Re: budgeting media

Gary Handman (
Mon, 2 Apr 2001 08:45:56 -0700 (PDT)


At UCB there's a central media budget (which I control as head of the Media
Center)--98 percent of all video acquisitions come out of this pot; I'm the
sole selector. Occasionally, subject selectors buy stuff on their nickel
(some of these, such as the selectors in Environmental Design and our
South/Southeast Asia Library have been increasingly vigorous about buying
stuff on their funds). The materials ultimately reside in MRC. The
problem with allocating the responsibility for selecting media to subject
folk (as I have contended ad nauseum) is one of oversight and ownership: I
believe strongly that selecting video effectively requires both an
understanding of the medium and a deep familiarity with the
marketplace. While I think subject selectors are capable of periodically
(and sometimes randomly) identifying interesting and useful materials, real
video collection development demands more intense and comprehensive
oversight--i.e. a media librarian.
The other common mode of selecting--in response to faculty request or
course reserve needs--is also problematic, if it's the primary mode of
selection used. The latter almost always results in a crazy-quilt, "just
in time" collection which may or may not have long term utility for
research and teaching.

Gary Handman

At 08:07 AM 04/02/2001 -0700, you wrote:
>Hello all, I have some questions for those who select media materials for
>academic institutions. Presently, I control an acquisitions budget for the
>university film/video library. I work with faculty, and librarians who
>have responsibilities for selecting monographic materials in the
>disciplines of art, literature and science. The collections librarians
>purchase videos with their own acquisitions funds (infrequently) that end
>up in the film/video collection. In general, I select materials that
>support the instructional mission of the university, and the collections
>librarians select video materials that support research. Occasionally, we
>share resources to purchase expensive materials or materials that are not
>obviously instruction or research-oriented. Do any of you work with a
>budget arrangement where a portion of the collections librarians'
>acquisitions budgets are allocated for media materials (and basically
>subtracted from the film/video library budget), from which the librarians
>can select media materials on their own, or they consult with the
>film/video librarian for selection? At the heart of this question is how
>much do we try to involve the "regular" librarians in the process of
>selecting videos. This arrangement would involve questions of equity and
>differences in faculty use of the library related to the budget allocation
>between the various disciplines, and, ultimately, who controls the funds.
>You also may handle your media funds in ways other than those outlined above.
>Sorry for the lengthy note. I would appreciate your perspectives.
>Jeffrey W. Pearson
>Librarian, Film & Video Library Phone: (734) 763-3758
>2178 Shapiro UGL
>University of Michigan
>Ann Arbor MI 48109-1185 e-mail:

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld