[Videolib] Collection Development Assessment

James Scholtz (jimscholtz@sdln.net)
Wed, 15 Sep 2004 12:39:27 -0400

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Hi Videolibbers, Since Mark mentioned my name in his collection development
response I couldn't resist responding. So here is my thesis.
I was wondering if Monique Threatt has read any of the textbooks regarding
AV/video-DVD collection development (either mine or Gary Handman's - of
which I am one of many contributors) and if Threatt had developed a CD
policy for the collection in question? Threatt indicated that he felt that
an assessment form could potentially address various CD issues and if there
was a "base guideline" to assess a collection. The problem with university
AV collections, unlike larger university book collections, is that they are
all unique based upon curriculum and use patterns. The U of I, IU and UCB
will have some of the same titles but most will be vastly different (that's
why the Educational Film Locator of the 70's and 80's and film rental
libraries were so popular). Also, AV materials are vastly more expensive
than print so it is difficult for one institution to acquire all the
materials one would really want. By base guideline, I'm not sure if he is
talking about an ave. copyright age of collection, % of subject areas
represented, # of items circulated vs. # of items owned (turn-over rate)
compared with student population or if he wants a baseline title comparison
checklist (sort of like comparing a public library fiction collection with
The Public Library Catalog (Wilson pub.) for inclusion/exclusion. A CD
policy is great for developing a "grand overview" - a jigsaw puzzle picture
of your collection - telling you what you want to collect (goals), what you
want the overall picture to look like, and what you want to get rid of as
well as how long you're going to keep stuff. If you are looking for a list
of "best feature films" for example - I have a list of about 2500 films
culled from many awards and specialty books, Halliwells and other 4-5 star
recommended titles, etc. that I was getting ready for a book. I could send
you that list which is divided up into large genres. There is not a
comprehensive recommended title list for subject videos (especially
eduational dist.) that I'm aware of... If you want a quick way to do CD
assessment 'd suggest finding a college/university that has the same type of
curriculum and a strong [and used] AV collection. Ask them to send you
their title list and use that as a title comparison/ buying guide (a CD
goal). See if they'll provide you with copyright dates for all of the
items, then do your own ave. on there collection, comparing it against your
own as a baseline. Or use CD information from the book portion of the
library - what is the ave. age of medical books in your library compared
with AV materials you have?

First, like Mark says, a university collection should be assessed against
the curriculum it supports. Not all instructors utilize an AV collection
so, if the overall purpose of the AV collection is to specifically support
the instructors efforts in teaching rather than the students efforts in
learning (meaning that titles are selected for instructors class efforts and
teacher requests/suggestions rather than for individual student checkout),
the collection scope could be very limited (both in subject breadth and
depth). Although there are a few title comparison books available (like the
Public Library Catalog), they are old and haven't been updated - but there's
no source like Winchelll/Sheehy, etc. that says this is the best title out
ther on [this] subject at the present - for a comparison.

Your CD policy should specify the purpose of your collection, how titles are
selected added/deassessed (mechanics as well as philosophy) and provide you
with weeding guidelines. Is circulation a big issue in your library? Do
you have subject areas where you wish to collect? - Turnover rates
(comparing the circulation of one item for a period of time against either
the entire collection or a specific part for that same time period) proves
invaluable for measuring popularity and if you need more items in those
categories. But care must be given to comparing more popular titles against
less popular; i.e. Danielle Steel novels go out much more than plumbing
videos). You could develop a baseline for ave. age of your collection
(from copyright dates) but I'd say divide it up by major subjects (using the
26 LC or 10 DDC divisions). Categories like medicine, etc. should be no
more than 2-3 years old, but categories such as history, music or literature
may be perfectly good with stuff that's 20 years old as long as there is an
influx of new stuff (it depends upon the use/purpose of the specific
collection). Another age-old assessment comparison was the number of
titles/volumes in a particular subject area compared to the number of
faculty or number of student body. I think that comparison is pretty
bogus - I'd like everyone in my community to take out 37.8 items at once so
that I wouldn't have anything on my shelves!!

So we've got the following critera:

Age of collection (ave. by subject division)
Poss. number of items by same subject division
Overall yearly circulation activity of each item compared with the relative
circulation activity of that subject category (turnover)
If you do ILLs or other off-campus loans - what are you getting for people
that you should have in your collection?
What items are students/professors requesting that you don't have (not
necessarily specific titles but subjects - trends, etc.)
Why are you weeding in the first place? Do you need space? Has
circulation/use fallen?
Comparisons from another library AV collection - title list or from your
library's book collection.

Hope this helps - or you could hire me as a consultant - I love to do this
kind of stuff - we'd develop an assessment tool and you could sell it to all
the other college and university libraries. I'm sure that Kristine
Brancolini (IU or ACRL) has developed a CD assessment tool for AV materials
(it might be dated) but I know that they have several examples of CD
policies as does Gary Handman's and Jim Scholtz's books. More than you ever
wanted to know I bet - Sorry. Jim S.
-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu]On Behalf Of Mark Richie
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 10:37 PM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Collection Development Assessment

Threatt, Monique L wrote:

Thanks Mark.

Actually, I think a good assessment form could potentially address all
or at least a great deal of the issues you raise in your e-mail.

Assessing a collection is a subjective process, but I also think it
would be ideal if collection managers had a "base guideline" in which to
assess a collection, and one that could be further manipulated as needed.

Right now, I am interested to see how others assess their
collection(s)--what type of questions or criteria do they set for the
collection. I know it is my responsibility to create a final assessment
form that will meet the needs of IUB faculty and students.

Thanks again.
--Monique
-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of Mark Richie
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2004 2:06 PM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] Collection Development Assessment

Hi Monique-
If such a form or checklist exists, I've never seen one.
Assessing an media collection comes under the heading of "professional
judgment," which is sometimes accumulated over several years and as a result
of learning from bad decisions.
The question is, Assessing for what? Age of the collection?
Suitability for patron use? Physical condition of the media? Ease of patron
access? Ratio of requests to turndowns? Relevancy of the collection to the
curriculum it is tasked to support? Nature and frequency of patron
complaints? Acquisition of new material in anticipation of patron need?
Scope of collection compared to the mission statement of the
media library? Are you really suppose to be keeping a dozen Screen News
Digest episodes from 1964 that haven't gone out since 1986, or is that the
job of another department?
Ron MacIntyre, Jim Scholtz and others have swapped plenty of
stories about media librarians cleaning house (or being ordered to clean
house) using some arbirtrary factor like number of circulation's or
copyright date - only to find dozens of titles removed with relevance to a
low incidence user or having historic value.
Fortunately you have the vast intellectual resources of this list
to draw on for your task. The rest of this thread will no doubt help us all.

Mark Richie
"Experience is a very poor teacher; it gives the test before
presenting the lesson."
Vernon Law (1930- )
Major League Baseball Player

Monique - keep all your notes, sounds like a good Phd project . . .good
luck with your efforts - hope others on the list can contribute.

Cheers - mark

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