Today’s selectors and bibliographers are being challenged to know everything about everything! It’s no longer good enough to build a career upon mastery of the book trade, or a deep knowledge of the reading interests of local faculty. The modern collection manager needs to engage a broad knowledge-base of evolving trends in information technology—be they emanating from the academy, traditional publishers, the blogosphere and social networking sites, government (U.S. or foreign), or the private sector. The combination of new players in the library space, a more eclectic understanding of what constitutes a “scholarly resource," and evolving expectations of users has called into question the relevance of extant research library collection development policies and the defined roles of selectors charged with implementing those policies.
This conference intends to re-examine the traditional values that drove the work of earlier generations of collection librarians—and to a great extent defined the mission of our libraries—to see how those principles might be incorporated in new service models being developed for our campuses. Information seeking is no longer a local activity, so our notion of collection management needs to expand to take account of new forms of knowledge, new expressions of scholarship, and new strategies for enriching teaching and research. Mindful as they must be of maintaining the library’s core values of collecting, organizing and preserving information, our collection librarians have a unique opportunity to apply these tried and true principles to the broader information environment. Interacting on this expanded playing field offers exciting opportunities to partner with players beyond libraries and conventional publishing, and to assess and enhance the value these newcomers might bring to our users.
- Does it make sense any more to talk about “shaping” a collection for local use? When are locally driven guidelines still relevant for collection building? Is bigger better for most users? Is it cheaper to buy more than less?
- Can we provide any guidance on when a print or digital manifestation of a work should be the primary access medium?
- Open Access, and other manna from heaven—how do we locate, mine, service, and archive all sorts of free scholarship on the web?
- How is use data affecting collection development activity in our libraries?
- How do collection librarians develop, evaluate and lead partnership opportunities?
- What role should collection librarians play in developing our institutional repositories, data repositories, library publishing initiatives, and such “universal collections” as HathiTrust or the Google Books “library?”