Collection Development Toolbox

State Of The Art Collection Development Tools
Kevin McCoy, Suffolk Community College

Reasons to use CD tools:  IPEDs reports.  Middle States reports.  Other accreditation reports.  Campus program reviews.  Newsletters, PR.  Annual reports.  Analyze collection use.  Analyze collection strengths.  Make informed purchasing decisions.  Build excellent collections!

What CD jobs do we want to do?  Inventory.  Analyze use.  Analyze strengths.  Compare collections to standards.  Buy new, appropriate materials.

What Tools do we have on hand?  Automated shelflists. Lost lists.  “Checked-out forever” lists.

  • Aleph:  Shelf list Item05 report.  What is SUPPOSED to be on the shelf?
  • Aleph:  Shelf Reading Item04 report.  What IS on the shelf?
  • Aleph: Loan report Custom21: Anything with a due date that’s X ago (2 years, 5 years, etc; The things that Never Come Home, or may be claimed returned/on the shelf in error)
  • (both require a lot of unskilled labor for checking data and skilled labor for cleanup!)

Other collection usage tools in Aleph:  In house use report, breakdown of use by call number, cumulative stats for all circulations, most popular circulating items.

Other collection analysis tools:  Aleph reports re: numbers in collection, Vendor tools, Comparisons to outside tools.

  • Not much in Aleph.  Custom 30 is a collection count per collection code, could run once per year to compare across years.
  • WorldCat Collection Analysis: Identify unique holdings, compare against WorldCat, compare against peer institutions, lots of reports and graphs.
  • Resources for College Libraries, the electronic successor to BCL.  Created by Choice, ACRL, and Bowker.  Qualitative, not quantitative.
  • Bowker’s Book Analysis System: Can create custom output from Aleph (barcodes of the collection), upload, and will provide a report on matches, non-matches, to RCL.  Easily navigable reports with reviewed recommendations for additions (based on non-matches). [but, as Jennifer notes, reduces uniqueness if you use only reviewed resources to build your collection — we all buy the same thing, that way.]
  • Books in Print: another good tool for anaylsis and discovery.

Kevin cautions us to use tools safely.  Professional judgement is absolutely vital to interpreting the data provided by the tools, or the data can lead you astray.  A collection that isn’t circulating may not be a bad collection; it may be victim to bad cataloging, or a course not being offered for a year or so, or… anything unique to your campus.  Stay aware of multiple factors.  But avoid paralysis by analysis — don’t lose yourself in data analysis and fail to act!

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