[Videolib] Collection Development Assessment

Threatt, Monique L (mthreatt@indiana.edu)
Wed, 15 Sep 2004 14:05:14 -0500

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Hi Jim,
I don't know many men with the name Monique, but okay. =20
I have read both Gary's and your book, and I do have a CD policy. But
again, I think my initial request has been blown out of proportion.
So let me re-phrase the query. If any of you have conducted an
assessment of your collection--for whatever purpose--would you be so
kind as to share your questions/criteria. That's the bottom line of the
initial query.
Thank goodness we have this listserv to ask questions and voice our
opinions. Having said that, thank you so much for providing me with
your criteria at the end of this e-mail. I look forward to others
responding as well. =20

-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of James
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 11:39 AM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: RE: [Videolib] Collection Development Assessment
Hi Videolibbers, Since Mark mentioned my name in his collection
development response I couldn't resist responding. So here is my
thesis. =20
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? =20
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? =20
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.=20

-----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
Threatt, Monique L wrote:

Thanks Mark. =20
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
Thanks again.

-----Original Message-----
[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? =20
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
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=20

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

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