Electronic Resources and Collection Development Article

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Electronic Resources and Collection Development Article

  1. 1. Running Head: Electronic Resources and Collection Development Electronic Resources and Collection Development Stephenie Heinz LI 855 Emporia State University
  2. 2. Electronic Resources and Collection Development Abstract Collection development policies have gone through significant transitions throughout the yearsand transformed from strictly ordering the classic library collection to the concept of specializing acollection to meet the needs of the patrons. This paper discusses the challenges that library’s collectiondevelopment personnel face with the introduction and integration of electronic resources into thelibrary catalog. Issues stemming from high cost, budget cuts, access vs. ownership, and licensing issuesall bring a library’s collection development policy under tough scrutiny. 2
  3. 3. Electronic Resources and Collection Development In the last twenty years, much has changed for the collection development librarians across theglobe. Technological advances and an increased demand for electronic resources have greatly changedthe way that collection development personnel order, maintain and preserve library collections. Thechallenges faced by collection development librarians to maintain a balance between print andelectronic resources is of great importance in the future of the field. In Electronic Resources andAcademic Libraries, 1980-2000: A Historical Perspective, Ruth Miller overviews the topic of collectionmanagement during the aforementioned twenty years of great transformation for not only the librarycommunity but also the rest of the world. She writes of the transition towards electronic resources,“from attempting to ‘balance’ funds between serials and monographs, the need has expanded to‘balancing’ paper resources with electronic resources” (Miller, 2000). The author includes the rise of theInternet, and subsequently electronic resources such as online public access catalogs and scholarlyjournals as being essential to the foundations of our modern library system. Miller discusses variouschallenges of introducing electronic resources to the library community including cost, access versusownership of content, organizational restructuring, preservation. This paper will discuss some of theseideas and challenges about collection development decisions in the electronic era, and will also lookahead to envision the future of libraries with the added content of electronic resources that are here tostay. The globalization and mass culture of our time has made the public so much more concernedwith quickly gaining access to the information they need that it becomes necessary for librarians tochoose their content wisely in order to remain relevant as information providers. Much of the debate iswhether to acquire print resources or electronic resources. Those in our profession constantly deal withbudget cuts and lack of funding so as to have to decide between the acquisition of one type of resourceat the expense of the other. Both print and electronic resources have advantages and disadvantagesthat librarians must consider before using limited funds to purchase either type. 3
  4. 4. Electronic Resources and Collection Development Other aspects of collection development with regards to electronic resources are the modelsand selection policies that influence the decision making process for libraries. Librarians actively engagein the making of a collection policy for their libraries and selection of materials, including electronicresources, must remain within the policy guidelines. Cynthia Keller’s Collection Development: Electronicor Print Subscription Resources article is an informative source for librarians when considering electronicresources for their collection. Keller writes of the importance in clarifying the criteria for acquisitions,and matching the resources to the needs of the community. She also considers a number of factors tobe important in the budget dilemma between print and electronic resources including but not limitedto: value, quality, patron needs, relevance, depth and coverage, initial and ongoing costs, and physicalspace requirements (Keller, 2006). She argues that by following a clear acquisitions policy thatestablishes a controlled method of selection, and by also evaluating the advantages and disadvantagesof both print and electronic resource types, librarians can select a collection that will satisfy both theneeds of their community and of their budget. Sam Brooks presents another strategy for integratingelectronic resources into a library’s collection in Integration of Information Resources and CollectionDevelopment Strategy. He writes “the process of selecting quality, appropriate materials demandsthorough investigation and attention to detail” and “exercising caution in choosing which materials toinclude in each database is a critical element in the process of developing proper information resources(Brooks, 2001). Bradley Schaffner also recommends using this cautious approach when selecting librarymaterials for purchase with limited funds. In Electronic Resources: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing he arguesthat, “focusing all collection development funds on electronic resources will privilege some disciplines ina library’s collections at the expense of others that do not extensively use digitization as a scholarlycommunication format” (Schaffner, 2001). The question of providing a balanced collection using bothprint and electronic resources is one that collection development librarians must continue to consider inthe future. 4
  5. 5. Electronic Resources and Collection Development The publication of printed books has been made into a cost-effective industry in recent years.Arguments can be made for the continuation of using printed resources because paper is a renewablesource and the rate of replacement of the trees is almost double the rate at which they are used(Connell 2010). Also the cost per use of print resources is a cheaper alternative to electronic resourceswith their reliance on computers and the electricity required for use. Students and teachers who largelyprint out electronic articles onto paper are thus negating the effects of the electronic resource. Booksare often considered more feasible for long-term discussion purposes and there will always be thosewho prefer reading the pages of a book in hand to staring at a computer screen for hours on end. Also,the content of books may last longer than that of electronic resources because technology and itsformats evolve so quickly that libraries may not be able to continuously purchase new formats withlimited funds. The obvious advantages of electronic resources such as instant and widespread access,improved searchability and reference resources prove that they are a viable and adaptable addition tothe modern library. Another advantage is that as print material becomes outdated, electronic resourcescan be updated instantly. Electronic resources are becoming so popular and easy to use, that it ispossible to believe that they will replace print resources in the future. However, Doug Johnson, in Print& Electronic Library Resources: a Match Made in Heaven, strives to prove that instead of usingelectronic resources to replace print or vice versa, these resources can actually complement each other.He writes “experienced teacher-librarians know that it takes newer technologies and print together tocreate meaningful learning experiences” and predicts that “Google will not replace the knowledgeableteacher-librarian.” (Johnson 2002). Johnson’s example in a school library proves that there is a need tocombine print resources with electronic in order to gain the best possible learning experiences forpatrons. 5
  6. 6. Electronic Resources and Collection Development Collection development personnel must consider all of these aspects of both print andelectronic resources to best determine which will be of most use to their patrons. Because electronicresources and providing access to them is relatively expensive when compared to print resources, it isnot yet the case that libraries can rely solely on e-resources as a replacement for print materials. Indeedmany patrons still prefer the written word and so a compromise between the costs and benefits of thetwo resources is an important aspect to consider. Another challenge for collection development librarians is the rising cost of reference materialswhether print or electronic. Miller discusses the serials crises of the last two decades as being a catalystfor the changes occurring in libraries across the United States (Miller, 2000). The costs of resourcesincreasing faster than the funding given for purchasing new materials has been the case for countlessyears in the library community and library consortia has become one way in which libraries combat therising costs and licensing issues of serials and databases in both print and electronic resources. Electronic information also presents other challenges for library personnel such as licensing, andownership debates. In the past, the concept of first sale gave the library rights to the material and tolend it to patrons under their own terms. Publishers of electronic materials, on the other hand, canrestrict library and patron access more than ever by limiting access in their licensing agreements. InImpact of Electronic Resources on Collection Development, the Roles of Librarians and Library Consortia,Glenda Thornton discusses the growth of licensing issues with electronic resource access and librarydefense mechanisms. She writes, ““licensing introduced a fundamental change in the relationshipbetween the library and some of the information being made available to the public” (Thornton, 2000).Shona Koehn’s article entitled The Acquisition and Management of Electronic Resources: Can Use JustifyCost?, also illustrates the problem of access versus ownership for libraries. She writes “instead ofpurchasing serials that are kept on shelves and that belong to the library, institutions are now paying 6
  7. 7. Electronic Resources and Collection Developmentsubscriptions or licensing fees to access online content that continues to be owned by a third party”(Koehn, 2010). Such packaged deal subscriptions greatly hinder a library’s ability to purchase aspecialized collection based on the needs of their communities. Koehn also argues that adjustments inthe way collection developers make purchasing decisions need to move in this direction of meeting theneeds of the patrons they serve rather than purchasing materials that have been classically part of thelibrary’s base collection. The influence of environmentalism and the “Go green” movements is not lost on the librarycommunity. There is a strong push to develop library collections that are more sustainable as well asenvironmentally friendly. Virginia Connell writes about the sustainability of collection developmentpolicies in libraries in her article entitled Greening the Library: Collection Development Decisions. Shediscusses the three most important factors to be considered during the selection process as, “selectionof materials whose content informs and assess green practices, de-selection processes that make themost of the green mandate to reuse and recycle materials, and selection of material format, specificallyprint or electronic, that honors the green dictum to reduce the carbon footprint and institution makes”(Connell, 2010). The future of the library includes these concepts of the carbon footprint, the reuse andrecycling of library materials and the mindset that sustainable practices must be put into place in alllibraries to ensure that continuance of the collections. One example of how libraries can update theirweeding policy is by incorporating recycling into their de-selection process. In many libraries, it is theoccurrence that the books that are unable to be sold at book sales, are disposed of into trash bins ratherthan donation to worthy causes and not even the library staff are allowed to give them good homes.Also, because electronic resources require a variety of computers, servers, and other components madeof plastic, the environmental impact of these non-recyclable resources also must be studied whendetermining collection development strategies for electronic resources. The consideration of what to do 7
  8. 8. Electronic Resources and Collection Developmentwith weeded books and electronics while keeping in mind the external environment is a crucial aspect ofthe future of collection development practices. Another interesting idea for collection development of electronic resources is the idea of patrondriven acquisition services. The concept is not a new one, but is revamped when combined withelectronic resource purchasing. In the article, Patron-Driven Ebook Acquisition, William Breitbach andJoy Lambert discuss a case study at the California State University in which the library experiments withthe idea of patron driven selection. The goals of the experiment were to increase patron access toebooks, and to allow libraries to access only content needed for study (Breitbach, 2011). The results ofthe trial illustrated that the cost per use of these short term book loans was relatively low compared tothe cost per use of print and other electronic database and journal subscriptions. Also this methodensures that the content purchased is valuable and will be of use to the patrons. The concept ofallowing access to e-resources at the time of need might be a viable solution to the high cost associatedwith purchasing entire databases, serials and journal subscriptions that are rarely, if ever, used as well ashigh interlibrary loan expenses. The influence of electronic resources on the library development system will continue to growas the public becomes increasingly dependent on mobility in technology. These advancements havealways been a way for librarians to show their flexibility, ingenuity and creativity in dealing withchallenges that are presented. However fond we are of books, the 21st century scholars of library andinformation management fields illustrate that librarians can invent creative solutions for theimplantation and integration of electronic resources into their collections. 8
  9. 9. Electronic Resources and Collection Development ReferencesBreitbach, W., & Lambert, J. (2011). Patron-driven ebook acquisition. Computers in Libraries, 31(6), 17- 20. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text databaseBrooks, S. (2001). Integration of information resources and collection development strategy. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 27(4), 316-19. doi: 10.1016/S0099-1333(01)00218-XConnell, V. (2010). Greening the library: collection development decisions. Endnotes, 1(1), p. H1-H15. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text databaseJohnson, D. (2002). Print & electronic library resources—a match made in heaven. School Libraries in Canada, 21(4), 5-6. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text databaseKeller, C. (2006). Collection development: electronic or print subscription resources?. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 22(9), 56-9. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text databaseKoehn, S., & Hawamdeh, S. (2010). The acquisition and management of electronic resources: can use justify cost?. The Library Quarterly, 80(2), 161-74. doi: 10.1086/651006Miller, R. (2000). Electronic resources and academic libraries, 1980-2000: a historical perspective. Library Trends, 48(4), 645-70. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text databaseSchaffner, B. (2001). Electronic resources: a wolf in sheeps clothing?. College & Research Libraries, 62(3), 239-49. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text databaseThornton, G. (2000). Impact of electronic resources on collection development, the roles of librarians, and library consortia. Library Trends, 48(4), 842-56. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database 9

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