Papers Panel: Converging Collections: Why Special Collections Needs to Think About Shared Print Collections
Sponsored by Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books & Manuscripts
Over the last 15 years, libraries have increasingly entered into consortial agreements to undertake collaborative collection development and management. Library administrators look to shared print collections housed in offsite high-density storage facilities to allow patrons access to greater amounts of material while also eliminating “duplicates” within the shared collection. Transfer and deselection decisions are made based on circulation data, algorithmically, and otherwise at a scale that does not easily allow for librarian intervention. That scale is not sympathetic to standard special collections workflows but our professional standards concerning collection development, cataloging, preservation, and bibliographical description should be informing the conversation.
Bob Kieft will lead off the presentation by giving an overview of the consortial agreements in the shared collections environment and the questions that various institutions and professional organizations are trying to address regarding shared print collections.
Karla Nielsen will present on the issues associated with shared collections raised during the process of revising the RBMS Guidelines for Transferring Material from General to Special Collections, which highlighted the need for clearly posted policies and suggested new ways to work across general and special collections.
Matthew Haugen will outline the realities of cataloging practice, such as limited use of fields, reconversion projects, and copy cataloging that make it difficult to use catalog records for deselection decisions without loss of items with copy-specific research value.
Andrew Stauffer will discuss the CLIR-funded Book Traces project at the University of Virginia, which has developed a set of procedures for the rapid scanning of print books, and has adapted collections management survey tools to identify copies with copy-specific value within the larger shared collections ecosystem.
Mike Garabedian will describe a survey tool he developed to define “artifactual completeness” that allows libraries to survey their mutually held copies quickly and inexpensively for such copies.