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Collection Evaluation techniques for academic libraries - sally halper (british Library) presentation at the 2009 ALISS AGM

Collection Evaluation techniques for academic libraries - sally halper (british Library) presentation at the 2009 ALISS AGM

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  • Welcome, and introduce myself. Explain would work just as well for Special Libraries.

Transcript

  • 1. Collection evaluation techniques for academic libraries Sally Halper Lead Content Specialist – Business & Management Social Sciences Collections & Research The British Library [email_address]
  • 2. This presentation covers
    • Collection evaluation (sometimes called collection mapping)
    • Some techniques and tools
    • Example
    • Further considerations
    • Further reading
    • Questions and answers
  • 3. 1. Collection evaluation
    • Evaluate: a) The collection b) Its use
    • The purpose influences your choice of method and how much detail you go into.
    • For instance:
    • Do you need to justify spend/budgets for next year?
    • For future years?
    • As a benchmark that guides collection development for the next 5 years or more??
  • 4. 2. Some techniques and tools Source: Johnson 2009 p. 270 User opinion surveys User observation Focus groups List checking Verification studies Citation analysis Direct collection checking Collection mapping (assigning Conspectus levels) Brief tests of collection strength Qualitative Interlibrary loan statistics Circulation stats In-house use statistics Document delivery statistics Shelf availability stats/requests Collection size/growth Materials budget size/growth Collection size standards and formulas Quantitative Use or user based Collection based
  • 5. 2. Some techniques and tools a) How good is your collection?
    • White’s Brief Test methodology
    • “ The two most important determinants of quality in library collections are money, which is everyone’s favourite measure, and love, which is unquantifiable... this brief test registers the effect of their combined power” White (1995) p.3
    • A ‘quality’ list e.g. The ABS Journal Quality Guide
    • A simple list – either one you draw up from scratch (ask your researchers to suggest titles) or a benchmark
    • e.g. Testing BL’s holdings for the subject of Leadership against a special library for management, Roffey Park Institute Library
  • 6. White’s Brief Test methodology (see White, H. D. (1995) Brief Tests of Collection Strength )
    • Decide on the level of granularity of your test e.g. Economics as a whole, or just Econometrics, or just a topic within Econometrics?
    • Compile a list of 40 titles*: 10 at each of Conspectus Level 1, 2, 3 and 4. You decide the Level of a title partly on the basis of your expertise and partly on the basis of how many other libraries hold it. For academic libraries, the best guide may be the number of COPAC libraries who hold it, so you’re comparing like with like. *You can use more titles e.g. 20 at each level.
    • Test your holdings against the list
    Must have at least 50% of titles to ‘pass’ a level Aim is to find the highest level passed Bit like ‘the long tail’ – do highest level items circulate the least? Comprehensive 5 Research 4 Instructional 3 Basic 2 Minimal 1 Conspectus definition Level
  • 7. b) Evaluating use
    • Quantitative: Usage statistics: circulation stats, inter-library loan stats, requests, sample surveys of open access/reference stock use (users tick or sign to show use)
    • Qualitative: User opinion surveys, User observation, Focus groups Consult Faculty, PHD students etc
    • Is there a copy in another library that’s accessible - and that your users would go and use? What are the access barriers? Cost to borrow? Will it still be available in 5 years’ time?
    • Work out a rough cost of not owning it e.g. ILL charge x no. users x no. uses a year = £ x
    • Factor in the cost of delay (up to 6 weeks if the item is out on loan) and if you’re feeling frisky, the possible consequences e.g. loss of research funding bid, loss of only extant copy
  • 8. Tools include
    • BNB: on subscription or via BL catalogue subset
    • BL catalogues, including Current Serials Received 60,000 titles (BL DSC and STM collections) http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/serials.html
    • Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory
    • Index of Conference Proceedings
    • Blackwells’ Collection Manager
    • Nielsen Bookdata
    • COPAC (includes BL records)
    • Worldcat, Amazon
    • SUNCAT
    • Publishers’ catalogues and websites
    • (Other) University reading lists
    • Benchmark library catalogues
    • … and fellow subject librarians
  • 9. BNB Online - on http://catalogue.bl.uk
    • Free to search as subset of BL Integrated Catalogue at http://catalogue.bl.uk – you need to log in with your reader pass number
    • Focuses on mainstream monographs available through normal book buying channels . See exclusions policy at http://www.bl.uk/bibliographic/exclude.html
    • Records for UK online electronic resources began to appear in the BNB from the third week of February 2003
  • 10. 3. Example: Seminal texts in Management & Business Studies (MBS) Then, compiled test list from 2 well-known bibliographies of ‘classic’ management Research – 80 research-level monos (40 UK and 40 US) from 1950s-2000s: First, checked we had 10 titles at each of Level 1 (minimal, I used ‘Project Management for Dummies’ type texts), 2 (basic e.g. Penguin Dictionary of Business) and Level 3 (instructional, used London Universities’ reading lists to identify current core texts for UG courses).
  • 11. 3. Example: Seminal texts in Management & Business Studies (MBS)
    • Found the collections are Level 4 (88% titles held at Level 4)
    • But there were 9 titles we did not hold at all (2 UK, 7 published in the USA), which we went on to acquire
    • Usage ‘data’
    • Very hard to get from BL systems – DSC no longer ‘wand’ each loan and ABRS data is only available since 2004.
    • Evidence (of sorts) from looking at wear and tear on the books (about half of the 80 titles show signs of heavy use, Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline had to be sent for repair)
    • However, evidence from focus groups (c80 management researchers in 2007) suggests most buy these books if they’re still in print, if they cannot get them from their own University (or other) Library. Acquisitive lot!
    • So maybe use of BL copies is mainly by students, or people without University Libraries e.g. practitioners, managers in NGOs?
  • 12. 4. Further considerations
    • Researcher behaviour is changing: ‘satisficing’ or unofficial methods of getting literature are more prevalent and library use is declining
    • Does it matter who is using your collection? Are some users seen as ‘better’ than others?
    • Benchmarking clubs: choosing who to compare your collection against, doing collection evaluation as a joint activity
    • Collaborative collection development or management e.g. UKRR for low-use serials, special collections
    • BUT can you guarantee preservation and access in the long term?
  • 13. 5. Further reading
    • White, H. D. (1995) Brief Tests of Collection Strength. London: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0313297533
    • Twiss, T.M. A validation of brief tests of collection strength. Collection Management 25 (3) 2001 pp. 23-37
    • Beals, J. B. Assessing library collections using the brief test methodology. Electronic Journal of Academic & Special Librarianship 7 (3) 2006. Available online at http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v07n03/beals_j01.htm
    • Chapter 9 Collection Analysis: Evaluation and Assessment. In Johnson, P. (2009) Fundamentals of Collection Management (2 nd ed.) Chicago: ALA. ISBN 978-0838909720
  • 14. 6. Any questions?
    • For help with enquiries:
    • Social- [email_address] 020 7412 7676
    • 10am-8pm Monday -Thursday 10am-5pm Friday & Saturday
    • The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
    • Thank you