This course introduced the various roles involved in collection management, covering aspects such as resource selection, preservation, digitisation, storage, disaster management, budgeting, serials management and collaboration.
The most interesting lecture, from my point of view, was on open access, of which I had little previous experience. The lecture was given by Josh Brown from JISC, and gave a broad introduction to the open access movement. Brown championed the values of the open access movement, taking an inspiring quote from the Budapest Open Access Initiative:
“Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.”
The lecture then looked specifically at the implications and challenges of managing open access resources in libraries, such as the need for librarians to curate, promote and preserve both access and content to OA collections.
Of the coursework assignments, I found the collection management policy to be the most valuable exercise, as it forced me to consider every aspect of the selection (and de-selection) process and how priorities must be given for certain resources over others by limiting collecting by creating geographical, language, academic level, age, and subject area restrictions. My policy for was written for an English Literature collection at a university, and therefore also had to take into account the conflicting priorities between taught student and research collections.
Writing the policy encouraged me to consider what was unique about collection management for a specific subject. For example, one particular of English Literature collections is the lack of reliance on purely recent publications. The policy also took into account the changing nature of English Literature study, making provision for a shift in resource collecting toward emerging research areas, such as post-colonial studies. A chapter by Glenn McGuigan and Gary White, titled ‘Subject-specific policy statements: a rationale and framework for collection development’ was really useful for explaining why subject-specific collection development policies are valuable and how best to write them.
The course was a good opportunity to develop policy writing skills, learn to critically evaluate resource formats, and to generally gain a deeper understanding of the complex array of elements that combine to create a successful library service.
- McGuigan, G.S., White, G.W. 2003. Subject-specific policy statements: a rationale and framework for collection development. In: D. Mack, ed. Collection Development policies: new directions for changing collections. Oxford: Haworth Information press, pp.15-31.
- Friend, F.J. The Budapest Open Access Initiative, 2002. In 2nd Workshop on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI): Gaining independence with e-prints archives and OAI (OAI2),CERN (Geneva, Switzerland),17-19th October 2002. http://eprints.rclis.org/handle/10760/4560#.T3dbjTES2Ag