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The new paradigm of collection management in university libraries: from crisis to revolution

Blanca San Jose Montano (Health Science Library, Mostoles University Hospital, Madrid, Spain)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 1 July 2014




This paper aims to argue regarding the evolution of the collection management as a gradual process where internal and external factors interact to transform the collection and its management activities. In this progress, cooperation is used as a necessary strategy for assuming its roles and to fit the new goals, mission and context of the library. Libraries are living organisms in continuous change to adapt to the context where they exist and which is the cause of their progress. It is formed by “vital elements” such as the collection – which is its basic element and the nucleus of its activity.


This argumentative paper establishes a logical reasoning of the evolution process of the “collection management”, with the application of Kuhn’s structure of scientific revolutions.


The library collection has had great changes, such as its origin, composition, ownership, volume and diversity, different life cycle from paper to digital formats and evaluation process. These changes have affected the principles and practices of collection management in three key areas: expansion and change of traditional activities in collection management; enlargement and modification of agents involved; and fundamental mission of giving access to all information resources needed by actual or potential remote users. The “cooperation” becomes an essential element and the main engine of great part of the collection management.


In this paper, Kuhn’s structure of scientific revolutions theory is used to establish the evolution of the collection management, to become a revolution, with a new paradigm “cooperative collection management”.



The author wishes to express his gratitude to Manuel Varela and to his daughter Sara, for their in translation support to this article.


San Jose Montano, B. (2014), "The new paradigm of collection management in university libraries: from crisis to revolution", Collection Building, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 90-97.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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