Acquisition of books, serials and other educational materials by libraries involves a complex decision process; especially when there are many books to choose from and the resources are meager. Attempts have been made in the past to take decisions concerning library acquisitions using structured information such as cost, availability of funds, and number of copies needed by the library, author and year of publication. The purpose of this research is to provide a framework for the combination of both structured and unstructured information in the library acquisitions decision process.
The research methodology involves the design of a knowledge‐based system, which is powered by the classical method of the analytical hierarchy process (AHP), which carries out a pairwise comparison (PWC) of acquisition decision variables.
The results of the study show that decision variables involved in library acquisitions can be grouped and hierarchically structured. The application of the pairwise comparison matrix produces eigenvectors that aid in stepwise refinement of the results of the conventional acquisition process in order to achieve some level of optimality in the decision process.
The framework provided in this study could be useful for library professionals and information scientists as a veritable library decision support tool that applies both structured and unstructured information in the acquisition decision process.
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