Adapting ACRL Transfer Criteria to Facilitate Collection Analysis of Rare or Unusual Content
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  • Welcome to my talk about EMU’s adaption of the ACRL Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections which enabled us to begin a systematic review of rare/unusal content held by the library.This talk will briefly discuss the transfer document, our implementation and results, and the future direction of the project.
  • Guidelines on the Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special CollectionsThird edition Approved by the ACRL Board of Directors, July 1, 2008 . These guidelines provide an overview of the considerations regarding selection criteria and recommend procedures for an effective transfer policy. Some libraries provide environmentally sound and secure storage of rare materials in a location other than special collections, a location that provides an intermediate level of supervised access. While this transfer option is not addressed in these guidelines, it does require policy decisions similar to those considered here.
  • I collect early field guides as a hobby and discovered that EMU had a fair number of 19th century guides in the ARC. (Onsite Storage).This peaked my interest in learning more about the depth of EMU’s earlier holdings and systems created a list of the earliest imprints through 1939. This yielded 40,000 titles. Upon sorting the list by date, I discovered the first 200 entries had no imprints to speak of. At that point I began working with our new cataloger Michael Barnes to figure out what these titles were. NEXT SLIDE:
  • It was his assessment that these were problems stemming from the retrocon process and that he could work on cleaning them up. This proved valuable in helping to accurately record the bibliographic info rmation as well as become aware of the scope of the project.The cataloging issues were greatly varied: Wrong formats: microfilm was listed as being in the arc; items listed as originals were in fact reprints; incorrect dates; wrong editions, etc.After completing the 200 titles we both decided that it would make sense to really systematize this process and we developed a position description for a School of Information Student to develop the project. We only had one taker, but Maureen was perfect. She was working on her degree in Archives management and wanted practical experience working with early materials. She launched into a literature search which yielded very little, but she did discover the ACRL Guidelines for Transferring rare/unusual content. With books in hand and about 3 weeks later, she adapted and continually revised the criteria to best meet the needs of EMU and this project.Next slide:
  • Guidelines on the Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections (3rd Edition)Settled on this 2008 document as roadmap to guide us through the process. It could easily take the entire time slot to go over the parameters of the document, however in the interest of time I’ve summarized the document’s key points:promulgate to the public the library's definition of and policy toward rare and special collections [Note 1], justify the measures required to protect rare materials, and describe how implementing these measures will enhance the institution's ability to carry out its mission; establish firm lines of authority to facilitate an effective and expeditious program; list and document the criteria for the selection of items for transfer, which may be influenced by the nature and strengths of the library's general and special collections; set forth clear procedures to implement the transfer process. These should include: selection and approval of transfers, inspection by preservation staff, physical handling and processing, updating bibliographic and circulation records, and maintenance of security throughout the process. The library may find it helpful to contact professional consultants and colleagues from other libraries to help write the transfer policy, to refineselection criteria, and to inventory the collections. Once completed, the transfer policy should be approved by the library's senior administration and incorporated into the library's overall collection development policy.
  • Our library has no formal mission to collect or retain rare materials. As an aside we were approached by a man who accompanied Thor Heydhal on one of his voyages and had film and artifacts from that adventure. As an EMU almunus he wanted us to care for them. However, we simply do not have the facilities or mission to do so, but we did put him in touch with the Heyerdahl Museum. The archvist was tangentially involved in this process. The University Archives functions as a responsity for the insitutional memory of the University. It contains small collections of rare books and children’s materials but does not have a mission to specifically house historical content found in the collection. Working with Rosina, we found that we could refine the criteria to include content that was exceptionally rare/valuable or specifically related to the University and doing so enabled us to not overwhelm her with an onslaught of materials.The results of our efforts are next:
  • Recording the standardized data entries on an Excel spreadsheet provided the ability to do rough sorting but not always at the level we needed. After further discussion, we decided that we could work around this limitation. However, for us and others pursuing a similar project, no matter what system is used for recording data, we recommend that the spreadsheet be reviewed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, while the decisions about the items are still fresh in the minds of the reviewers.  To expedite handling, we recommend setting up a project work station near the storage area or circulation area which would enable one to quickly retrieve and review books and eliminate the need to check them out, transport them and check them back in when finished with their review.

Transcript

  • 1. Adapting ACRL Transfer Criteria to Facilitate Collection Analysis of Rare or Unusual Content in the Halle Library at Eastern Michigan University
    An over view of the criteria, process, outcomes, and benefits/drawbacks of benchmarking titles using the ACRL transfer criteria
    Bob Kelly: Collection Development Librarian Eastern Michigan University
  • 2. As our collections age we need to:
    Review titles for their historical, cultural, or monetary value.
    Identify early content that is uniquely associated with the history of the organization.
    It is within our purview of preserving and protecting content so that it is accessible to future generations.
    Why Review?
  • 3. Personal interest in evolution of early field guides from commentaries to identification.
    Field Ornithology by Eliot Coues
    A history of North American birds - Google Books
    Discovered EMU had a number of guides in collection and became interested in learning extent of earliest holdings.
    Report of pre-1940 imprints yielded 40K titles.
    Catalyst:
  • 4.
    • List sorted by earliest imprints and began checking those.
    • 5. The first 200 had missing or very odd imprint entries.
    • 6. Michael Barnes in cataloging investigated and discovered problems probably stemming from retro-con process (convert physical catalog card to electronic record).
    • 7. Determined we needed to set up process to fully assess scope of project and transfer criteria.
    • 8. UM SI Archives student Maureen Kerwin:
    • 9. Literature search
    • 10. Developing criteria
    • 11. Implementing, refining, and documenting process.
    • 12. Article to be published in Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services Journal.
    Initial Investigation:
  • 13. Literature search revealed very few articles published on topic of transfer of rare/unusual content.
    Guidelines from ACRL provided framework to construct, test, modify, and finalize a set of transfer benchmarks. The key take aways are:
    Promulgate the library's definition and management of rare and special publications.
    List and document the criteria for the selection of items for transfer.
    Set forth clear procedures to implement the transfer process.
    Guidelines on the Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections (3rd Edition)
  • 14. Market value
    Age
    Physical and intrinsic characteristics
    Condition
    Bibliographic and research value
    Key elements of transfer criteria:
  • 15. Premise: title to remain in current collection unless criteria warranted change
    Initially attempted to utilize all criteria
    With application became evident that only 3 were required for our setting:
    Market value
    Number of copies in Michigan
    Relevance to EMU (Historical/Bibliographic)
    EMU’s Application/Revision of criteria
  • 16. No formal mission to collect/retain rare materials
    Space limitations in University Archives
    Archive’s mission focuses on EMU’s historical documents (administrative/programmatic)
    Working with the University Archivist, Rosina Tammany, we expanded the definition of historic documents to include collection content related to EMU and Ypsilanti’s history, enabling us to justify transferring a limited number of titles to the archives.
    Additional factors impacting EMU transfer criteria:
  • 17. Reviewed Collections:
    63 titles (6%) in circulating collection
    945 titles (94%) in ARC
    837 titles (83.05%) remained in their current location.
    39 titles (3.87%) were transferred:
    .5% (5) Circulating titles transferred to ARC
    3.37% (34) from ARC to Archives
    132 titles (13.10%) no decision
    Results of benchmarking 1008 titles against finalized transfer criteria
  • 18. Of the 5 circulating titles transferred to arc: 3 had 5 or fewer copies in Michigan; 1 was in poor condition; 1 title, if not rebound, would have been worth $600.
    34 ARC titles transferred to Archives:
    Date of publication between: 1800 to 1855
    Scarcity (3 or fewer copies in Michigan)
    Contained color plates/maps
    Had condition issues
    Analysis of transferred titles
  • 19. 24% of all reviewed titles had cataloging problems.
    104 titles (10%) cataloged as original publications when in fact they were a reprint.
    1 title published in 1711 was cataloged as reprint and was in fact an original:
    Q. Horatius Flaccus, ex recensione & cum notis atque emendationibus
    Fewer cataloging problems found for titles published after 1900.
    Overall Analysis: Cataloging
  • 20. 27 books on a typical shelf took 1 hour and 45 minutes to process:
    8 minutes to request from ARC/Shelf
    22 minutes to retrieve and checkout
    1 hour 10 minutes to assess collection
    2.5 minutes average assessment time per title
    Overall Analysis: Time/Effort
  • 21. Once criteria established and parameters set review went much faster
    When OCLC showed large number of holdings not necessary to establish value.
    Remaining attributes for transfer to Archives fairly easy to assess:
    Significance to EMU
    Books in original binding
    Standardized recording of data with codes/colors
    Accelerating the review:
  • 22. Online availability (I.E. Google Book Project)
    Decided to retain even if freely available online
    Needs further exploration
    Located at nearby archive (UM Bentley Historical Library Collection)
    Could be indicator EMU should also hold in our own archives
    If found at 3 or fewer primarily academic libraries in Michigan we moved into Archives
    UM/WSU/DPL/MSU/CMU/WMU
    Discussion: Assessing Holdings
  • 23. Publishing dates and editions difficult to confirm
    Number of scores held by institutions may not be reflected in OCLC holdings
    Consulted UM Music Library for insight on how best to handle
    Music Scores
  • 24. Improve accuracy of catalog holdings: 104 reproductions were cataloged as original publications.
    Book in hand provided opportunity to assess condition as well as compare to bibliographic record.
    Learning opportunity for SI interns: Real world application of theoretical concepts and librarians exposed to latest ideas.
    Benefits:
  • 25. Identifying and evaluating the oldest content provided a means to systematically evaluate rare or unusual content hidden in the library.
    This is a long term process which requires the coordinated involvement among different departments (cataloging, circulation, collection development, archives).
    Under taking this effort resulted in updating in-accurate records, developing enhanced review procedures, and most importantly, identifying valuable titles to be moved to a secure location.
    Conclusion: