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Selection and Management of Electronic Information

Collection Development Policy According to Evans (1995), “Collection development” and “Collection management” are often used with much the same meaning – the process of meeting the information needs of a service population In a timely and economic manner using information resources locally held as well as from other organizations. Jenkins and Morley (1999) explain that “Collection development” Implies building and growing, dealing with the selection and acquisition of library materials, while “Collection management” emphasizes the systematic management of a library’s existing collection, rather than selection and acquisition.

However, American Library Association (1996) states that collection development includes selection, acquisition, user assessment, collection evaluation, collection maintenance and weeding. It is usually held that, to be effective, collection management must be based on an agreed, regularly reviewed collection development policy. “Collection development policy’ (CDC) is the written statement of a plan to correct collection weaknesses while maintaining its strengths and provide details to guide the library staff (Evans 1995).

The American Library Association (1996, p. 1 5) defines CDC as documents which fine the scope of a library’s existing collections, plan for the continuing development of resources, Identify collection strengths, and outline the relationship between selection philosophy and the Institution’s goals, general selection criteria,

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and intellectual freedom. While SILICA (1990, p. L) sees CDC as a statement of general collection building principles which delineates the purpose and content of a collection in terms relevant to both external and internal audiences.

It can therefore be said that CDC is a document drawn up by a specific library to provide guidelines whereby the collection is developed and managed to meet the deeds of that particular user group. The policy should also explain the acquisition and collection management practices of the library. Arguments against writing a Collection Development Policy Some libraries hesitate to write collection development policy. Snow (1996), an opponent to the CDC, states that written collection development policies are Just wasted words.

According to him, librarians must Involve In collection evaluation, which require hours of labor and substantial amount of money to finish before weaknesses of the collection, resources available to patrons, etc. Are required (Evans 1995). Snow (1996) also believes that the written policy is inflexible and fails to adapt to changes in the parent institution and the community. Continuous revisions of the policy are time-consuming and never ending. A further problem is that CDC has no value in libraries where professors do most of the selection.

It is also useless in cooperative venture because library tends to develop its own collection according to local needs. Why have a Collection Development Policy in the sass In 1977, a survey of the Association of Research Libraries indicated that only 29% of its members had written policies. Another survey in 1988 produced a higher argental (58%) of small and medium-sized libraries using collection development policy (Snow 1996). It was also found in a recent survey conducted by Casserole and Hedge (1993) amongst academic libraries in the United States that 71. % of the respondents indicated that they have written collection development policies. Although the value of collection policies is not universally accepted, library professionals believe that a collection development policy statement is a necessary tool leading to consistent, informed decisions Monsoons 1997). Odin (1994) finds that the lack of CDC statement at the Kenya Polytechnic Library sakes it impossible to identify the needs of the clientele and to establish priorities for the allocation of resources to meet those needs.

CDC statement would be an important expression of those priorities in the order in which they relate to the development of library resources. Use as a planning document The reduction in funding and inflation in the price per item, especially in electronic resources, make librarian difficult to plan for future collection. The CDC is an important planning document for the library. The policies describe the user community, define the institutional mission and assess user needs. This information provides a conceptual framework to guide budget preparation and allocation Monsoons 1997).

Besides, priorities for collection management such as selection, deselecting, preservation, storage are guided by collection goals. White and Crawford (1997) advocate the use of a CDC, particularly with regard to electronic resources, in order to guide us in our decisions, to address user needs, and to help us plan for future. Use as a vehicle for communication The proliferation of electronic formats available have made the task of selection even more complex than in the past. Policy statements formally document practice.

They serve to coordinate selection when responsibilities for selection are dispersed among many selectors. The process of selection of library material is complex and many selectors approach the task with little training or guidance. CDC can be used as a training document for librarians in the performance of their duties. Thus more control in selection and management of collection could foster shared values among the selectors Monsoons 1997). Besides, Evans (1995) states that a written policy can assure continuity and consistency in the collecting program despite changes in staff and funding.

Use as a means of protection CDC can serve to protect intellectual freedom and prevent censorship. Groups might strive to impose censorship on the library or try to get the library to purchase irrelevant materials. CDC can provide guidelines to protect the library from those inappropriate items and specify the conditions under which the library accepts gifts Monsoons 1997). The action of weeding library materials and changing materials from printed formats to electronic formats often provides vocal reactions from users.

CDC can protect the library from bias and explain action of the library. How to revised the CDC f the sass Getting start Firstly, a committee is formed to draw up the policy. The role of the committee is to offer advice to the editor of the policy, support the process, and ensure that the policy represents a reasonable level of consensus (Whitehead 1989). It is unusual for a single person to draw up the policy. The committee should include only the library staff or also include non-library staff of the parent institution or organization.

This may be the only way to arrive at a mutually acceptable policy. Besides, The members of the committee must be enthusiastic about the project and should have the knowledge to see the smooth progress of the project (van Jill, 1998). Moreover, a timetable should be drawn up to indicate the progress of the project. It is also important that responsibilities of members should be assigned. Goals of the library and the parent institution or organization should be clearly stated. Collection evaluation and user assessment should be done in order to meet the needs of users.

Style of presentation The style of the written policy should be simple and clear so that it can be easy to read. In order to combat the problem of CDC being too rigid, the wording provides or as much flexibility as possible so that it can be apply to any new changes (van Jill, 1998). Writing the policy Certain issues are usually considered for inclusion in collection development policies. These include the following (Whitehead 1989): The mission and goals of the library and the parent institution or organization The purpose of CDC The policy context Clientele served Background to the collection Type of access.

Statements about formats A breakdown of collection policies by subject or library development or other aspect. Statements about weeding and discard Statements about other collections and resources Something about how the policy will be amended Appendices can be forms which will be used to guide decision making. These may include checklists, questionnaires or decision matrices to guide bibliographers in the evaluation of criteria, as well as the procedures for acquiring, cataloging, processing and managing electronic resources.

Review After finish writing the policy, the committee should review the document again. It can consult legal counsel to review the areas dealing with copyright, licensing agreement and other aspects which have legal implications, especially in electronic resources. Collection policies of electronic resources Internet in the sass are changing the complexion of locally owned collection. Therefore electronic resources collection management decisions require special attention.

Electronic information collection policy is considered to be a vehicle for coordinating the development of print and electronic components of collection Electronic information is delivered in new and rapidly changing formats. The skills necessary to understand and use electronic information resources are different from traditional resources. CDC can provide a framework that suggests the decisions hat need to be made Monsoons 1997). The total cost, which may include hardware, access software, site preparation, technical support, connect costs and maintenance, etc. Lead to high price to acquire or access a single electronic resource. These costs go far beyond those of the traditional materials. As a result, the policies should include statements that can guide decisions about funding the infrastructure and about technical feasibility. Negotiating licenses is a new phenomenon for most libraries in this 21st century. CDC protects libraries in legal matters, for examples, agreements on limitations on access and ownership of discs and tapes, restrictions on downloading and duplicating support documentation and copyright restrictions.

The policies should clarify who has responsibility for selecting electronic resources and who has authority for negotiating and signing contracts. Moreover, CDC should include guidelines for selection and deselecting of material which specify the criteria to be employed and the procedure for removing material. For examples, the time frame for running a link-checking program and measurement criteria for technical performance (stability and access) (Spook 1998). It is valuable to include a section clarifying what type of access is provided to the collection such as the hardware for accessing electronic media.

SILICA (1990) suggests that CDC should include possible restrictions to remote access to electronic media and spell out hypertext links to Internet web sites on the library’s Poppa’s as an additional means of providing access to information. Conclusion The compilation of a collection development policy is a time-consuming task and that without continuous care, revision and attention the CDC could become out of date and useless. However, according to the above analysis, it seems that a carefully rain up and regularly revised CDC must have great value in a library.

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