Date: March 31, 2019
Hi Class. I've asked you to read a lot this week simply because collection development and acquisitions is a complex problem for electronic resources. Again, in the print-only days, acquiring resources was a fairly linear process. Librarians became aware of an item, sought out reviews of the item, perhaps collected it, described it, and then shelved it. And perhaps, depending on the type of the library, weeded it out of the collection at some point down the line. But there are so many more vectors to be aware of with electronic media. Not only do libraries not necessarily own digital works (they may), but different subscription services require different kinds of contracts. The media (ebooks, journal articles, etc.) require handling and disseminating in different ways due to not just technological barriers but also because of licensing barriers. And so forth. Martin et al. (2009) really nail the issue down in their article this week when they write, on page 216, that:
As much as we would like to think our primary concerns about collecting are based on content, not format, e-resources have certainly challenged many long-established notions of how we buy, collect, preserve, and provide access to information (p. 217).
Although a world where the format dictates so much makes an interesting world, it's also problematic and can be worrisome. We do think that content should be king, but what we also have to ask, how can format either prevent or facilitate access? If you catch the implicit there, you can see that we're building a thread between acquisitions, collections development, and usability, which we'll come to later in the semester.
One thing about this week: in a collection development course, you would definitely focus on content and on what it takes to create a collection development policy. Those things are relevant to the acquisition and collection of e-resources. However, in a major way, one of the things you should take away from this week's reading is how much the management of electronic resources have impacted librarian work flows and how that has shaped, or reshaped, have library organizational hierarchy. I'll provide an organizational chart for you to discuss, and we'll use it to talk about how much electronic resources have shaped the organizational structure of the library.
Also, the Lamothe (2015) article is interesting in a different way. Lamothe finds that if an electronic e-reference source is collected and continually updated, then it gets continually used, but if it's a static e-electronic resource (compare, e.g., to a resource pushed out in PDF, although it could be in HTML), then usage declines. I think additional studies should pursue this line of questioning, but it raises really interesting questions about the expectations that our patrons have about our content.
Finally, and this is really big right now, but the Open Educational Resources issue is major. Textbook prices, as the article by England et al. (2017) notes, have skyrocketed in recent decades. Some textbooks cost hundreds of dollars, and of course, the problem impacts both school and academic libraries. UK Libraries has a nice page on Open Educational Resources. I'll provide a link to it here in the transcript and in the discussion prompt, and that page links to OER content for both types of libraries, including the oercommons.org. Explore this information, and discuss whether libraries ought to collect and acquire these resources (e.g., by adding records to them in their online public access catalogs), or should they not be involved at all?
England, L., Foge, M., Harding, J., & Miller, S. (2017). ERM Ideas & Innovations. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 29(2), 110–116. https://doi.org/10.1080/1941126X.2017.1304767
Lamothe, A. R. (2015). Comparing usage between dynamic and static e-reference collections. Collection Building, 34(3), 78–88. https://doi.org/10.1108/CB-04-2015-0006
Martin, H., Robles-Smith, K., Garrison, J., & Way, D. (2009). Methods and Strategies for Creating a Culture of Collections Assessment at Comprehensive Universities. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 21(3–4), 213–236. https://doi.org/10.1080/19411260903466269