Re: video approval plans?

Kristine R. Brancolini (
Mon, 28 Jan 2002 07:25:46 -0800 (PST)

I've been a book selector (film studies) and a video selector. There's
little comparison between the two. In the world of research libraries we
buy books completely sight unseen, no reviews for the most part. We rely
upon the reputation of the publisher, the reputation of the author, the
content, and so forth. We use objective criteria, not evaluative criteria
on a title-by-title basis. When I was a book selector, I used two approval
plans, one for university presses and another for all other imprints. It
worked because we could create a focused profile for what we wanted and
didn't want. We bought comprehensively from many publishers. We also had
a limit on what we would spend. Many of the educational video titles
would be well above that limit.

Video selection is completely different. It is evaluative, done primarily
from reviews and previewing, on a title-by-title basis. Those of us who
have attended the National Media Market know that it is practically
impossible to predict ahead of time, before viewing titles, which ones
will be appropriate for our collections. Yes, there are some topics that
I know that I want, but when four new titles came out this year on women
in Afghanistan, how would I be able to tell a third-party ahead of time
which one I would want?

Instead of trying to create a video approval plan, you might want to start
with standing orders. A number of academic libraries are trying this
approach. We have a standing order for three PBS series: Nova, American
Experience, and Frontline, but even that has been difficult to arrange.
We do it through our representative, not directly with PBS. This is just
not something they are familar with doing for library customers. -- Kris

On Mon, 28 Jan 2002, Roberta Astroff wrote:

> But this sounds exactly like the relationship between monograph selectors,
> academic life and approval plans for books.
> Roberta Astroff
> Penn State
> At 11:48 AM 1/26/2002 -0800, you wrote:
> >Re video approval plans.
> >
> >One word: ugggggggggggggggggggggggg!
> >
> >Even if such a beast did exist (and it doesn't, particularly for
> >academic libraries), 20 years in this business
> >tells me that
> >leaving the selection of video up to a third party would be courting
> >certain disaster. It's hard enough for full-time media librarians to pull
> >this off...leaving it up to profit-driven outsiders would be madness.
> >Selection in academic libraries is a matter of weighing curricular and
> >research needs against market availability--that's a trick that requires
> >eternal vigilance, constant participation in the academic life of campus,
> >an intimate knowledge of both mainstream and independent filmmaking, and a
> >close connection to colleagues with similar collections. We ain't talking
> >books here...
> >
> >Gary Handman
> >Director
> >Media Resources Center
> >Moffitt Library
> >UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
> >510-643-8566
> >
> >
> >"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
> >it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld
> >
> >On Fri, 25 Jan 2002, Linda Engelberg wrote:
> >
> > > My administrator is asking about video approval plans for universities. I
> > > can't imagine that there is such a thing? Tho I believe that Professional
> > > Media was offering some kind of a service, but I don't think it was at the
> > > University level. Can anyone offer comments or information. thanx and
> > > aloha.
> > >
> > > Linda Engelberg
> > > Video Librarian
> > > Wong Audiovisual Center
> > > Sinclair Library
> > > University of Hawaii
> > > Honolulu, HI 96822
> > > (808) 956-5414
> > > FAX (808) 956-5952
> > >
> > >
> > >

Kristine R. Brancolini, Director, Digital Library Program
Main Library E170, 1320 E. Tenth Street
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405
Phone: 812.855.3710 | Fax: 812.856.2062 | Web: