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What Does It Mean to Have Collections?


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Explores how library collections have been, are and will be built in the context of changing information-seeking behavior, changes in the nature of collections, the social web, and new enabling technology.

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What Does It Mean to Have Collections?

  1. 1. What Does It Mean to Have Collections? Karen Calhoun Library - University of Calgary October 15, 2015
  2. 2. RossAtkinson,1946-2006 Community,Collaboration,andCollections Why have we built collections? Collection development means “to privilege particular objects as being more useful or reliable than others” How is privileging possible when the universe is accessible in 5 seconds? Do we know what the collection is? 10/15/2015 2 Photo: @Uphoto 2003. Used with permission. Atkinson, Ross. 2005. “Introduction for the Break-Out Sessions: Six Key Challenges for the Future of Collection Development.” In Janus Conference on Research Library Collections, October 9-11, 2005. Ithaca, NY.
  3. 3. University of Calgary Foundational Commitments Source: Thomas Hickerson, Vice Provost, Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary
  4. 4. • Enhanced student learning environment Enrich Quality of LEARNING • University partnerships in interdisciplinary research • Dissemination of scholarly knowledge • Research data stewardship Sharpen Focus on RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP • Cultural enrichment of campus and community Integrate the University and the COMMUNITY University-wide Commitments Source: Thomas Hickerson, Vice Provost, Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary
  5. 5. LCR NEXT Enabling Capacities Agile Workforce Reimagining spaces Collaborative leadership Technological Advances Fundraising and Research Funding Distinctive Collections Source: Thomas Hickerson, Vice Provost, Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary
  6. 6. Think about the role of the library collections, both physical and online, in the context of the university-wide commitments To learning To research and scholarship To the community To achieve this, we need to think about: Information-seeking behaviors and preferences (how and where do people look for information?) Library collections management (why, how and where do we build and manage collections?) Enabling technology (what infrastructure do we need?) 10/15/2015 6 This talk in context
  7. 7. Braced for change… embracing change? Information seeking 10/15/2015 7
  8. 8. An early earthquake 89 2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Search engine Library Web site Percent Where Search Begins Where do you begin an online search for information on a topic? (2005) College Students’ Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources: a Report to the OCLC Membership: 10/15/2015 8
  9. 9. Empoweringconnectionsandconversations inanentirelynewway 10/15/2015 9 Photo: By Kris Krug. Untitled. Licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA. Flickr Commons.
  10. 10. 10/15/2015 10 Strong preference for full text and media, other Web content Some are familiar with bibliographic data/tools, many are not (and find what they want anyway?) Personal and professional networking are important aspects of information seeking 30 second review of what we know
  11. 11. 10/15/2015 11 The larger context: knowledge management Knowledge communities “interpret information about the environment in order to construct meaning … create new knowledge by converting and combining the expertise and know-how of their members … [and] analyze information in order to select and commit to appropriate courses of action.”—Chun Wei Choo, professor of Information Studies, University of Toronto The Knowing Organization: How Organizations Use Information to Construct Meaning, Create Knowledge, and Make Decisions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), xii.
  12. 12. 10/15/2015 12 Knowledge creation and social networks “Improving efficiency and effectiveness in knowledge-intensive work demands more than sophisticated technologies—it requires attending to the often idiosyncratic ways that people seek out knowledge, learn from and solve problems with other people.”—Rob Cross, University of Virginia Rob Cross et al., “Knowing what we know” Organizational Dynamics 30, no. 2 (November 2001), 101.
  13. 13. 10/15/2015 13 Implications Students and faculty engage in information network processes with or without libraries Libraries have the opportunity to engage more proactively with teachers and learners Libraries and librarians need to better understand how the social web and information seeking styles contribute to learning, teaching, and research
  14. 14. Beingwheretheireyesare 10/15/2015 14 Users are discovering relevant resources outside library systems Users expect discovery and delivery to coincide Usage of portable devices is expanding Discovery increasingly happens through recommending Users increasingly rely on emerging nontraditional information objects Trends “Discoverability” Report: University of Minnesota Libraries, February 2009
  15. 15. Embedding collections in the web 10/15/2015 15 ?
  16. 16. Wikipedia Monthly Unique Visitors, Smithsonian Archives of American Art vs. Wikipedia Smithsonia AAA Wikipedia Wikipedia Loves Libraries 2013 - Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon with Smithsonian Staff. Washington DC. Sraumsheim, Carl. 2015. “Wiki Worker Wanted.” Inside Higher Ed. July 17. Kastrenakes, Jacob. 2014. “Harvard Wants to Hire a Wikipedia Editor to Be Its ‘Wikipedian in Residence.’” The Verge. March 12.
  17. 17. Changing Collections 10/15/2015
  18. 18. Why have we built collections? 10/15/2015 18 Institutional asset • Collections attract scholars, support, funding • Prestige • Implies separate, competitive collections … • While collections are becoming less institutionally based Preservation • Ensure long- term access • “Memory” • Aspect of research library mission least likely to change • But many materials now needing preservation are outside the boundaries of traditional libraries “Privileging” • Collection development • Certain information objects are more worthy of attention than others • Information universe now immense – problems of scope and scale Atkinson 2005, p. 2-4
  19. 19. Trendingdown,trendingup Print E-resources Offsite storage Mass digitization New kinds of content on web Special collections and archives New models of collection management
  20. 20. The print collections in academic research libraries “The books had come to clutter the library” 10/15/2015 20 Photo: "OSU William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library East Atrium" by Ibagli – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. Quote: Biemiller, Lawrence. 2007. “Library Renovation at Ohio State U. Promises More Space, but Fewer Books.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. July 10.
  21. 21. What If … … Libraries could more readily share the effort and costs of managing their legacy print collections? 10/15/2015 21
  22. 22. Mass digitization Google 5 (2004) and the Google Library Project Harvard, University of Michigan, Stanford, University of Oxford, New York Public Library 33% of the “system-wide book collection” at that time (Lavoie, Connaway, Dempsey 2005) Europeana HathiTrust Open legal issues New possibilities for individual and collaborative library collection management 10/15/2015 22
  23. 23. What If… 10/15/2015 23 … Libraries could more collectively manage collection analysis, print storage facilities, choices of what to preserve, by whom, and how? … Libraries could collectively create new collections or research tools?
  24. 24. What If… We could cooperate to move from isolated collections to interoperable ones? We shifted effort to discovery and integrated access? 10/15/2015 24
  25. 25. 10/15/2015 25 Attracting use and users of digital collections National Library of Australia, 2009- Free search engine Massive amount of content: 435M items as of July 2015 Over 1,000 Australian libraries, archives, museums contribute Many types of content • Heavily used (70K people/day) • 327th most used website in Australia (July 2015) • Social engagement/contribution a core feature • “Collaboration with users is key” • Content widely discoverable in common tools • “Getting our collection material into our users’ online spaces” • “Free[ing] content from [its] institutional backyard” Where do Trove’s visitors come from? Trove is a popular destination site but … 39.2% of searches come from mega-sites Sources of information for this slide: Trove site; Holley, Rose. 2010. “Trove: Innovation in Access to Information in Australia.” Ariadne, no. 64.; Sweeney, Shahida. 2014. “National Library of Australia Invests in Digital Future.” CIO Australia, September 26.; Data from on 7/17/2015 -
  26. 26. Enabling technology 10/15/2015
  27. 27. Review to this point •Libraries, library collections, and the catalogs that represent them are competing for attention with disruptive new technologies – and losing •End users believe they have many choices for fulfilling their information needs •Libraries and their collections need to be visible in the places that their users inhabit on the Web •Libraries may no longer be able to rely on large collections of published materials to distinguish themselves from other services •Library special collections are likely to gain more weight, prestige and use, provided they can be surfaced on the Web •New kinds of information objects may offer opportunities 10/15/2015 27
  28. 28. Technological issues An overarching strategic framework for hybrid library technology does not exist Interoperability is a key challenge (at the site level and at the network level) Individual library collections data is generally not disclosed for crawling by search engines A better, collaborative, network-level solution is needed to raise the discoverability of individual collections on high-traffic sites Good progress in some areas, but adding to complexity of managing technological environment 10/15/2015 28
  29. 29. Institutional repository Digital collections Citation DBs Full Text DBs E-books A complex, demanding local environment to support Online catalog – Integrated “discovery layer” for local holdings/ licensed content (central index) Library mgt. system Acquisitions data Circ/status data Print holdings data Licensed content data Link resolver Knowledgebases, registries E-resource Management tools/system (ERM) Off-campus access
  30. 30. Library business processes 10/15/2015 30 Figure 5.3 in Exploring Digital Libraries, p. 124. ©2014. Used with permission.
  31. 31. A complex, decentralized patchwork An overarching strategic framework for library collections does not exist Institutionally- or consortially-based integration (discovery layers) Mindset - libraries tend to think of themselves as destination sites In general, libraries are not engaged with the global network infrastructure Generally poor representation of library collections on the network (outside library systems) E-resource management, remote access mechanisms Open access repositories and network-level holdings registries have potential as a way forward Some web-scale digital library aggregations beginning to appear (Trove, Europeana, DPLA?) Continuing legal battle over mass digitization of books? 10/15/2015 31
  32. 32. You gotta accentuate the positive Eliminate the negative an' latch on to the affirmative Don't mess with Mister In Between --Song by John Mercer and Arlen Harold
  33. 33. Longer term vision •Switch users from where they find things to library-managed collections of all kinds •Local catalog/collections one link in a chain of services •More coherent and comprehensive scholarly information systems, perhaps by discipline •Infrastructure to permit global discovery and delivery of information among open, loosely-coupled systems •Critical mass of digitized publications and special collections online •Many starting points on the Web leading to many types of scholarly information objects 10/15/2015 33
  34. 34. “The library is a growing organism”—Ranganathan 10/15/2015 34 Europeana Network. 2014. “Europeana Strategy 2020: ‘We Transform the World with Culture’: Europeana Strategy 2015-2020.” See also: DPLA. 2015. “Digital Public Library of America: Strategic Plan, 2015 through 2017.” From portal to platform … “People want to re-use and play with the material, to interact with others and participate in creating something new.” Access “If we can make material available online … we’ll start to see the benefits for society and the economy.”