A Brief Handbook for Recommending Officers in the Humanities and Social Sciences Division at the Library of Congress
Abby Yochelson, Cassy Ammen, John Guidas, Sheridan Harvey, Carolyn Larson, Margo McGinnis
June 1997 (broken links fixed on April 2003)
Please note: As of January 2003, we are no longer maintaining this handbook and it has not been updated in several years. On April 2003, all broken links were corrected, but no further attempts will be made to correct them in the future
- Academic and Library-Related Listservs
- Collection Development Sites
- Review Sources
- Publishers, Vendors, and Bookstores
- Online Catalogs
- Survey of the Literature
- Recommendations for the Future
The Internet has the potential to change radically much of our work, whether it be as reference specialists or as recommending officers. The intent of this handbook is to provide practical guidance in using the Internet to extend the techniques we have traditionally used in the area of collection development. As recommending officers we review publishers' catalogs, national bibliographies or vendor-supplied title slips, read current professional literature for reviews, search other libraries' catalogs or bibliographic databases, and evaluate our collections using bibliographies on various topics.
Many of these activities, such as online searching of other libraries' catalogs, have become possible only in the last few years with the expansion of the Internet. Other traditional duties, such as searching publishers' catalogs, verifying bibliographic data, or looking for reviews of a work, can be done in a more timely fashion with the aid of the Internet. Consulting with colleagues at other institutions on your subject has become exceptionally easy through the use of email and listservs available through the Internet. Many of us are just beginning to explore ways to use this electronic tool to fulfill our recommending officer responsibilities more efficiently or in new ways. We hope this handbook will provide ideas for using new technology offered through the Internet for collection development.
The addresses for the Internet sites listed throughout this handbook are correct as of May 6, 1997. As we all know from experience, addresses change frequently!
Presently, the most useful Internet tool for recommending purposes seems to be listservs, which are also known as professional electronic conferences or email groups. It is recommended that you find and subscribe to listservs related to your field(s) of responsibility as a recommending officer. These can be academically oriented listservs such as those on American history, women's studies, or religion, or a listserv for librarians with a subject focus, i.e. religion librarians, art librarians, sports librarians, American and English literature librarians, and law librarians.
The subject listservs with an academic focus are useful for:
- identifying and reviewing new sources
- getting recommendations for best works on a particular topic
- finding experts on a subject
- gaining knowledge about new trends in a field
- learning about new electronic sources on the Internet
The listservs with a subject focus for librarians discuss the above topics, but also cover areas specifically designed for library interest. They may:
- compare CD-ROM versus online products
- offer deselected materials
- discuss collection policy issues
- provide extensive bibliographies
- announce conferences and employment opportunities
- allow librarians to consult with colleagues in the same field on best sources for answering particular reference questions.
Discussions on such lists can provide convincing support when a recommendation is challenged or may help you fill gaps in your collection with donations from other libraries.
In one case at the Library of Congress, the recommending officers in science fiction and fantasy, Eric Johnson and Colleen Stumbaugh, have started their own listserv and act as its moderators. In addition to drawing on the knowledge of many experts by querying the listserv, they have been very successful at augmenting the Library's collections by soliciting donations to the Library.
Two world wide web sites provide directories to assist you in finding suitable listservs or electronic conferences.
DIRECTORY OF SCHOLARLY AND PROFESSIONAL E-CONFERENCES
This extensive directory compiled by Diane Kovacs and the Directory Team can be searched by keyword or discussion name, or you may browse by subject or category listing or alphabetical listing. Once you select relevant listservs, subscription information is provided for each.
LIBRARY-ORIENTED LISTS AND ELECTRONIC SERIALS
This site provides title and subject indexes for lists, newsgroups, and electronic serials. It also includes links to other academic lists and electronic serials, as well as the WWW Library Resources site.
There are also two major listservs directly relevant to the topic of collection development. Neither list appears to have heavy traffic. Anyone with a broad interest in collection development may wish to subscribe to these lists. The subject-oriented listservs described above, however, appear more useful for our daily recommending duties.
This web site describes the listserv ACQNET-L which deals with a variety of questions, e.g., ethics in acquisitions policy, how to fire a vendor, good sources for Danish books, and the renewal policies of Commerce Clearing House. Occasional papers about aspects of acquisitions, including collection development, appear. The listserv maintains a searchable archive.
This listserv covers similar topics. It is described as a moderated discussion e-conference directed primarily to library collection development officers, bibliographers, selectors, plus others involved with library collection development, including interested publishers and vendors.
There are a number of sites published primarily by libraries or library organizations that are intended to aid in acquisitions and collection development work. Such sites typically publish or link to acquisition lists, collection development policies, demonstration projects, publishers, vendors, other libraries, and directories of discussion groups. A few of the major sites are described below.
This is the largest of the collection development websites and probably the most useful for our purposes. There is a large list of links to publishers and vendors, and to libraries, including GABRIEL (European national libraries). The publishers directory has broad subject access (art, education).
ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH LIBRARIES (ARL) COLLECTIONS PROGRAM
This and the ARL Gopher (linked) are among the best collection development sites. There are links to ARL libraries, a directory to AAU/ARL Demonstration Projects (the German Demonstration Project, for example, tests linking between North American and German libraries), and to recent publications (e.g., "Acquisitions of Western European Materials," "Western European Political Science: An Acquisition Study").
QTECH WEB ACQUISITIONS RESOURCES
This page is maintained by Queen's University, Canada. There are links to a number of publishers and vendors (Ebsco, Faxon, Blackwell North America, Canadian publishers, UMI). There is also a directory for serials acquisitions, including ISSN International Centre, Serials in Cyberspace, and North American Serial Interest Group. Lastly, there is a directory of discussion lists.
UNC-CHAPEL HILL LIBRARIES
ACQUISITIONS DEPARTMENT HOMEPAGE
This is similar to QTECH. There are lists of publishers' catalogs on the Internet, library catalogs, news sources, and other useful links. Like QTECH, the emphasis here is on acquisitions rather than collection development itself.
ACQLINK: RESOURCES FOR ACQUISITIONS LIBRARIANS
This British site is useful especially for its links to LIS-Acq and LIS-Serials, listservs devoted to acquisitions of books and serials respectively. The links are mostly to British sites and are about the technical aspects of acquisitions. They might be useful for someone with a special interest in British acquisitions.
INTERNET LIBRARY FOR LIBRARIANS: ACQUISITIONS, SERIALS,
AND COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT
Created by Vianne Tang Sha, Automation and Bibliographic Management Librarian, University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Law Library, this site includes a section with links to online collection development policies and procedures from a number of libraries, as well as sections on software; library journals related to acquisitions and serials; serial vendors; email lists and newsgroups; review sources for books, cd-roms, software, movies and videos; publishers catalogs; lists of foreign book and serial vendors; and under "Reference Tools," links to sites offering currency converters, shipping and postal information, and online glossaries of bibliographic information by language.
BACK ISSUES & EXCHANGE SERVICES
The Internet has provided an efficient method for libraries to exchange materials and fill gaps in serial collections. This site links to several services including those listed below.
BACKSERV is devoted to the informal exchange of serial back issues and books among libraries. Backserv provides a forum for the listing of both available and desired serial issues and books in all non-medical subject areas. This site also includes links to several online back issues dealer catalogs, including the US Book Exchange.
ALA/ALCTS DUPLICATE EXCHANGE UNION
Sponsored by the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services and maintained at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, participants submit exchange lists in predefined form by anonymous ftp or email.
Additional Sites of Interest
A number of library organizations with a subject focus maintain homepages with links to useful collection development sites. A good example of this type of homepage is the Art Libraries Society (ARLIS) (http://www.arlisna.org/). There is a section listing "Subject Resource Guides" on various topics such as architecture and urban and regional planning which would provide invaluable bibliographies for evaluating our collections. In addition, a section entitled "Collection Development Resources" provides links to such areas as "Art Publishers, Distributors, & Vendors on the World Wide Web," "Publishers on the Internet," and "Faxon's List of Publishers on the Internet."
Additional valuable sites for collection development appear nearly daily. As we become more familiar with the Internet resources in our subject areas, we will discover such tools rapidly. One such site is provided by the National Library of Australia (http://www.nla.gov.au/). Intended to assist Australian collection development librarians in the assessment and evaluation of their collections using the Conspectus methodology, this online guide provides a current listing of core collection benchmarking and assessment tools. Although a few of the topics are geared toward Australian collection development topics, the majority relate to our own subject responsibilities such as women's studies, religion, and literature. This site provides excellent service in pulling together a large number of useful sources in a single place.
There are a few specific sites for finding online reviews which are relevant to our recommending officer duties.
RETTIG ON REFERENCE
(October 1995 - September 1997)
RETTIG ON REFERENCE
(October 1, 1997, to September 30, 1999)
April 2003: Rettig on Reference is no longer available
James Rettig's reviews of recent reference books includes entries dating back to 1995. All are reference titles and most are from the United States. The reviews are thorough, timely, and would be useful in helping to select materials for our reference collections.
REFERENCE REVIEWS EUROPE ONLINE
The University of Pennsylvania manages this site containing English translations of recently published reviews of European reference works and bibliographies from the German journal Informationsmittel für Bibliotheken.
There are numerous other places for finding online reviews. They are found through the listservs described in Part II, in newsgroups, and by reading electronic serials. Links to many serials are provided in the sites described above. In addition, the Library of Congress currently subscribes to Project Muse.
http://muse.jhu.edu/ (subscription only)
Project MUSE is maintained by Johns Hopkins University and provides the full text of more than 40 scholarly journals in disciplines including history, literature, religion, philosophy, political science, and performing arts.
For reviews in the field of history, recommending officers can make use of H-Net Reviews (http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/) to scan the table of contents of the American Historical Association Review on the web. Other reviews can be found through publishers or bookdealers listed below. In addition, specific sites by subject are often maintained for reviews. For example, up to 200 titles of current feminist and popular women's titles are reviewed at Women's Books Online (http://home.cybergrrl.com/review/), although these reviews are popular and often biased.
Another Internet source of popular reviews and book discussions is USENET. USENET is an Internet-accessible computer network that allows the posting and reading of articles in newsgroups on specific topics. Although most librarians subscribe to listservs and are less likely to take advantage of newsgroups for collection development purposes, they can be a valuable source on very focused topics. Discussions of all types of books can be found at rec.arts.books, while other book-related newsgroups are devoted to specific genres or authors. Usenet requires a newsreader. One such newsreader, TIN, can be accessed through your RS8 account which will allow you to see the newsgroups from which LC receives messages. Once you are signed onto your RS8 account, type tin. Type y to yank all the newsgroups LC receives into Tin. You can then select newsgroups relevant to your interests and Tin keeps a record of these groups in a file on your RS8 account.
Many publishers, vendors, antiquarian bookdealers, and bookstores have begun to offer their services and publications through the Internet with new companies appearing each day. In addition to the usual descriptions found in publishers' catalogs, such sites often include reviews of the works listed. The lag time for finding reviews using such traditional tools as the Book Review Index or the Book Review Digest is often so great that recommending officers can not take advantage of such sources when making decisions. The speed of publishing on the Internet assures that more substantive information about a work is available for making timely decisions.
It is possible to locate such businesses individually on the Internet, but there are a number of sites which pull together and link to many addresses. A few of these sites are listed below.
INTERNET BOOK INFORMATION CENTER (IBIC)
This site is oriented toward academic or research libraries. The IBIC Guide to Book-Related Resources on the Internet has directories of sites for authors, publishers, booksellers, and libraries, with hyperlinks. There are links to English, German, Spanish, and Dutch bookseller sites. There is a link to the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America site which allows keyword searches by author, title, subject, publisher, and bookseller with a forms-capable browser. One can also search by book dealer specialty.
The Bibliophile Bookshelf includes a directory of online resources for out-of-print books, and offers a service for finding volumes missing from sets. There is also a directory of Usenet newsgroups relating to books, but most of these are for author fan clubs.
One can register to be notified by email whenever a new title is added to any of several rather general categories of books such as management and leadership, military history, movies, or nonfiction.
Bookwire's value is its inclusion of book reviews from some specialized sources, such as Computer Book Review and Quarterly Black Review of Books, as well as more general sources, such as Boston Book Review and Publishers Weekly. You can easily bookmark such a site and examine it periodically for new books in your field. The advantage over print is that one need not wait for the title to be processed at LC and then routed. There are also separate directories listing thousands of publishers and booksellers. Each directory offers broad subject access, e.g., business, children's, ethnic, science fiction, travel. There are many links to other directories. There are also links to other libraries though these tend to be public libraries and small college libraries, the principal users of BOOKWIRE. One can search BOOKWIRE by author, title, or publisher.
A number of "cyberspace" bookstores have begun to appear on the Internet. These are businesses which do not have a traditional store or retail outlet, but simply sell through the Internet with delivery by mail. The largest of these companies is described below.
This service lists over 2.5 million titles searchable by author, title, subject, keyword, ISBN, and publication date. Descriptions of the works are listed, as are reviews when available. (Reviews from The New York Times Book Review are online here within a few days.) Readers may also add their own reviews or comments. You can set up a profile to be notified electronically of new titles in your area. Other features such as titles in the news or interviews with authors can be found.
Other more traditional bookstores and publishers have begun to offer services on the Internet. One of the most useful ones we have found is:
This British company's site lists over 3,000 books and 160 journals it publishes. It is searchable by author, title, subject, ISBN, and keyword. It addition to descriptions and timely reviews, it contains the full tables of contents for the works described.
While recommending officers have had access to the large bibliographic databases such as OCLC and RLIN for years, the Internet now provides access to catalogs of individual libraries in ever-increasing numbers. Many collection development librarians at other libraries are studying our collection overview statements and collection development policies available on the Library's gopher, MARVEL, and are searching our online catalog in order to make comparisons and find gaps in their collections.
Access to catalogs at other libraries provides the ability to:
- compare our holdings of works on particular subjects or by specific authors with the holdings of other libraries for collection analysis or for retrospective collection development
- verify bibliographic citations
- verify holdings
- build regional collections cooperatively
- learn if other libraries have received issues of irregularly published serials and identify issues that should be claimed
- identify newly published volumes in series or open-ended sets to ensure that our collections are complete
As recommending officers we may wish to search catalogs at institutions with collections as good, or in some cases, better than ours in certain areas. Examples of such libraries with catalogs available through the Internet are the New York Public Library, Yale, Harvard, and the University of California system. Some of these libraries can be reached through the Library's Z39.50 gateway described below. Others can be reached by searching MARVEL, selecting Internet Resources, and then selecting Hytelnet -- Connect to Library Catalogs and Other Systems. You also can reach other libraries' catalogs from LC's homepage by clicking on Explore the Internet, then choosing Gopher, Hytelnet, and Other Telnet Services under Internet Search Tools. Choose Hytelnet: Hypertext access to telnet sites. The resulting screen offers a choice of searching library catalogs arranged geographically or by vendor. A link to Help files for each of the vendors is also included. There are also links to WEB-CATS, Web-based library catalogs, as well as a link to a Publishers' Catalogues Home Page, which includes links to numerous publishers around the world. For another listing of library catalogs, you also can go directly to Online Catalogs (http://www.loc.gov/global/library/#catalogs).
Many foreign national and major research libraries are now accessible through the Internet, greatly extending our opportunities for evaluating our foreign-language collections. A number of European national libraries are available through the following sources.
GABRIEL - The Hague - National Library of the Netherlands
GABRIEL - London - British Library
GABRIEL - Frankfurt - Die Deutsche Bibliothek
The Conference of European National Librarians provides this service in several languages to improve and expand the dissemination of information about and from their institutions. GABRIEL, a very valuable collection development source, varies widely in access. Some libraries offer no online access, some are only in the national language, and some have complete access in English.
Based at the University of Manchester, COPAC provides unified access to the consolidated online catalog of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, and Oxford Universities and to Trinity College Dublin. Additional libraries will be included shortly.
One frustration in using the Internet for the purpose of searching catalogs is the necessity for learning each library's online system. However, the Z39.50 Standard Protocol for Information Retrieval was approved by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) in 1988. It is a standard for computer to computer query and retrieval. One part of the standard specifies the format of computer-to-computer queries, while another part specifies the way information is returned in response to these queries. It is specifically designed to work with text databases and the same fill-in forms are used to search more than 100 catalogs.
With the Z39.50 HTML Gateway we can use our web browser to search remote databases over the Internet. From LC the easiest approach is through the LC homepage. Under Research Tools, click the down arrow in the box and select Access to Catalogs at Other Libraries to go directly to a list of those that can be searched, along with the name of the software vendor used by each target library. From the LC homepage, it is also possible to reach the Z39.50 gateway by choosing Library Services and then clicking on Catalogs of Other Libraries.
The forms for searching the library catalogs listed at Access to Catalogs at Other Libraries are straightforward and are presented when the user clicks to choose an institution from the list. There are slight differences that depend upon the host. Sometimes there are small text boxes allowing you to specify a maximum number of records to retrieve and view. Some institutions offer a selection of several databases to search.
There are text boxes for entering up to three terms, each followed by two pull-down lists for specifying the appropriate field for searching each term and for characterizing it. Between the terms are radio buttons for choosing the logical operators AND, OR, and AND NOT that connect them. The searcher can choose to search each term from among some of the following fields: personal name, corporate name, conference, title, series title, uniform title, ISBN, ISSN, LC control number, LC call number, local number, subject, date of publication, music publisher’s number, note. The choices, and the number of choices, depend upon the host institution. Each term can then be described as a word, phrase, word list, date or other designation from another pull-down list that is to the right of each term and search field text box. Once again the exact list varies by institution. When finished click on the SUBMIT QUERY command button, or alternatively the CLEAR FORM button, at the bottom of the search screen.
Although some listed institutions include LC Call Number as one of the searchable choices, this selection does not appear to function well.
A number of commercial products, such as BookWhere? and CanSearch, have been developed as Z39.50 client software packages that are intended to facilitate searching multiple servers with one query. Theoretically, this would permit searching across a number of catalogs at the same time. Improvements are expected on these products and new ones are in development. They are not currently available at the Library of Congress.
Searching Online Catalogs: A Case Study
In addition to searching other library catalogs individually, it is possible to search the bibliographic databases, OCLC and RLIN, to learn of other libraries' holdings. Rather than searching item by item, we hoped to make use of these systems for searching by class number or by subject to learn what was held by other libraries but was not at LC. In this way, recommending officers can learn of new items or find gaps in our collections. For our purposes, there appears to be no way of using OCLC for this kind of search. (It may be possible at a "main-frame level" by running tape comparisons for a fee. WLN is beginning to offer such a service to help libraries build collections on a cooperative basis.) However, as individual recommending officers there is a way to use EUREKA, RLIN's easy interface to make comparisons with other libraries.
Sheridan Harvey, Women's Studies Specialist, has done the following case study to test various online catalog options on a specific subject.
Aim: To see whether recommending officers could use online library catalogs available on the Internet for collection development.
Methodology: I searched four online library catalogs, COPAC, HOLLIS, OHIOLINK, and EUREKA, for the subject GODDESSES. I picked this particular subject because it is a simple search, produces a manageable number of hits, and as the recommending officer for Women's Studies I have noticed that books on goddesses are often published by small/non-mainstream presses, so LC does not receive all important works.
In each catalog I limited the search to books published since 1991, non-fiction, in all languages. I first did the subject searches in the online catalogs and printed out brief records of the titles. I then searched LOC3 (Library of Congress' online catalog of books since 1975). Once I had identified the titles that were not in the Library of Congress, I returned to the Internet catalogs to print out full records for these missing works. This was a manual process to identify books not in LC in all of the catalogs except EUREKA. Identifying the records and printing out the full format was frequently tedious and often time-consuming. For a larger search, it would be worthwhile to make use of paraprofessional help. I searched the following databases.
COPAC is a consolidated online catalog of some of the largest university research libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The database has about 3.5 million records, representing the merged online library catalogs of the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Oxford, and Trinity College Dublin. This database was chosen because so many of the titles would be published outside of the United States. I was aware of the fact that several of these libraries receive copies of all UK publications, so just because an item is at Cambridge or Oxford University libraries did not mean that it has scholarly value.
HOLLIS is the online union catalog of the Harvard Libraries, selected because Harvard has superb libraries and extensive international collections.
OHIOLINK is a state-wide central catalog. This online union catalog includes records from many major college and university libraries, and the Ohio State Library.
EUREKA is the online catalog of the Research Libraries Group, a consortium of major research libraries. This database was selected because of the excellence of its member libraries, and because Cassy Ammen was able to search this database for GODDESSES with the same limits that I used in the other searches, but she was also able to request only those records that did not include a DLC (Library of Congress) in the location field. This kind of search would be wonderful since it should be limited to items that are not in the Library of Congress collections. (See instructions below for searching and limiting on EUREKA.)
Results: The searches resulted in a total of 228 hits, but there were only 128 different titles.The four catalogs produced 37 titles for which there is no LC record. Of these 14 are not wanted by LC (theses, pamphlets, different editions). The remaining 23 titles should be in LC's collections, as far as one can tell from a citation.
|Titles in LC||76|
|CIP, 1995 & earlier||3|
|In Process, 1996-97||1|
|In Process, 1995 & earlier||10|
|No LC record||37 (of these, 23 or 18% are wanted by LC;
and 14 are not wanted)
|Total no. of titles||128|
Findings: Recommending officers will be able to search online catalogs over the Internet to identify items that should be in the Library's collections. Using these 4 databases I found 23 titles that I believe should be here, and now I will order all those that are still available. I also found 13 "In process" and CIP records from 1995 and before. I intend to search Books in Print for the old CIPs and try to determine the problems with the old "In process" records. I will prepare Copyright claims or order the items as appropriate.
With the technology and knowledge available to me now, I will use online library catalogs, but only for carefully limited searches. I will try to search COPAC and OHIOLINK, each year, limiting the search to only one year's worth of records. Using just these two databases, I would have found 19 of the total 23 items not in LC, but wanted.
I had hoped to identify more foreign-language materials. Searching other foreign online catalogs could help here, but the searches might be more difficult (language problems, fewer limit capabilities, not many union catalogs yet). In time, the choice of online catalogs will surely grow, and the methods of searching them will become more sophisticated.
Searching EUREKA and limiting to items without DLC in the location field, did not prove as useful as we had hoped. Because of duplicate records and varying editions, only 12 of 32 items turned out really not to be in LC.
I believe that using library catalogs on the Internet will prove more useful to recommending officers in the future. This kind of search will be best when the list of titles from other databases can be easily, electronically compared to LC's online catalog, providing a list of titles that are not in LC. It is the comparing of the other catalog's list to LC's database that is so time-consuming since the catalogs do not produce the records in the same order. Some are sorted by author, some by title, and most by publication or acquisition date. Some new online catalogs have a shelflist capability. In a Windows environment, it may be helpful to compare catalogs side by side in this way in the future.
General Instructions for EUREKA using PROCOMM PLUS for DOS
Limits in EUREKA must be set before searching is done. In order to limit a EUREKA search to titles not held by the Library of Congress, as was done in the case study on goddesses just described, follow the steps below.
- Sign onto EUREKA. At the command line type set limit and press ENTER.
- The resulting screen will give you a list of available limit options. On the command line (which now reads "set limit"), type loc and press Enter.
- The resulting screen will give you a list of Library location codes, with Library of Congress used as an example at the top of the screen. To exclude Library of Congress items: On the command line (which now reads "set limit locs"), type not dclc and press ENTER.
- Note that once you are used to the system and/or are not interested in seeing your options on each screen, the entire limit command could be entered after signing onto EUREKA, tying in on the command line in step 2 above: set limit loc not dclc and pressing ENTER.
- Return to search screen and conduct search as you normally would. Limits stay active until you start a new session, reset a particular limit, or CLEAR limits.
- Search results can be printed using ALT L to toggle the printer on and off. Use PRINT and set parameters.
- Search results can be downloaded to a hard disk or floppy using ALT F1, followed by a DOS correct filename. Remember to close your log file by using ALT F1 or data will be lost. Use PRINT and set parameters.
- Search results may be mailed to a Internet mail account using SEND.
- Output is limited to 50 records per print, save or mail command.
A similar case study was reported to us by Eugene Beshenkovsky and Anthony Ferguson of Columbia University. They searched the catalogs of Columbia, Yale, Cornell, Princeton, and the New York Public Library for specific keywords with a date limit. This was particularly useful for searching for recent Slavic publications as they are difficult to acquire at a later date.
A survey of the literature using both traditional indexes such as Library Literature and the Internet yielded surprisingly little of use for this handbook. Most works covering collection development and the Internet discussed collecting electronic resources. Although this topic is beyond the scope of this handbook, it is not irrelevant to our collection development work. Many of the sources or techniques described above will assist recommending officers in finding electronic resources in their fields. The two sources listed below were particularly good for collection development and the Internet as it relates to the practical topic described in this handbook.
Johnson, Margaret Ann. "Collection Development and the Internet," In Collection Management and Development. (Papers presented at the Advanced Collection Management and Development Institute, 1993: Chicago, IL) Chicago : American Library Association, 1993, 63-79.
The author describes a survey which she did on the topic prior to her presentation. At that time, the major use of the Internet in support of traditional collection development was in the use of email and both subject specific and library listservs. Another major use of the Internet was to telnet to other libraries' catalogs.
Thomsen, Elizabeth. Reference and Collection Development on the Internet: A How-To-Do-It Manual. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 1996.
This manual provides a good overview of the topic and includes chapters on email groups, Gopher and the World Wide Web, using other library catalogs, and Usenet. Some sections are written at a very basic level, but instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe to a listserv are useful for the novice. Examples are generally good but the "figures" replicating computer screens take up many pages.
REFERENCE AND COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT: A BIBLIOGRAPHY
(April 2003 - no longer available)
This new site is still under construction and lists few references directly relevant to this handbook at this time. It does, however, appear promising as a source for finding works relating to collecting electronic resources.
A number of individual libraries post collection development pages informing readers of new acquisitions, collection development policies, etc. One colleague suggested that the Library of Congress develop a page for posting a desiderata list of items which are missing in inventory or declared lost, back issues not received, or out-of-print titles needed for our collections. Dealers could then check our site regularly and offer available items on an approval basis. We are in the process of discussing this possibility with the Order Division.
In many cases, librarians at other institutions no longer fill out standard acquisition forms but take advantage of the electronic capabilities to email or forward catalog records or reviews of desired items directly to their acquisition offices. We would like to explore the possibility of posting form LW 3/93 "Library of Congress Recommendation for Acquisition" electronically so that it could be filled in by a cut and paste method from other online sources. If there is some method of using ACQUIRE, the Library's acquisition system, and electronic records in the future, it may simplify and shorten the acquisition process. This function may be available when the new integrated library system is in place at the Library.
We have tried in these few pages to suggest ways in which librarians can use the Internet for collection development and have been learning and experimenting ourselves as we drafted this handbook. We found that academic and library-related listservs, collection development sites, review sources, online catalogs, and sites for publishers, vendors, and bookstores offer librarians new and efficient methods for performing traditional tasks. The Internet is growing so rapidly that it should become increasingly helpful for collection development. As more libraries put their catalogs online and as technology improves, it should become easier to compare the holdings of two libraries or to search only for items not in your own library.
In the near future we may all be as competent and enthusiastic Internet searchers as Dr. R. Laval Hunsucker. Dr. Hunsucker has collection development responsibilities in the fields of classical antiquity and Medieval and Byzantine Studies, and, together with other colleagues, has responsibility for interdisciplinary humanities publications and general reference at the University of Amsterdam. He replied to our listserv query asking librarians how they were using the Internet for collection development with this comprehensive response.
"Things have come so far that the Internet is one of the major instruments -- perhaps even THE major instrument -- which I use in collection development....Current awareness possibilities....I use both passive (subscription to carefully selected discussion lists, to a couple of newsletters via e-mail, to a specialist review-medium via e-mail) and active (searching the many publishers' catalogues which are on the Net [mostly via the WWW, but some still on gopher] -- including most of the major publishers in my own fields; looking in the reviews and "books received" sections of professional journals which have a presence on the WWW; checking out the archives of discussion lists, many of which are now in WWW-versions) current-awareness possibilities....Also reactive collection-development has in my case come more and more to involve using the Net. If a faculty member or other user suggests a certain publication for acquisition, I can often find the necessary further information without ever relying on paper sources: some resources I have mentioned above, but online library catalogues, union catalogues and cataloguing systems which are freely available on the Internet are also very useful....In practice I resort often to our own national online cataloguing system (PICA), since it's very easy to search on a combination of basic classification code and publication date. This way I profit from what colleagues elsewhere in the country have acquired or ordered, and I hope they do the same with things I have selected. Since our ordering procedures are fully computerized, and I ...[use] Windows, the whole process is even easier through the use of multi-tasking with downloading and cut-and paste (or in the case of PICA, attaching our code to the central record). If I'm really in a pinch for a descriptive or evaluative information on some publication, then I'll throw out a query on the appropriate specialist discussion list; useful reactions often come quite quickly."
This handbook is a first step to provide guidance to other librarians with collection development duties. We hope it gives some useful starting points for working with this incredibly powerful, frequently frustrating tool. We need to learn from each other, so if you have found any excellent sites of general interest or with broad coverage or new ways to use the Internet for collection development, please let us know at email@example.com.