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Measuring Uniqueness in System-wide Book Holdings:  Implications for Collection Management
 

Measuring Uniqueness in System-wide Book Holdings: Implications for Collection Management

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A summary of research on uniquely-held titles in ARL libraries, prepared for discussion at ALA Chief Collection Development Officers meeting, January 2008

A summary of research on uniquely-held titles in ARL libraries, prepared for discussion at ALA Chief Collection Development Officers meeting, January 2008

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    Measuring Uniqueness in System-wide Book Holdings:  Implications for Collection Management Measuring Uniqueness in System-wide Book Holdings: Implications for Collection Management Presentation Transcript

    • RLG ProgramsMeasuring Uniqueness inSystem-wide Book Holdings:Implications for CollectionManagementConstance MalpasProgram OfficerRLG Programs
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 20082This presentation Summarizes recent data-mining efforts by OCLCPrograms and Research System-wide sample (Summer 2007 – Spring 2008) ARL unique print books (Autumn 2007) Suggests implications for collection managers Outlines next steps for RLG Programs An opportunity to discuss what additionalevidence and analysis is needed
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 20083What we mean by ‘last copy’ Monographic title uniquely-held by a singleWorldCat contributor Cf. „single copy‟ repositories, where „last copy‟ is relativeto local/group holdings May represent a last manifestation, expression orwork Bibliographic records describe manifestations, notcopies; unique manifestations are the point of departurefor analysis Some are intrinsically unique; others arerendered unique by erosion of system-wideholdings Historical data may help document increased copy orwork-level availability, but weren‟t included in thestudies presented here
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 20084Distribution of uniquely-held print booksin ARL member institutions0100,000200,000300,000400,000500,000600,000700,000LCYaleAlbertaColumbiaUChicagoUCLAMcGillPennUvaHawaiiUMdSanDiegoSUNYBuffaloRutgersDartmouthNotreDameOregonGATechDelawareFloridaStateSoIllinoisAlabamaIrvineGWUWayneStateYorkVirginiaTechWAStateCaseWesternManitobaHowardARL member institutionUniquetitlesDistribution of wealth: ARL unique booksA classic Pareto distribution20% of the population holds >75% of unique titlesMedian institutionalholdings = 19K titlesinstitutional excellence?(or) a “network effect?”N = 6.95 M titles
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 20085Why focus on uniquely-held titles? “Scarcity is common” limited redundancy in holdings = limited preservationguarantee, limited opportunity to create economies of scale byaggregating supply Research institutions bear the brunt of responsibility forlong-term preservation and access of unique titles Academic and independent research libraries hold up to 70%of aggregate unique print book collection Continuing costs of managing (storing, providing access to)print collections are high; use is generally declining Space pressure on physical plant (on-campus, remote) is high;understanding distribution and characteristics of uniqueholdings can inform decisions about disposition of physicalcollection Increased attention to stewardship of special collections ARL SCWG, CLIR, LC Task Force on Bibliographic Control –new attention to what constitutes „special‟ collections,appropriate standards of care, modes and metrics of use
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 20086Challenges Identification requires group / network view of holdings WorldCat provides a reasonably proxy for system-widecollection Some materials (MSS, theses and dissertations, etc.) areintrinsically unique; not all can be algorithmically identifiedin MARC records hybrid approach combines computational and manualanalysis of bibliographic data Sparse bibliographic records impede efficient work/titlematching, may introduce spurious measure of uniqueness external sources (including Google) sometimes helpful infilling gaps Non-English titles (especially transliterated non-romanscripts) are especially difficult to match we resisted the temptation to exclude these
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 20087Study I: System-wide Sampling 250 randomly selected, uniquely-held titles Limited to printed books (including theses) publishedbefore 2005 English-language cataloging only Iterative re-sampling required to fill gaps Independently reviewed by three project staff Level of uniqueness Material type Results periodically collated for group analysis Compare results of individual analysis for consistency Seek consensus on difficult cases – relatively few ofthese Re-sample as necessary to fill gaps White paper anticipated March 2008
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 20088Study II: ARL uniquely-held books Ad hoc analysis by RLG Programs, prompted by IMLSConnecting to Collections grant announcement How might the existing evidence base be used to focusregional preservation investments? Based on January 2007 snapshot of WorldCat database:13M records for titles (6.95M print books) uniquely held byARL institutions; 300+ OCLC symbols; 123 institutions Iterative analysis examined relative impact oftheses/dissertations and recent imprints on system-wideuniqueness; regional and institutional distribution of holdings Findings shared with ARL Special Collections Working Group(October 2007) and selected RLG partner institutions (UC;CIC; ReCAP; Harvard; ASU; NYU) Heritage Preservation willing to share Heritage Health surveydata for cross-tabulation on as-needed basis
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 20089Limitations Current studies limited to printed books –excludes serials, special collections; only a partialmeasure of uniqueness in system-wide collection Incomplete representation of world bookcollection; for non-English titles especially,uniqueness of North American holdings is onlyrelative Cataloging backlogs of up to 5 years mean thatholdings for recent acquisitions are imperfectlyreflected Incomplete coverage of rare books and specialcollections prior to (ongoing) integration of RLGUnion Catalog
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200810Our findings – distribution of unique titles Research and academic libraries hold >70% ofaggregate unique print book collection while value and utility of these holdings may be widelydistributed across the library community, holdings areconcentrated at institutions with a research / teaching /learning mandate limited data on aggregate use, sources of demand Institutional distribution of unique holdings ishighly skewed, with a handful of libraries holdinga majority share of collective assets ARL unique print book holdings range from 400 – 600Ktitles per institution; median holdings = 19K titles generally, institutions with large collections hold moreunique materials – but absolute size of collection is notan indicator of relative uniqueness
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200811Based on a randomly selected sample of 250 uniquely-held printbook titles in WorldCat (Jan. 2007)Unique titles by library type50%27%6%6%4%4% 2% 1%ARLAcademic (non-ARL)GovtState and NationalSpecialPublicUnknownNetworks
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200812Distribution of Unique Print Books in ARL Member Institutions0100000200000300000400000500000600000700000LCMichiganNALUWiscUrbanaUWashEmoryPittNewMexicoOklahomaUtahKentStateDavisFloridaStateVanderbiltWUSTLColoradoUmassTexasTechMcMasterQueensPEPNational libraries and institutions with deepcollections and an aggressive approach tocollecting and cataloging new monographs –LC, Harvard, Libraries & Archives Canada –have an exceptional range of unique holdingsUnique Print Books in ARL InstitutionsCRL’s focus on theses and dissertations isevident – most uniqueness is attributableto these holdingsInstitutions withyounger collections,actively seeking toincrease scope ofcoverage - NCSU,Temple – are buildinguniqueness in newtitles
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200813Content-type Distributions: CRL and ARL0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Center forResearch LibrariesARL aggregatecollectionUnique thesesUnique print books pubd2000 and afterUnique print books pubdbefore 2000Intrinsically uniquecontent, “only copies”May include “first copies”in cataloging queue;uniqueness subject torapid erosion
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200814Our findings – levels of uniqueness ~60% of titles represent unique works Ex: Report and recommendation … on a proposed loan … equivalentto US$70 million to the … Islamic Republic of Pakistan for a powerplant efficiency improvement project (1987) – World Bank report heldby George Washington University ~15% of titles represent unique manifestations Ex. Gallipolis … an account of the French five hundred and of the townthey established … compiled by Workers of the Writers program of theWork projects administration (1940) – microform pamphlet held byYale University; related manifestations at 40 libraries ~5% of titles represent unique expressions Ex: E.J. Luck. A pedigree of the families Luck, Lock and Lee (1908) –book held by Masssanutten Regional Library, VA; similar title (Luck,Lock) by same author, pub‟d in 1900, held at LC ~20% of titles not unambiguously unique: duplicate or near-duplicate records can be found in WorldCat Ex: K. Kimura. Edo no akebono (1956) – book held by HarvardYenching; apparent duplicate (cataloged with original scripts) held byWaseda, Yale
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200815Our findings – content characterizationMaterial types ~35% are books (>50pp) most appear to be non-fiction titles, less likely to haveadditional manifestations ~20% theses and dissertations many at Master‟s level – unlikely to be held beyond issuinginstitution ~15% government documents mostly federal and state, may be duplicated in depositories ~10% pamphlets unique content, but rarely useful in isolation ~10% analytics; single articles or issues bound as aseparate volume non-unique content <5% early imprints lost treasures? Small numbers of by-laws, scripts, legal briefs,minutes, etc.
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200816Implications Institutions with significant unique holdings may benefitfrom „splitting the difference‟ between unique works andmanifestationsunique manifestations and analytics should be judged with aneye to provenance history; unless they contribute to localdistinctiveness, immediate action may not be warranted A preliminary sort by material type may help guide localdecision-making regarding the physical disposition ofunique holdingspamphlets and technical reports may be candidates forcataloging enhancement and storage transfer; books may beshort-listed for digitization and/or transfer to specialcollections Institutions with smaller unique print book collections maybenefit from collective action to aggregate supply(through effective disclosure) and demand (throughspecial resource-sharing and digitization initiatives) aroundspecific topical and disciplinary interestslocal collections gain in significance when presented in contextwith related holdings
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200817RecommendationsAdopt a nuanced understanding of „relative uniqueness‟ whenassessing local holdings Unique manifestations may not represent uniqueintellectual content, but may have other value As artifacts  special collections As a networked resource  increased availability Unique works may gain relevance and value whenpresented as part of a larger disciplinary or topicalcollection Theses and dissertations may benefit from special discoverytools, integration in local scholarly communications initiatives Pamphlets and technical reports may be virtually aggregatedfor specific communities of use Maximize disclosure of unique holdings to increase theirimpact and value Focus on use and utility of unique holdings to ensurelong-term preservation, enduring value to parent institution
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200818What’s Next . . . Holdings validation study will examine a sampleof scarcely-held (<5 copies) US imprints inNorth-American research libraries Compare current WorldCat holdings to historical holdings– looking for signs of collection erosion; elimination oflocal backlogs (diminishing uniqueness) Compare local holdings to current WorldCat holdings –location changes/storage transfers, withdrawals Assess impact of local preservation actions on system-wide holdings (availability, condition) and potentialvalue of „full disclosure‟ Collaborative effort with RLG partner institutionsanticipated Spring/Summer 2008
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200819Some closing observationsOpportunities Large research libraries hold a wealth of unique materials –long tail resources with broad potential audience Aggregated bibliographic data supports programmaticanalysis and enrichment – work-level clustering,identification of duplicates Largest institutions, with enduring commitments toretention and access, hold majority of potential „at risk‟titlesChallenges Libraries ill-equipped to measure potential demand forunique holdings Technical and social infrastructure for aggregating supply islacking University presses are potential distribution partners, butalliances are weak
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200820Questions, Comments? „Managing the Collective Collection‟ work agenda Data-mining for management intelligence Shared print collectionshttp://www.oclc.org/programs/ourwork/collectivecoll Midwinter RLG Update Session1:30-3:30Marriott 302-304 Contact:Constance MalpasProgram Officermalpasc@oclc.org
    • RLG Programs Managing Last CopiesCCDO Meeting, ALA Midwinter – 12 January 200821N=5.9M titlesMedian institutional holdings =96k unique titles