v31#2 Efficiency, Automation and the Continued Evolution of Collection Development

by | May 23, 2019 | 0 comments


by Ashley Fast, MLIS (Director, Collection Development and Workflow Solutions Central US, GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO)  

and Doug Way  (Associate University Librarian for Collections and Research Services, University of Wisconsin-Madison)  

The topic for this issue grew out of a piece we co-wrote in late 2018.  Asked to give our views on the impacts of automation on the future of monographic collection development for Charleston Voices, we provided our personal perspectives from the library and vendor side of the spectrum.  As we collaborated on this project it spawned some great discussions about current library collection development practices and the reliance on vendor services in libraries.  Shortly after it was published, we were asked to continue that collaboration and conversation for this issue of Against the Grain.

In thinking about topics to cover, we decided to focus on a few areas where we have seen libraries shifting from traditional practices as they seek efficiencies:  transitioning from liaison-centered collection development, the increased use of data and assessment in collection development, the continued integration of eBook models into collection development, and using consortial and vendor-supplied services to supplement traditional in-house processing and management of serials within technical services.  After talking through the relevant topics of the day and what things both libraries and vendors are confronting in collections and automation, we rounded up various perspectives on these topics, which we are excited to share with you.

Too often we have found libraries and librarians hesitant to embrace outsourcing services and automated approaches to collection development.  Yet, with tight budgets, shrinking staffs, and increased demands on library personnel, we feel it is imperative for libraries to explore new ways to develop and manage their collections.  With perspectives ranging from large ARL’s and comprehensive masters-level universities to vendors and consortia, it is our hope to highlight the different opportunities that exist for libraries to reconsider their workflows and practices.

We begin this issue with an article from Denise Koufogiannakis from University of Alberta.  She provides an overview of her university’s move from a selector-based approach to collection development to a more automated and centralized approach.  From there, we explore the use of data and assessment in automating collections workflows with a piece from Daniel Dollar of Yale University.  From collections and assessment, we segue into looking at how libraries are better-integrating eBooks into their workflows through various lenses.  Abigail Bibee from University of Arizona, Andrea Langhurst Eickholt from Eastern Washington University, and Jesse Holden from the Orbis Cascade Alliance outline lessons learned through the Alliance’s consorital eBook ventures.  We get a vendor perspective on working with libraries on electronic content and monographic workflow from Jenny Hudson from GOBI Library Solutions, in collaboration with Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez from the University of California, Berkeley.  This article explores how a major research library was able to better-integrate publisher eBook collections into their selection workflows.  We wrap up by looking at technical services. Providing a view on outsourcing technical services at a four-year comprehensive university, Jeffrey Daniels and Patrick Roth from Grand Valley State University take a look back at their efforts in this area over a five year period of time.  This issue concludes with a thought piece from Barbara Albee from EBSCO, exploring the concept of how library vendors work directly with libraries to streamline technical services and serials workflows and the view of that relationship from a vendor perspective.

One of the joys of working in and with libraries is constant evolution.  As libraries look to meet the changing needs of the organizations they serve, we believe they will need to continue to find efficiencies and leverage automated practices.  It is our hope that this issue sheds light on what libraries and vendors are doing today and will inspire others to look for ways to streamline practices in the future.



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