The purpose of this article is to describe the ongoing process of weeding, streamlining, and transforming a very large, print‐based reference collection at the University of Louisville's William F. Ekstrom Library, focusing in particular on the various issues involved in developing a more timely, focused, and electronic‐oriented collection.
Over the years, the Ekstrom Library reference collection evolved into a large, neglected, print‐based collection that ignored current space needs and user preferences for digital sources. To address this, the reference department developed a new, cooperative approach to reference collection development and weeding to improve the user experience and address serious space issues.
To achieve a more usable reference collection, the reference department needed to rethink the philosophy behind the collection and completely rewrite the collection development policy. These changes have facilitated the creation of a smaller, more user‐friendly collection that embraces the digital environment.
The article highlights problems and approaches to refocusing a reference collection in a time of transition, as physical library spaces continue to evolve and the value of a traditional reference collection appears increasingly uncertain.
Detmering, R. and Sproles, C. (2012), "Reference in transition: a case study in reference collection development", Collection Building, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 19-22. https://doi.org/10.1108/01604951211199146Download as .RIS
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