Saturday, July 14, 2007

collection development

This past Thursday and Friday I attended a workshop on basic collection development taught by Peggy Johnson from the University of Minnesota, who literally wrote the book on collection development.

It was a great group, mostly from academic libraries, but also from public libraries and government libraries. I went because I thought I could use some additional grounding in traditional collection development -- print and serials -- which I deal with not at all.

I felt somewhat like the odd person out. Almost none of the other attendees dealt with digital collections other than e-journals. While there was a discussion of institutional repositories and open access, there wasn't really any talk of collection development strategies for IRs. When I raised issues of collecting directly from faculty and born-digital scholarship, there was agreement that this was a developing area of concern, but it didn't seem to be relevant yet for most of the attendees.

It was in no way a bad workshop. On the contrary -- she covered a lot of ground, and there were many lively group activities and discussions. I recommend it for folks who want to learn the basics. I discovered that I already knew a lot more about what was covered than I expected to. My experiences with collection reviews at museums and archives where I've worked in the past, my time on the Collections Group at UVA, and my work the digital collections had served me well. It should not be a surprise that the core activities -- analysis and assessment and outreach -- really are very much the same for digital collections as they are for "traditional" collections.


Dorothea said...

Yes. One more reason IR managers are behind the 8-ball; we can't get our own colleagues to help us!

May I quote this in an article I'm writing?

Interesting to consider all this in the light of cataloguing/metadata, too. I can tell you from experience that faculty don't want to do their own metadata, and largely aren't competent to. But catch a Technical Services department looking at this as a potential growth area!

Leslie Johnston said...

Please feel free to quote!

I spent the weekend doing a bit of self-analysis. Why do I feel like I'm a different sort of professional, when what I do has so much overlap in theory and in practice? I came up with something very circular and admittedly perhaps specious. The lack of mainstream awareness of our activities makes us feel somewhat like outsiders; but we haven't marketed what we do to our colleagues in a way that promotes awareness that would lead to a different level of acceptance of our activities as core and correlative and make us feel more a part of the traditional profession.

Dorothea said...

I've tried. Massive wave of distrust and indifference from colleagues.