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Knowledge Management for Collection Development: Transforming Institutional Knowledge into Tools for Selectors.


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Presenter: Julia Proctor

In an organization with a decentralized collection development structure, it can be difficult for selectors to find correct and/or detailed information at the point of need when engaging in collection development. Institutional knowledge that is possessed by individuals who have worked at the library for many years is not always easily shared with others due to the lack of an effective conduit. Simply knowing what is happening and what has happened with purchases, licensing, vendor negotiations, budget planning, and policy creation can be a challenge for those who have not been directly involved. This presentation will detail the presenter's experience in a new collections role at Penn State Libraries and her work gathering the information that exists on shared drives, in file cabinets, dark corners of the intranet, and in the brains of faculty and staff that have worked at the library for many years and making it available to selectors in a meaningful way. The presentation will discuss projects such as compiling information about annual ebook packages and ejournal backfiles as well as Penn State’s management of theses and dissertations. How those projects were identified and prioritized as well as the process for compiling that information and making it available will also be discussed. The presentation will conclude with a long-term plan for storing and presenting this kind of information so that knowledge continues to be shared across Penn State Libraries. Many libraries face challenges with regard to capturing institutional knowledge, and collection development is an area within libraries where historical information needs to be referenced frequently. This presentation will offer attendees some ideas for how to approach this issue as well as the benefit of the successes and failures the presenter experienced while attempting to address this challenge.

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Knowledge Management for Collection Development: Transforming Institutional Knowledge into Tools for Selectors.

  1. 1. Knowledge Management for Collection Development: Transforming Institutional Knowledge into Tools for Selectors Julia Proctor Collections Services and Strategies Librarian Penn State University Libraries
  2. 2. Overview • Providing context • Definition and significance of knowledge management • Relating knowledge management principles to collection development practices and processes • Practical application of knowledge management principles • Future Steps • Questions
  3. 3. Reference Preamble • The Knowing Organization, 2nd Edition (2006) by Chun Wei Choo • The Inquiring Organization (2016) by Chun Wei Choo • Knowledge Management in Theory and Practice (2005) by Kimiz Dalkir
  4. 4. The Penn State University Libraries System • 36 libraries at 24 campuses across Pennsylvania • Selectors and subject libraries • Acquisitions • Joint Collections Group • Collections Services (Me) Image taken from
  5. 5. Collection Services and Strategies Librarian “The Collection Services and Strategies Librarian will provide leadership and coordination for collections-related projects and initiatives and will develop a cutting edge program for building and stewarding collections” • Making selection decisions for retention of materials • Developing rubrics for de-duplication of resources to create budget flexibility • Assist in the management of the materials budget • Manage endowments and special funds in collaboration with Acquisitions • Conduct budget planning and allocation to develop and implement fund management practices • Create and oversee new and continuing subject specialist training, and manage/coordinate subject liaison activities in relation to budget, allocations, reviews, and assessments • Assist in the development of a data analytics program to inform collections strategy and institutionalize the application of data to allocations and collection decisions
  6. 6. Knowledge Management Defined “The process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organisation” (Girard and Girard, 2015, p. 14)
  7. 7. Why Does it Matter? "Knowledge begets action; learning bestows progress. Knowledge in organizations enables purposeful action." (Choo 2016, p. 25)
  8. 8. Tacit Knowledge vs. Explicit Knowledge Tacit Knowledge = knowing how Explicit Knowledge = knowing that (Choo 2006)
  9. 9. The Challenge • Explicit (codified) knowledge does not have a home outside of an established expert • Acquisitions staff have served as the institutional knowledge experts • Some things don't complete a full codification process—there is ambiguity regarding what policies have been put in place • Coordination and enforcement has been lacking
  10. 10. The Goal: Useful, Accessible Information • What questions come up regularly? • Where do selectors look for information? • What modes of communication are accepted?
  11. 11. Sensing and Making Sense • Adaptability is key; adaptability is difficult • Sensing: Making note of important messages • Making sense: Constructing meaning from messages (Weick 1995)
  12. 12. It’s All About Perception Information Seeking Behavior: An Integrated Model (Choo 2006, p. 69) Perception of gap in state of knowledge, ability to make sense Uncertainty Stress Cognitive Gaps Problem Dimensions InformationNeeds • Suppress, avoid problem • No information seeking Selected informationInformation SeekingIncidental Information Motivation Interest Source Quality Source Accessibility Information Use Understanding, Acting Avoidance Maintenance Cognitive Styles Norms, Rules Streams of Experience
  13. 13. Creating Shared Meaning • Shared cognitive structures • Collective knowledge bases • Communication behaviors (Choo 2006)
  14. 14. Consistency is Key • Joint Collections Group announcements/discussions • Intranet • Representation does not equal dissemination • Maintaining a consistent message across all communications
  15. 15. What Makes the Cut? • Information needed by many across the organization • Information available in static, central locations • Utilizing existing workflows
  16. 16. Statistics and Reports • Ebook use is not tracked in the ILS • Locating ILL statistics • Electronic resource use data • Annual Library Budget Reports for the Faculty Senate
  17. 17. Ebook and Journal Packages • Ebook frontfiles purchased annually or sporadically • Ejournal backfiles purchased • Ejournal contract details – license end dates and cancellation limitations
  18. 18. Theses and Dissertations Availability
  19. 19. Utilizing Existing Workflows • Annual lists of subscriptions for selectors to review • Data to inform decision-making • Fiscal Calendar Calendar (not a typo) • A few epic fails
  20. 20. Creating Two-Way Information Conduits • Passing on AND receiving information • Annual Budget Assessment Reports • Selector forums – creating opportunities for dialogue
  21. 21. How Are Things Going So Far? • Building trust in the intranet is an ongoing process • Fiscal deadlines remain important • Need for preserving use data from year to year
  22. 22. Is the Work Done? • Constant need to update, educate, reassess • Establish myself as a resource • Coordination and immersion • Backup files and multiple locations
  23. 23. References • Choo, C. W. (2006). The Knowing Organization. New York: Oxford University Press. • Choo, C. W. (2016). The Inquiring Organization. New York: Oxford University Press. • Dalkir, K. (2005). Knowledge Management in Theory and Practice. Amsterdam: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann. • Girard, J., & Girard, J. (2015). Defining Knowledge Management: Toward an Applied Compendium. Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, 3(1), 1-20. • Weick, Karl. (1995) Sensemaking in Organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage. *All images with the exception of the Penn State University location map and screenshots were downloaded from under Creative Commons licenses with no attribution required.
  24. 24. Questions?