Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 5 July 2011



Cassell, K.A. (2011), "Editorial", Collection Building, Vol. 30 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/cb.2011.17130caa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Collection Building, Volume 30, Issue 3

A recent discussion on a listserv made me begin to wonder what our collections of the future will look like. The particular incident involved trying to determine how many library schools/academic libraries owned a certain reference work. It appeared that more libraries owned it than one could determine from looking at WorldCat. Some had online access but had not listed it as one of their holdings. I thought this was quite interesting and wondered whether in the future we will have trouble determining the scope of library collections if e-materials were not all listed in the catalog. I had begun to notice this early on as libraries subscribed to databases but made no attempt to list the contents in the catalog.

So what does this mean for our collections? Will it be more difficult for the user to know what the library owns or subscribes to? Are we loosing control of our collections as we buy package after package of e-materials that we have not selected? Will all library collections begin to look the same because so little title by title selection is being done? There is definitely a danger in having this happen. Libraries must continue to look for unique materials no matter the format that will serve their users. The importance of developing collections that serve a particular user body will be important in developing a collection that reflects the unique interests of the library’s users.

So how will libraries do this? For one thing, librarians must continue to read selection tools and also to comb pertinent listservs and online catalogs looking for new materials. New materials may come from many sources – smaller presses, publishers from other countries, and self published works by individuals with solid knowledge in an area. Some may still be in paper for the time being, but many will be born digital. Librarians must spend their time evaluating new sources of material and acquiring those that represent new points of view and information in newly expanding subject areas. It is not as easy to find the new because it comes in many formats and from non-traditional sources. But it is what will distinguish one library from others.

Kay Ann CassellLecturer, Department of Library and Information Science, Rutgers, The State University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

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