collection to help this parent organization to be more helpful, what would it be? Why?

Part 2: Development Rationale (10% of total grade)

2.1 Assess your development topic carefully. Is it too broad given the time available? Decide if you need to narrow the subject or format scope.

2.2 Define the collection you are developing by listing keywords that are associated with it. Which word(s) would you use in searching for information on your subject? Tag the most productive subject term. If you are working on a collection for a library also list those major class numbers associated with your collection and tag the most productive class number.

2.3 Discuss the relative importance of this collection. How much difference in the success of your organization or in the quality of life in the community served by the agency might result from a collection on this subject?

2.4 Discuss the interest members of the parent organization or members of the community might have in this collection. How much actual and potential demand exists? What events or sources are likely to stimulate interest in this collection? What is the likely life of this interest?

2.5 Identify, evaluate, and come to a conclusion on alternative collections for information on your subject. Where might people in your organization or the community served go for information IF your collection did not exist? To what degree do alternative sources minimize the need for a local collection?

2.6Identify, discuss, and come to a conclusion on the degree to which appropriate materials are available for your collection. Using appropriate resources, indicate the degree to which affordable, useful, and recent selectable items are available.

2.7 Identify and discuss WWW resources on your subject using your favorite web search engines and directories. Add a summary comment on the availability and utility of WWW resources in developing your collection. Do include some examples. [Do this section even if you are not going to include online resources in your collection. Note that WWW resources should be useful in locating and learning more about selections in other formats.]

2.8 Reviewing the variables mentioned above, does it seem reasonable to develop this collection?

Part 3: Community Analysis (15% of total grade)

3.1 Not all members of the organization or those served by it will be interested in your collection. Being specific, identify three segments of the community likely to be interested in your collection. Rank and label these segments as primary, secondary, and tertiary according to the intensity of use of materials as well as the number of actual and potential users. To do this you must estimate the number of likely users in each segment.

3.2 You should do the following for all segments. Identify at least one contact person (more is better) who is knowledgeable about both your subject and those people likely to be interested in it. Identify at least two (more is better) contact persons who represent users or potential users of the collection that you are developing.

3.3 Typically, questions will focus on: (1) likely future changes in the subject or topic likely to affect information (or recreation) seeking behavior, specifically collection use. (2) Number of likely users of the collection now and in the future. (3) Characteristics of users likely to influence collection use. (4) Degree to which community users are likely to use such a collection. (5) Needs of the user re: *kind of information or recreational material needed; * when material is needed [seasonality]; * orientation [text, images, etc.]; * material characteristics [older, foreign, etc]; * format or medium [audio, text, video, etc.]; *how they locate material [use friends, library, online, etc.] and which collections do they use now?

3.4 To what degree do present collections enhance or detract from users’ ability to accomplish necessary tasks?

3.5 On the basis of the interview, plus other evidence gathering, prepare a list of findings. What should the ideal collection on your subject include?

Part 4: The Policy Statement (10% of total grade)

Begin with a careful review of the priorities captured in Part 3. These priorities will now appear in a formal policy statement suitable for adoption and sharing with the public.

4.1 PURPOSE. Usually beginning with an infinitive, this section clearly and briefly indicates why the collection is being developed.

4.2 AUDIENCE. Clearly identify those who are most likely to use the collection and for what.

4.3 DEFINITION. Present a brief definition of your collection subject or scope using appropriate descriptors. Include major LC or DDC class numbers if your information agency is a library.

4.4 LANGUAGE. Identify the languages needed by information seekers and which are important for materials in your topic. For subjects such as art history or a craft, where materials often contain minimal text and maximum illustration, foreign language exclusion may be waived. Typically, most items would be selected only in English.

4.5 GEOGRAPHIC EMPHASIS. Clearly identify geographical priorities within your subject. Typically, the selector begins with the region where the community is located and then expands outward in concentric circles. For example, will the model railroading collection include model railroading in Spain or just in the U.S.?

4.6 COUNTRY OF ISSUANCE. In most communities, only materials issued in North America and Great Britain would be considered.

4.7 CHRONOLOGICAL EMPHASIS. Clearly indicate which time periods are of priority within your subject. For example, are you interested in model railroading in the 19th Century?

4.8 DATE OF ISSUE. Indicate if only new or new and retrospective items will be selected. Most communities are interested in newly issued items, but some will consider retrospective items as well.

4.9 TYPE AND FORMAT OF MATERIALS. Rank, in order of their importance to the collection, the formats and treatments that will be selected. Indicate the relative importance of text, images, audio, full motion video, and the like.

4.10 CRITERIA. List and briefly discuss subject specific criteria that are important or need to be considered in developing a collection on this particular subject. General criteria that apply to virtually all subjects or to a particular format do not need to appear here.

4.11 SUBJECTS AND COLLECTING LEVELS. The larger subject is divided into appropriate categories, topics or parts as indicated by your community analysis. Parts may be logically consistent and parallel or they may be mixed. Each part identified above is assigned a depth or priority level such as 3 or B. You may create your own coding scheme or use a standard one. The scheme may be alphabetic or numeric. Each value should indicate a level of priority or depth. All parts would not ordinarily have the same priority. Below the subject-priority table define each of the levels that you have used. Level definitions need to be specific in terms of number of items.

4.12 OTHER COLLECTIONS. Identify other major accessible collections or sources of information on your subject accessible to members of your agency or community. These are the collections you would refer users to after they have exhausted your collection. Briefly characterize these collections.

Part 5: Information agency variables (15% of total grade)

Each of the following variables should be identified as either facilitating or inhibiting.

5.1 Evaluate physical accessibility, and attractiveness of the place, i.e. the library if that is where your collection would be housed and then the location where your items will be housed, where the collection will be housed and used.

5.2 Evaluate the ease in identifying (intellectual access) what is held in your particular collection. In a library, you would discuss the quality and utility of the catalog.

5.3 Is available space an asset or liability for collection development? Will there be enough space to house your collection after it is developed?

5.4 Evaluate the ease in retrieving particular items (physical access) from your collection.

5.5 Is availability of information technology, including hardware and net access, an asset or liability for collection development in general and for your development in particular?

5.6 How much money is available for collection development and for hardware/software needed to provide access to the collection? For server collections, is hardware, software, or connectivity needed and at what cost? Typically, how much money would be allocated and/or spent to support your collection in a typical year? What is the likely future outlook for collection development funding?

5.7 Is there a policy that guides collection development? How would you characterize this policy? How might the policy affect your collection development?

5.8 Describe the procedures used to select and add items, including links to web resources. Who is involved in the selection process? Which selection criteria carry the most weight? How are items selected? How might these procedures affect your particular development?

5.9 Characterize the selection resources (tools) available to those who develop collections. How might these affect collection development in your particular development?

5.10 To what degree is agency management (and information professionals if appropriate) involved in and enthusiastic about collection development? About your collection development?

5.11 Which variables seem most likely to inhibit your collection development? How would you overcome these?

5.12 Which variables seem most likely to facilitate your collection development?

5.13 Write a thoughtful, integrative summary that comes to a conclusion in regard to the relative weight of the inhibiting and facilitating variables. Should you continue to develop this collection?

Part 6: Collection evaluation (20% of total grade)

The collection evaluation tells the selector the degree to which the existing collection (or your prosed collection) is adequate or meets the needs and wants previously identified. A variety of measures and approaches are used. The greater the variety of evaluative approaches used, the more likely that results will be valid and reliable. Each section below should close with an appropriate conclusion or "so what."

6.1 Delimit the existing collection. Count the number of items available on your topic. If dealing with tangible items, transform these absolute numbers into “size per” numbers using the number of potential users from your community analysis. Discuss the meaning of your number of items per likely user ratio.

6.2 Characterize the existing collection: (1) emphasis--which aspects of your topic receive the most emphasis? (2) degree of difficulty--how easy or difficult is the intellectual content for the likely audience? (3) special features--how many items contain helpful special features? (4) currency--how many items were issued within the last year? The last five years? (5) format--how many items are available in various formats? Any appropriate formats missing? Where the collection is small, the evaluator should examine the collection on an item by item basis considering the quality and utility of each item and how it relates to current wants/needs.

6.3 Weeds fall into three categories. The first includes items that are not used. Before proceeding, you need to identify an appropriate time period to measure collection use. Then, use transaction records, observation or whatever to identify those items not used. Characterize those items least used. If you cannot do this, say why and move on. What common traits do they share? To what degree is the collection being used? [You may skip this one if developing a collection where you lack access to this information.].

6.4 Before discarding items that appear to be useful but which have not been used, physical and intellectual access should be checked to see if non-use is a function of access. In some cases, where useful, usable items are not being used, the selector should promote these items and make them more visible before considering discard. Identify items which should be promoted and those which should be discarded and indicate why.

6.5 It is important to know which items in the collection are most popular so that you can select similar works in the future. Use the same methods as above to identify the most popular items in your collection. What would you look for in adding items to the collection that will be popular? [You may skip this one if developing a collection where you lack access to this information.]

6.6 Those items which are not useful because of level of treatment, language, lack of accuracy, and obsolescence should be identified. Items which are no longer useful should be weeded even if they are being used. In some cases, where a variety of viewpoints need to be represented in the collection, one may retain items which are inaccurate and/or out of date. Most information professionals will use inclusion in a standard best list as an indication of quality, utility, and accuracy. In some fields where currency is important, and where information cumulates, copyright date, publication date, or date added to the server may be a good proxy for accuracy. To what degree is the existing collection useful? Provide examples of not useful items and why. Identify particular items for discard as appropriate.

6.7 The last of the major weeding categories consists of those items which are not usable because of physical condition. This would include broken links, digital files that do not download properly or are corrupt as well as books or periodicals that are worn or torn. Examine tangible items for wear and damage. Items which are not usable or need attention now so that they will be usable in the future should be divided into these categories: (1) those that should be fixed or repaired and (2) those that should be discarded. Identify and briefly discuss those items which are no longer usable.

6.8 Has weeding created a gap in your collection? How should this gap be filled?

6.9 Identify or create one or more selective or comprehensive "best list" for your collection. Remove from the list those items that are clearly irrelevant to local needs and wants. Match the list against local holdings and produce a holdings percentage. Compare items held with those available for use to produce an availability percentage. Multiply the holdings percentage by the availability percentage to arrive at a performance rating. How does the existing collection perform? What does the performance ratio or percentage tell you?

6.10 The last and most important evaluation is to match the specific list of wants and needs generated from the community analysis with the existing collection to identify strengths and gaps. From the perspective of the community wants and needs, discuss the gaps and strengths of the existing collection.

6.11 In a brief summary, describe and comment on the state of the collection.

Part 7: Selection and Promotion (20% of total grade)

7.1 Using the targets [your levels] established in your policy, adequacy conclusions from the evaluation, and the average price of material from 2.6, create a budget for your collect ion development. How much will it cost to fill the gap between what the community wants and needs and what is presently available? Compare the likely funding figure for your subject with the budget immediately above. To what degree will you be able to fill the gap? Which targets will you be able to meet?

7.2 Where can you find experts on your subject or topic? Identify authoritative sources of information on the best material on your topic. How will you keep up with the best new material for your collection?

7.3 Prepare a list of sources (General and subject bibliographies, search engines, directories, and the like) likely to yield appropriate selectables. Examine each source in turn and identify materials which seem useful. How many hits did you get from each source? List and discuss in some detail those sources which were most useful in providing selectables for your subject. A variety of sources is expected.

7.4 Reviews are not required for selection, but many institutions prefer them. Make a reasonable attempt to locate evaluative reviews for each hard copy selection. Best lists (such as best sites or award winning sites) may also be used to identify items likely to be better . Which reviewing sources and best lists were most useful for what and why?

7.5 Examine selectables [at least] in local information agencies, libraries, stores [sometimes on-line stores like Amazon.com can provide useful supplementary information] or other sites. Was this useful and why?

7.6 If developing a book or periodical collection, visit at least two appropriate library OPACs (UTK does not count) for material on your subject. You might begin with Library Catalogues on the World Wide Web, HYTELNET on the WorldWide Web or Library Servers via WWW.You might also use WorldCat for this purpose. Was this a useful step and why?

7.7 In those cases where you have access to a knowledgeable and objective specialist [which could include yourself], add these recommendations to your selection list.

7.8 Prepare a list of at least 25 items you propose to add to the collection. Provide a persuasive rationale statement for each item on your list. There should be no doubt why this item is being added to the collection, what is unique about it, and what need/want it will meet. Add phrases about quality and utility [from review sources if these are available or from your own evaluation]. This is the final selection list. Your rationale statement should include a complete standard citation.

7.9 In the filtering process, you may identify items where more information is needed, as with a forthcoming item or a www site under construction or where physical examination is needed, as with a preview of an expensive video or share ware. Such items should be included in the buying list under a wait and see heading.

7.10 Provide a persuasive close which summarizes (1) what you have done with the collection and (2) what difference it will make. Relate development specifically to the wants and needs identified in the community analysis.

7.11 Discuss specific steps which might be taken to promote this new or revitalized collection and stimulate collection use.

7.12 Discuss specific steps which might be taken to announce and promote information sources not held locally but available to local information seekers such as websites.

Collection Development Journals

Collection Building (available online)

Against the Grain (Z689.5.U6 A32)

The Serials Librarian (Z692.S5 S48)

Collection Management (Z703.6 .D4)

Library Resources and Technical Services (Z671 .L7154 and also available online)

Library Collections, Acquisitions and Technical Services (formerly Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory) (Z689 .L515)

Collection Development Websites



According to the site’s editorial policy, “AcqWeb is a World Wide Web site providing links to information and resources of interest to librarians with acquisitions or collection development responsibilities. The scope is international.”



According to the site, “BookWire is THE MOST comprehensive online portal into the book industry. Our mission is to provide librarians, publishers, booksellers, authors, and general book enthusiasts with the resources they need. Our users benefit from access to various tools and services.”

The Cyberlibrarians’ Rest Stop: Developing Virtual Collections


According to the site, “Identifying, Evaluating and Collecting Quality Resources”

Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Collections Program


According to the website, “The ARL Collections Program serves the objective of supporting member libraries' efforts to develop and maintain research collections, both individually and in the aggregate.” This site has links to ARL and other resources of interest to academic library collection development.

Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Website


ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association. According to the website, the organization “is responsible for the following activities: acquisition, identification, cataloging, classification, and preservation of library materials; the development and coordination of the country's library resources; and those areas of selection and evaluation involved in the acquisition of library materials and pertinent to the development of library resources.” UK’s Dean of Libraries, Carol Pitts Diedrichs, is the president of ALCTS.

Library of Congress – Collection Development and the Internet


According to the website, “The intent of this handbook is to provide practical guidance in using the Internet to extend the techniques we have traditionally used in the area of collection development.”

Collection Development Training for Arizona Public Libraries


This is an excellent overview of collection development for public libraries sponsored by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

Fall 2014

Contact Bharat Mehra

454 Communications Building, 1345 Circle Park Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996-0341

Email: bmehra@utk.edu

Web Developer: Lisette Hernández
Email: lhernan2@utk.edu