[Videolib] Collection Development Assessment

James Scholtz (jimscholtz@sdln.net)
Wed, 15 Sep 2004 15:28:44 -0400

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MessageSorry for this response to Monique's query going out on the listserv,
but I don't have HER direct e-mail. I want to apologize for calling Monique
a HE - my error - I just didn't even look. I sincerely apologize. I
actually wasn't trying to blow your question out-of-proportion, just giving
you some information. Because I'm in a public library - collection purpose,
clientele and material types being totally different, I'm not sure if my CD
information would be of any value to you (collection age, turnover rates for
various subjects, collection make-up proportions, etc.) I can provide you
with the selected list of feature films (about 2000+) if you send me your
e-mail. I too, echo your positive sentiment about the value of this
listserv. The people on the list have helped me enumerable times with
various questions and problems. Thanks to everyone for responding.
Actually, this question brings up a very interesting possibility. I always
like to use the listserv for further analytic studies and did so when
everyone was asking about CD/DVD cleaning/reapair units (resulting in my
5/15/04 LJ article/special AV issue comparing some vaious units). Wouldn't
it be great if VRT, PLA AV, ACRL AV could come up with some new base
guidelines or an assessment tool to be used in conjunction with an
institution's CD/selection policy to help staff get some statistics with
which to evaluate their collection. How do we get the ball rolling on
this - I'd love to coordinate and seek publishing. Who would like to
contribute and what information do we have already. Contact me by e-mail
jimscholtz@sdln.net or phone 605-668-5276 to get the ball rolling. I think
this would be a valuable tool. Jim S.
-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu]On Behalf Of Threatt, Monique
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 3:05 PM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: RE: [Videolib] Collection Development Assessment

Hi Jim,

I don't know many men with the name Monique, but okay.

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


-----Original Message-----
From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of James Scholtz
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.
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.
-----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
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

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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