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Navigating the Parallel Universe: Education for Collection Management in the Electronic Age.


THE FOCI OF THIS ARTICLE ARE THE SELECTION AND decision-making aspects of the Edelmen model of collection development. The authors review the challenges facing library/information studies education and the place of collection development within that context. The implications for the library/information center's repertoire of the rise of a whole new class of resources is also considered. The authors suggest that a more comprehensive approach to the preparation of library/information service professionals with collection management responsibilities is now required.


For the second time in the past quarter century, library/information services is contending with a very dynamic information environment. This time the stakes are extremely high and go to the very core of libraries/ information centers as we now know them. The consequences of ignoring the burgeoning digital revolution are far higher than the grudging accommodation made for media in the 1970s and 1980s. At that time, in the wake of McLuhan (1964), many librarians were championing the role of the newer formats (films, video recordings, filmstrips, slides, sound recordings) in library/information services (Asheim, 1979; Boyle, 1971; Grove, 1975; Kujoth, 1968; Lieberman, 1975). Nonetheless, this cause never made much of an impression on the curriculum of ALA-accredited library schools. Little change occurred despite the fact that the ALA imprimatur carried with it the obligation to fully prepare library/information service professionals using all the information resources available. The end result was that only those in school library media programs were fully acquainted with the so-called nonprint media and their characteristics. There is scant evidence that nonprint media were exposed to others through the standard collection development courses. Building Library Collections (Carter, Bonk, & Magrill, 1974; Bonk & Magrill, 1979) both in the fourth and fifth editions spent little time exploring this arena. Gardner (1981) limited his discussion to an overview of the formats and the unique problems of selection, and Wortman (1989) confined his consideration of both educational and cultural nonprint media to two pages. Clearly collection development never left the sanctity of its print and paper domain despite the existence of alternative forms of information.

Today there is a revolution afoot. Consider the information resources available merely twenty-five years ago when books and serials were the mainstays of library/information center collections. Beyond library doors, there was also a rapidly growing world of sound recordings and film. Soon to become an integral part of the information environment were video recordings (evolving from reel to reel to videocassettes to video discs), cable television (CATV) networks, and compact discs. In the background loomed the birth of the personal computer (PC). At first the PC was used as a stand alone device that made a number of routine tasks such as writing much easier. The PC was the herald of a digital revolution whose limits have yet to be determined. In the 1990s, many media have been digitized to take advantage of this brave new world. Digitization of virtually all media has occurred over the very short time (barely twenty years) since the introduction of the Apple and its great rival from IBM. Today, printing is based on digital formats as are films, video, and audio. In the process, entirely new media classes have been introduced such as the CD-ROM /CD-RWROM and computer software for just about everything conceivable from games to complex statistical methods.

If this revolution had been limited to applications for stand-alone systems, it would not be as formidable a challenge for library/information centers as it has become. A ripple effect that turned into a tidal wave was created by the development of the means for the stand-alone PC to interact with other machines by the invention of the Local Area Network (LAN). Even the significance of the LAN would have had a limited impact on the library/information center collection if that was as far as the technology progressed, but this was not to be. The LAN was connected to other and bigger networks with a wider geographical reach. The biggest of these networks, now called the Internet, traces its roots to the 1970s and ARPANET. By the mid-1990s the Internet had burst into the consciousness of library/information professionals with the potential to completely alter the role of library/information centers in a wired world wide society. This newest member of the information environment has taken center stage and what library/information professionals must focus on is collection development.


The evidence of the impact of the new information environment is all around us. Casual observation of the classified pages of the telephone book (itself digitalized) reveals an enormous array of office supply and electronics stores that deal with computers and/or computer software along with an ever-growing

listing of services such as Internet service providers (ISPs) and computer consultants. Even the traditional bookstore has joined the digital revolution, offering its wares via the Internet. The number of households in the United States with at least one PC is reported at 40 percent. Of these, 25 percent have Internet access (Alter, 1999, p. 55). Johnson (1994a) estimated that in 1992 there were 535,000 hosts on the Internet. Of that number, 26,000 were designated with the educational domain name (.EDU), 36,000 were government (.GOV), and 26,000 were military (.MIL) (p. 65). The number of Web sites alone increased from 130 in 1993 to 646,000 in 1997. A study by Lawrence and Giles (1999) indicated that the number of "pages" of information on the Internet now exceeds 80 million. Goding (1997) estimates that 80 percent of the sites on the Web are commercial in nature (p. 16). The remaining 20 percent, from the EDU, GOV, and even the MIL domains, are of prime primary interest to library/information centers and/or their clientele. This is but one root of the problems facing library/information centers and those responsible for their collections and services.

The second major factor in the information environment is the changing dynamic in financial support for libraries/information centers. As early as the 1970s, library/information service professionals were aware of a growing fiscal problem that would have serious negative repercussions for collection development. From the post World War II years through the 1970s, the American economy had been on a roll, experiencing annual increases in economic activity of nearly 5 percent. In addition, the federal government took an activist role in supporting libraries with the passage of the Library Services Act in 1955. In the 1960s, federal funding continued to flow to public and academic libraries, and school library media centers were also recipients of funds. With the slowing of the economy in the 1970s and the decreases in federal subsidies, there came the realization that it might be necessary to re-think the ways that libraries/information centers operated. Bryant (1985) admitted in 1976 that even at Harvard the "reminders of inadequacy continue to increase in frequency" despite the acquisition of 2 million volumes in the prior seventeen years (p. 22). There were a number of factors at work that supported his statement. In the Bowker Annual (1974), the number of American books published in 1973 was reported as 39,951 titles (p. 194). They carried an average price of $12.20 (p. 210). By 1995, the number of American book titles had increased to 44,857 carrying an average price of $44.66 (Bowker, 1996, p. 543). A much more drastic crisis was developing in that other mainstay of the library/information center, the serial publication. In a twenty year span, the average price for these journals increased from $16.20 in 1973 to $149.46 in 1995 (Bowker, 1996, pp. 518, 546).

In the 1980s, resource sharing took on both an urgency and respectability never seen before in library/information centers (Mosher & Pankake, 1983, pp. 417-31). The North American Collection Inventory Project (NCIP) (Farrell, 1986; Farrell & Reed-Scott, 1989; Mosher, 1985) set the stage for the Research Library Group (RLG) Conspectus (Blake & Tjoumas, 1994; Ferguson, 1988; Ferguson, Grant, & Rutstein, 1988; Gwinn & Mosher, 1983; Forcier, 1988). With the development of CD-ROMs and the onset of electronic publishing of serials, it became obvious to library/ information service professionals that the "ownership model requires fundamental restructuring" (Kohl, 1997, p. 44). The response has been immortalized by the mantra "access versus ownership."

The addition of the heading "Internet (computer network)" to Library Literature in 1992 was the clearest indication of the new era faced by libraries/information centers. "Digital technologies," Goding (1997) points out, "appear to affect the core of what we do, how we do it, and where we do it" (p. 10). Despite this statement, Goding maintains that the basic function of library/information centers is to establish "intellectual and physical control of some of those information objects" (p. 10). Librarians, he continues, massage these same information objects to make them available to users (p. 10). Atkinson (1994) agrees that the role of the library/ information center is to "study the changing information needs of the academic community [and] design services that will meet those needs more effectively than services offered by other agencies inside or outside of academe" (pp. 92-93). However, he points out a dramatic difference between the locally owned paper/print world that characterized the past and the present digital age. In the analog era, the delivery of information took much longer. Physical entities (i.e., books and serials) had to be obtained from distant locales and physically brought to the library/information center. This required the library/information center to "gauge the current and future information needs of the local users, to determine which publications resident in the environment best would meet those information needs, and then to ensure, by installing these publications in close proximity to the local users, that less time is needed by those users to gain access to those more needed publications" (Atkinson, 1994, p. 95). Local needs dictated the ownership of the actual physical entities in the library collection. It was recognized that not all local needs could be accommodated which was, at least theoretically, supplemented by cooperative loan arrangements with other library/information centers.

In the digital era, technology has the power to completely eliminate the need to transport actual physical units over discreet geographic distances. The new technology permits nearly instantaneous digital delivery upon request. The "just in case" strategy of having a collection of physically present information is now mitigated with a "just in time" digital strategy. True resource sharing has become real rather than a theoretical goal. This new reality has tremendous implications for the concept of collection development and the education of those who will be marshaling the library/information resources to serve their clientele as this new age evolves.


The most obvious indication of the effect of the new information environment upon library/information science education is seen in the membership of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE, 1999). In 1990 there were fifty-nine members, forty-seven of which used the keywords "library" and "information science" in their school titles. Only three completely omitted the word "library" from their official name. By 1999, ALISE membership had been reduced to fifty-six and the number of schools with only information as their designation had increased to ten (ALISE, 1999). Suny-Albany, Drexel, and Syracuse had been joined by Florida State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Missouri, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Tennessee, the University of Toronto, and the University of Western Ontario (ALISE, 1999). Seven of these (SUNY-Albany, Drexel, Florida State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University, and the University of Tennessee) are ranked in the top twenty library schools in the 1999 US News survey. All but one, the University of Tennessee, has a doctoral program (Rutgers, 1999). There have been other indicators of change. The University of California-Berkeley program has been re-organized and is now only an affiliate of ALISE (ALISE, 1999). Of more importance to collection development is the implications of these changes for library/information science education in general and the place of collection development in the curriculum.

The first information age, Watson (1996) observes, was the result of universal literacy and high speed presses. The artifacts of this first era were physical entities (books, serials). The central problem for the emerging field of library economy was obtaining the physical entities, organizing them, creating tools for identifying them, storing them, and making them available to users. Schools of library economy focused intently on that mission. Drabenstott and Atkins (1996) indicate that the current information revolution is the result of a confluence of technology, new information media, and networking. A major difference, adds Watson (1996), is that "computers deal with conceptual space not physical space. They are not necessarily concerned with paper but the letters and pictures themselves, stripped of their ink and always available--on demand--for display. Information is created, stored and transmitted digitally at, literally, lightning speed. The computer has thus created a new, modern information synergy" (p. 38). Libraries in this setting become "the places where information is stored or the places from which it can be accessed" (p. 39). Librarians are "those who provide functional expertise to the library" (p. 39). Wallace (1991) adds that technology has determined "to some extent ... not only what librarians could do to achieve their goals, but also the goals they have chosen to address" (p. 98). This requires us to consider the changes required in the curriculum in general and collection development in particular.

Van House and Sutton (1996) define the domain of library/information science as "an experiential event between a user seeking information to satisfy a cognitive information need, and a potentially vast information store containing possible solutions to that need" (p. 132). All that the Second Information Explosion (to use Watson's term) has done is to make a difficult process even more difficult. The number and variety of possible information packages with data has greatly expanded, and the obstacles in identifying the apparently appropriate resources for retrieval and use have multiplied. Wallace (1991) suggests "since the introduction of electronic information technologies that the basic tools have changed. Collections must now include access to remote computer databases, computer disk databases, audio compact disks, microcomputer software, videotapes, and a variety of other electronic products and the hardware to facilitate their use" (p. 99). This alone has serious implications "for what schools of library and information science must teach their students regarding the selection, acquisition and use of library collections" (p. 99).

Cronin (1995) argues for a new perspective for the education of library/information service professionals. He does not regard library science as a true academic discipline. In his view, librarianship is a professional activity. Information science, on the other hand, is described as a "field of scholarly inquiry" that includes the study of information and its use within institutions such as the library (Cronin, 1995, p. 897). For Cronin, the central theme in the development of the curriculum ought to be the concept of access with five facets. These are: (1) intellectual access--the development of tools such as subject headings, thesauri, and classification schemes as ways to identify resources with the potential to resolve an information need; (2) physical access--a traditional concern of librarianship; (3) social access--ranging from hours of operation through public policy issues, including censorship/intellectual freedom; (4) economic access--the economics of information, the global information industry; and (5) spatial/temporal access--making materials available from both the local collection and remote locales (pp. 900-01). The concepts of physical access, social access, economic access, and spatial/ temporal access have a direct relationship to collection development as it has been taught in schools of library and information studies.

Irrespective of the degree to which the access strategy is pursued in library/information science education, there is some agreement on the competencies, knowledge, and skills that library information service professionals should possess. "The profession requires individuals who can think conceptually and reason logically and who can use both knowledge and advanced technology to address the information needs of society" (Stueart, 1998, pp. 244-45). Vondran (1989) adds that library and information science professionals need "thinking skills which should be fluid and oriented toward problem solving; communication skills ... and learning skills which will provide the basic adaptive abilities necessary in a changing environment" (p. 28). This will necessitate different tactics to prepare library/information service professionals in general and those with a primary interest in collection development in particular.

The traditional concerns of library/information science education have been: (1) information retrieval: the organization of material so that it can be identified, obtained, and used; (2) intermediation: understanding user information needs, the publication of information, and brokering the matching of information and information need; (3) technology; (4) social context: the social, legal, political, and economic setting of the information environment; and (5) domain knowledge, knowing what the library/information center can offer (Van House & Sutton, 1996, p. 133). The concepts of intermediation, technology, social context, and domain knowledge are all concerns for those interested in collection development's place within the curriculum. There appears to be little sentiment for completely changing the curriculum of schools of library and information studies. Vondran (1989) advocates minor changes to reflect changes in the information environment. The University of Michigan's new School of Information seeks to "apply the rich traditions of the library profession to the larger, fundamental role of information in society" (Marcum, 1997, p. 35).

Library/information science education, however, does not exist in a vacuum. There are external factors that must be considered as we work toward a resolution of the issues challenging the profession in the information age. Foremost among these are the social shifts noted by Lester (1993). These are: (1) a more culturally/ethnically/linguistically diverse population; (2) an aging population; (3) an increasing variety in types of households featuring single parents and mixed families; (4) a work force characterized by serial careers, telecommuting, part-time and/or temporary workers, fewer benefits, and an increasing number of immigrants employed especially in scientific and technical fields; (5) a globalized economy; (6) new educational configurations with part-time students, older students, continuing education; and (7) the delivery of instruction via distance education (Lester, 1993, pp. 39-54). Paramount will be the increasing diversity of the library/information center user. Lester (1993) contends that library/information service professionals will "need to have an increased understanding of cultural diversity and the impact of a culturally diverse population on information behaviors" (p. 47). This, she adds, requires library/information service professionals "who can ensure cultural diversity in information products and services and who can approach information problems from the multicultural, multiethnic, multiracial, and multilingual users point of view" (p. 47). This will be as critical for those with collection development responsibilities as those with responsibilities in reference or related public services.

But there are other complicating factors. Childers (1996) points out a variety of pressures facing higher education. Among these are: (1) a diminishing pool of students with an increasing number of corporations offering their employees in-house educational programs and other potential students questioning the value of higher education programs that do not lead to employment; (2) a surplus of physical plant due to declining enrollments that also leads to faculty layoffs; (3) cost that is related to the necessity of making a major capital investment to create a new information infrastructure; (4) an aging faculty that in some disciplines has resulted in unfilled positions with a lack of qualified new faculty; (5) newer approaches to education with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research; and (6) a demand for fiscal accountability and performance (pp. 148-49). To the extent that these factors impact on the parent institution, library and information science education will be caught up in this evolving situation. Certainly library and information science educators will have to respond to the need to actively recruit students, to have in place an information infrastructure that makes it possible "to teach the effective use of electronic information resources" (Wallace, 1991, p. 99). To recruit computer literate faculty and be fiscally contributing to the college/university are also obligations that will be placed on the library and information science education faculty.

The graduates of future library and information science education programs "must be information literate, they must know how information flows in societies; the necessity for national and international information policies; how libraries and other information centers are used and the needs of those users" (Stueart, 1998, p. 246). The first step in that direction, Vondran (1989) suggests, is a curriculum that imparts these competencies: (1) confidence: experiences that are "problem-oriented, success-oriented and related to practice"; (2) adaptability: accepting change and the concept of life-long learning; (3) technological comfort: a willingness to adopt technology to improve service; (4) proactive professional behavior: willingness to speak out on professional issues to assist users especially in the political sphere; and (5) process skills: an ability to work with people, possessing good negotiating skills (pp. 33-34). Detailing these ends requires outlining the core curriculum. Stueart (1998) proposed a core that has four foci: "(1) the nature of information; (2) how it is used and managed; (3) systems, mechanisms, institutions, and tools to facilitate that use; and (4) the larger social, economic, political, and technological context of society" (p. 245). Among those tools to facilitate information use, Stueart includes collection development. Vondran (1989) also contends that collection development ought to be included in the core, however refined, since there will be "greater emphasis on new forms of published media including electronic data" (p. 35). The new School of Information at the University of Michigan included in its core objectives "develop skills in the evaluation, selection and use of resources, including formulating effective search strategies" (Drabenstott & Atkins, 1996, p. 56).

To determine the attitudes of alumni concerning the competencies addressed in their MLS program, Buttlar and Dumont (1996) asked subjects to indicate the value/usefulness of fifty-nine specific skills in eight categories: (1) management skills; (2) automation/technology skills; (3) knowledge of reference and information services; (4) interpersonal skills; (5) communication skills; (6) reference interview/readers guide; (7) selection and evaluation abilities; and (8) technical services competencies (pp. 46-48). The subjects were asked to rate each skill on a scale of 1 (very useful) to 4 (not useful). There were 736 responses (41.04 percent of all sent), 726 of which (40.4 percent) were useful. Of the respondents, 41 percent were employed in public libraries, 22.1 percent in school library media centers, 22.0 percent in academic libraries, and the remaining 12.5 percent in other library/information centers. Of the respondents, 25 percent had one to three years of professional experience, 50 percent had ten years experience or less, and 70 percent had fifteen years experience or less (p. 51). Included among the most highly rated skills by all respondents were: (1) collection management skills: second in the listing (74.7 percent), (2) applying appropriate principles to weed and inventory materials and equipment: eighth in the listing (58.3 percent), and (3) developing selection policies: tenth in the listing (55 percent) (p. 51). The data were further examined by type of library and years of experience. In both sets of data, the top five skills were noted. The responding public librarians ranked the selection and evaluation of print/non-print materials as fourth (69.7 percent) and developing selection policies as fifth (69.5 percent). School library media specialists rated collection management skills as most important (78.2 percent), applying appropriate principles to weed and inventory materials and equipment was second (77.7 percent), and selection and evaluation of print/non-print materials was third (76.9 percent) (p. 53).

Experience was also a factor. Professionals with one to three years experience in a public library rated collection management as the second (80.7 percent) most important skill. School library media specialists with similar years of experience rated collection management skills as first (77.4 percent); applying appropriate principles to weed and inventory as the second (67.7 percent); and selecting and evaluating print/nonprint materials as fourth (63.3 percent) (p. 54). Public librarians with five years or more experience rated collection management skills as second most important (88.6 percent) and selection and evaluation of print and nonprint materials as fifth (71.4 percent) in importance. School library media specialists with five years of experience or more rated selection and evaluation of print/nonprint materials as most important (83.4 percent); applying appropriate principles to weeding and inventory third (80.4 percent); and collection management skills fifth (72.5 percent) (p. 55).

These findings add weight to the priority given collection development by Stueart and Drabenstott and Atkins in their recommendations concerning a core curriculum in library/information studies education. Let us now turn to the concept of collection development and its place in the library/information science curriculum.


Before giving further consideration to the educational program, library/information science professionals with a paramount interest in the resources of the library/information center need to review some of the major findings about collection development, especially in regards to the scope of this specialty. In his consideration of this specialization, Edelman (1979) suggested a three tier model including: (1) collection development: defined as the planning aspect of this role; (2) selection: making decisions on what to include in the collection; and (3) acquisition: focused on the securing of the chosen items (p. 34). Rowley and Black (1996) noted that in the 1960s and 1970s there was a "shift in most academic libraries toward defining collection development as significantly different from acquisitions" (p. 24). By the end of the 1980s, Pankake (1984) observes, "acquisitions has been separated from selection in larger libraries ...; it now is a technical specialty" (p. 193). Nisonger (1994) has examined the place of this new specialty in library/information science education and offered alternatives for preparing professionals for this aspect of the library/information center's operations. The focus here is on the first two tiers of the Edelman model.

The original primary emphasis in courses in collection development was selection. For many years the classic textbook in schools of library and information science education was Haines's Living with Books (1950). The central theme was the selection of individual titles for inclusion in the library collection. This basic theme was the same throughout the 1970s. A very popular text in that period was Building Library Collections (Carter, Bonk, & Magrill, 1974; Bonk & Magrill, 1979) that devoted 223 of its 324 pages to selection, selection tools, publishers, and bibliographic resources. During this same period, library/information centers began to experience new pressures on their collections in the form of the publication explosion, ever rising costs for materials, and newer media. Simultaneously, there was an increasing reliance on technology that added to budgetary problems, especially in the area of technical services. In this setting, book selection began to be replaced by a new concept, collection development.

Book selection remained a central element in collection development but the responsibilities of those working with the library/information center's collection were expanded to include "community analysis, planning for collection building, collection development policies, selection, selection tools, publishing, intellectual freedom and censorship, weeding, and collection evaluation" (Nisonger, 1994, p. 129). Titles now being considered for inclusion in the collection were to meet criteria such as how they "mesh with others ..." (Osburn, 1983, p. 177). The principles of book selection were extended to include other media and "making the collection itself, rather than any particular title, the principle object of attention" (Pankake, 1984, p. 189). Now selectors were required to consider how a title fit into the local collection. Collection development, in some library/information centers, came to mean weeding, circulation, and preservation. Complicating the picture was the tendency of library/ information service professionals to interchange the terms "collection development" and "collection management."

Our present information environment is once more in a state of flux. "The forces of change are so prevalent in scholarly communication," Rowley and Black (1996) point out, "that the collection development mission of libraries cannot avoid their impact" (pp. 22-23). The access rather than ownership approach is going to shift the focus of activity once again. No longer will physical entities in a local collection and its neighboring allied institutions be the arena in which those responsible for the collection will operate. We now have a new element to contend with--electronic resources--that do not exist as physical entities that can be accessed on demand. The addition of these resources to the repertoire of the library/ information center broadens the scope of activity once again. The collection is now a far larger entity. The task of determining which of the new classes of information resources is/are appropriate to the mission of the library/information center and how they are to be merged with the existing collection will prove to be quite complex. This suggests that the profession has moved beyond collection development to a new plane. Using the concepts of collection management will clearly allow us to make the necessary differentiation.


Collection development (nee, book selection) has been as consistent a part of library/information science education as cataloging/classification and reference work. When Dewey founded the School of Library Economy at Columbia University, "Selection of Books and Periodicals" was in the course offerings (Vann, 1961, p. 31). In preparing his landmark report for the Carniege Corporation, Williamson (1923) analyzed the catalogs of eleven library schools and discovered that "book selection" ranked second in "the average number of hours of classroom instruction given ... in a subject" (p. 22). At about the time when the concept "selection" was being supplanted by "collection development," Osburn (1980) examined the place of education for collection development in the curriculum. He argued that library/information science educators were "responsible to a considerable extent for both reflecting concerns of that profession and giving guidance in its direction" (Osburn, 1980, p. 560). However, his analysis of the professional literature of that era led him to conclude that collection development was not a major interest of the professorate. Collection development, in his view, was not an art and could no longer be treated as such due to the publication explosion and increasing fiscal pressures. Before this delusion could be set aside, Osburn (1980) indicated that there were some considerable obstacles to be removed. These were: (1) the failure to realize that collection development involved decision making and planning but not acquisitions, which is a separate specialty; (2) a profession that was still wrestling with a clear demarcation between professional and para- and/or nonprofessional tasks; and (3) the inexperienced faculty teaching collection development.

Osburn (1980) viewed collection development as a system composed of a number of component parts. These were: (1) a knowledge of information and publishing, (2) bibliographic control in order to know what materials were available, (3) knowledge of the community served, (4) understanding the information environment and the changes taking place within it, (5) surveillance of both the information environment and the community, (6) being sensitive to changes and adaptable to them, and (7) integrating collection development action with the overall plan for the library/information center (p. 565). This systems approach suggests units that are very familiar to educators in this area: publishers/ publishing, reviewing media, community analysis, and planning and evaluating. He identified pre-requisites for this ideal system. One was "intellectual curiosity that facilitates conceptualization ..." (Osburn, 1980, p. 567). This was to be matched with an interest in planning and decision making and "the capacity to reassess goals, plans, and policies" (p. 567). Similar statements of objectives for library/information science education have more recently been made by Vondran and by Drabenstott and Atkins. Osburn (1980) called for "recognition of collection development as central to library operations and pivotal in library-community relations" (p. 567). He did not believe a single course was the appropriate response. He advocated a program for the education of students with a primary interest in collection development. Accordingly, he argued for "a core program concentrating on the sociology of recorded human expression and communication which would require the blending of knowledge gleaned from both historical and social science research" (p. 569). Osburn concluded that library/information science should emphasize: (1) research and writing; (2) how all media (not just print) can act as change agents; (3) planning and problem solving; and (4) the interrelationships of recorded information, the community, and the communication of recorded expression (pp. 568-69). Many of these same themes have reappeared in the last decade's discussion concerning the mission of library/information science education as digitalization and information technology alter the social context of library/information centers. The major issue is the degree to which education for collection development has responded to Osburn's recommendations in the last two decades. Kyrzs (1987) has provided a picture of the typical collection development course seven years after Osburn's (1983) call for a new approach:
 Course Introduction (includes description, objectives,
 outline, and requirements)
 History of Book and Libraries
 Types of Libraries and Their Communities
 Library Materials (includes the nature, categories, use, and
 organization and arrangement)
 Publishers and Publishing (the nature of publishing, history and
 development, functions and types)
 Selection of Material (purpose, community analysis, principles,
 policies, selection aids, format, subjects, and censorship)
 Acquisition of Material (principles, examination and evaluation
 of materials, annotation writing, book talks)
 Collection Evaluation (storage, weeding, preservation,

Kyrzs (1987) also pointed out that the objectives of these courses were essentially the same as those depicted by Warnke (1964): (1) a knowledge of selection tools, (2) an understanding of the methods of developing and evaluating the collection, (3) familiarity with publishers and publishing, (4) application of the principles of selection to library policies and procedures, and (5) developing a philosophy of selection (p. 209).

Approximately six years later, Gorman (1993) reveals the stability of education for collection development in his discussion of the evolution of such a course at Charles Sturt University's School of Information Studies. The course evolved from a series of meetings concerning education and acquisitions. There are now two courses at this school--a basic course and an elective--which focus on collection evaluation. The core course is intended to develop seven competencies. The objectives are: "(1) analyze community information needs; (2) define nature and scope of the collection; (3) design and provide policies and services for the collections and users; (4) devise acquisition systems; (5) select appropriate materials; (6) compile and monitor budgets; and (7) evaluate and modify systems and procedures" (Gorman, 1993, p. 336). These seven objectives differ markedly from those of Warncke (1964) and indicate that "book selection" has been replaced. But what is more interesting is what is actually being taught in this course. Gorman (1993) indicates that the basic course is composed of five modules encapsulating seventeen topics. The first module, Collection Development, includes the role of policy statements, the content of a selection policy, and the process of creating a policy statement. Collection evaluation, the second module, focuses on the object of collection assessment and various strategies to follow in accomplishing this with special emphasis on the Australian conspectus. Selection and weeding of resources follows as the third and addresses selection, selection policies, and weeding. Acquisition organization, budgeting, and automation make up the fourth module. If collection development is defined to exclude acquisitions, then this module is of little importance for our purposes. However the fifth module, acquiring library materials, includes publishing, the book trade, and library supply (pp. 341-42). Eleven of these topics are directly related to the more restrictive definition of collection development. The six excluded are the province of acquisitions. Of those eleven, the major variances from the Kyrzs model lie in the omission of the historical consideration of books and libraries, the emphasis on types of libraries, and weeding and preservation.

Budd and Bril (1994) surveyed ninety-two educators in American Library Association (ALA) accredited schools of library and information science/studies who had indicated collection development as one of their teaching competencies. They also surveyed a sample of 357 library/information service professionals drawn from the membership of the Collection Development and Evaluation Section of the Reference and Adult Services Division of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services of ALA (p. 345). Their study had seven objectives: (1) determine the characteristics of faculty teaching collection development, (2)ascertain the nature of the courses offered at these schools, (3) develop information regarding those employed in collection development positions, (4) identify journals read/used by library/information science educators and their counterparts in the field, (5) gain an impression as to how to best impart collection development knowledge and skills, (6) evaluate the degree to which the program had prepared these library/information service professionals for collection development responsibilities, and (7) elicit from both educators and practitioners a rating of the importance of aspects of the typical collection development course (pp. 344-45). Fifty-eight educators (63 percent) and 157 library/information professionals (44 percent) responded (p. 345). Forty-one of the fifty-eight responding educators (70 percent) were affiliated with the school full-time with ten (17 percent) assistant professors, seventeen (24.3 percent) associate professors, and fifteen (25.9 percent) full professors. Thirty-two (55.7 percent) were tenured (Budd & Bril, 1994, p. 345). In the thirty-three schools represented, sixteen (48.5 percent) indicated that collection development was a required course. Nineteen of thirty schools (63.3 percent) indicated that there was a separate elective course (pp. 345-46). Both the library/ information science educators and library/information service professionals read/used seven common journals: Collection Management, College & Research Libraries, Library Journal, Library Resources & Technical Services, Journal of Academic Librarianship, American Libraries, and Wilson Library Bulletin (p. 347). By a wide margin, the educators preferred that collection development be a separate and required course with integration of the concepts into other courses a distant second (p. 348). Library/information service professionals felt that the two most important things learned in collection development were: "Ability to identify and use key materials selection sources" and "knowledge of the traditional publishing process" (p. 349). Both practitioners and educators were asked to rate on a scale of 1 (not important) to 6 (extremely important) a number of topics usually included in a collection development course. Educators felt "Knowledge of current issues in collection development" was most important (5.638). This was followed in order by "Ability to identify and use key materials selection sources" (5.293), "Ability to evaluate collections according to established techniques" (5.069), "Ability to write collection development policy" (5.000), "Awareness of co-operation and resource sharing possibilities" (4.845), "Ability to conduct a needs assessment/community analysis" (4.655), and "Knowledge of non-traditional publishing" (4.534) (p. 351). Practitioners also rated five of these very highly but omitted "Knowledge of current issues in collection development" and "Knowledge of nontraditional publishing." They included "Knowledge of budget practices" and "Knowledge of vendors and jobbers" in their rankings (p. 350). It should be noted that only two of the seven topics most highly rated by library/information science educators were not first encountered in the Kryz outline of the prototypical collection development course. One of these, "Knowledge of current issues in collection development," might well be an element of his "conclusion." The second, "Knowledge of nontraditional publishing," could not have been addressed in 1987. Budd and Bril concluded that "the two groups have largely consistent views of the importance of specific aspects of collection development" (p. 352). Overall, it seems, the essence of the typical collection development course is unchanged in the eyes of those in this study.

Metz (1994) most recently investigated the place of collection development in the library/information science curriculum. He analyzed the catalogs of "about half the schools generally considered in the top twenty" (p. 88). This "admittedly unscientific" survey revealed that a course devoted to collection development or collection management and acquisitions was required "in a slim majority" (p. 89). For the remaining schools, collection development was consigned to other required courses. Metz discovered that, even in these highly regarded institutions, it is possible for students to attain the MLS degree without having taken a collection development course. These schools, however, did offer collection development as an elective. In examining the course descriptions found in these catalogs, Metz determined what was taught in collection development. These are arranged below in frequency order:
 Topics in Contemporary Collection Development Courses
 Evaluation and Selection
 Collection Development Policies
 Publishing and Distribution
 Censorship/Intellectual Freedom
 Resource Sharing
 Community Analysis/Needs
 Acquisitions Organization and Processes
 Collection Evaluation
 Fund Allocation
 Alternative Formats
 Storage Alternatives
 Selection Tools (Metz, 1994, pp. 90-91)

While they were very similar, Metz indicates topics that were not a prominent feature of the Kyrzs model. They were "Resource Sharing" and "Funding Allocation." Also omitted from this list were the historical background of books and libraries, book talks, annotation writing, and the organization and arrangement of materials.

These findings suggested to Metz that there were a number of issues that had not yet found their way into collection development courses in any significant way. The most important of these is the emerging strategy that is summed up as access versus ownership. He concedes it might be addressed under the rubric of resource sharing, but the topic is far more important than that since it represents a whole new approach to collection development. He mentioned other topics that require more extensive consideration: (1) the place of electronic media in library collections; (2) the growing interdependence of reference, circulation, and collection development; and (3) the diffusion of responsibility for collection development as an increasing number of professionals in the library/information center gain aegis over various elements of the collection (Metz, 1994, pp. 93-94). Metz, like Osburn, does not feel that collection development can be taught in isolation. "Success in collection development," he contends, "requires a broad understanding of the library itself, of the publications universe, of management and budgeting, all within a broader appreciation of professional values" (Metz, 1994, p. 95). This reflects Osburn's view of collection development as a system that requires a program rather than a single course.

Kennedy (1998) argues "we have reached the end of the first phase of collection management education, where the focus was on collecting of primarily print materials which would pass into the possession of the library" (p. 53). While he agreed that print would remain an important element of the collection for the foreseeable future, he predicted that "there will be a rapidly growing emphasis on the use of collection development, selection, and even acquisitions skills in bringing a measure of order into the Internet for the benefit of one's clientele" (p. 53). Despite the increased importance of electronic resources indicated by the flood tide of professional literature concerning their role in library/ information services, Kennedy found it "very curious that a number of U.S. schools of library and information science no longer see collection content--i.e., collection development/management--as central to their curriculums" (Kennedy, 1994, p. 54). Determining the degree to which this assertion is correct calls for a re-examination of the place of collection development in the curriculum and changes that have occurred in the five years since Metz examined some catalogs of schools of library/ information science.

One dimension of the commitment of library/information science education to collection development is the presence of full-time faculty with this as one of their areas of competence. A review of the 1998/1999 Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) directory of faculty was made to identify the number of schools with at least one full-time faculty, with an indicated interest in collection development (Blake, 1999). Forty-four of the fifty-six American Library Association accredited schools (78.5 percent) had at least one full-time faculty member indicating collection development as an interest. Another five (8.9 percent) had part-time faculty indicating interest in this area (Blake, 1999). Overall, there is evidence that, in forty-nine of the schools of library/ information science (87.4 percent), there is a commitment to teaching collection development (Blake, 1999) but that is, at best, a minimalist conclusion. There can be any number of reasons (i.e., recent retirement, inability to identify an appropriate candidate during recruitment) that a school at any point in time does not indicate the presence of a faculty member with collection development teaching responsibilities. While faculty indicators of teaching interests do not guarantee the regular offering of a course, it seems safe to conclude that collection development is an integral part of the typical library/information science curriculum as it was when the School of Library Economy was created.

Of more interest is the actual nature/content of these collection development courses taught in schools of library and information science/ studies. A study of recent catalogs and/or the Web sites of the institutional members of ALISE was undertaken (Blake 1999). Fifty of the catalogs/Web sites of the fifty-seven member schools were examined. This analysis suggested that a course in collection development is required in only nine of these schools (18 percent). It is available as an elective in thirty-six others (72 percent) (Blake, 1999). This is a much different picture than Metz reports in his study. However it still seems possible for a student to earn his/her MLS and either have no formal instruction in collection development or only rudimentary instruction within other courses. We would be hard put to call collection development a central activity of library/information centers when the evidence points in the opposite direction.

Finally, the course descriptions of the available catalogs/Web sites of ALISE schools were examined in order to determine the topics taught in these courses (Blake, 1999). Emulating Metz, these will be presented by frequency. The topics identified are: (1) selection [36], (2) evaluation [23], (3) community needs [20], (4) acquisitions [19], (5) collection development policies [15], (6) censorship/intellectual freedom [14], (7) publication/distribution [12], (8) resource sharing [7], (9) weeding [7], (10) selection tools [6], (11) funding [4], and (12) preservation [4] (Blake, 1999). The results are remarkably similar to the topics identified by Metz and do not seem greatly at variance with the model offered by Kyrzs over a decade ago. The essential elements of collection development courses in library/information science education at the dawn of the new millennium seem to be: (1) community analysis; (2) publication and distribution of information; (3) selection, including a familiarity with selection tools and the creation of selection policies; (4) censorship/intellectual freedom issues; and (5) collection evaluation. What we have to worry about is whether this model is really flexible enough to accommodate the challenges implicit in the transition from collection development to collection management.


Johnson (1994) points out that collection development is not just selection anymore. Pastine (1996b) suggests a far more complex future encompassing far more than selection. Such things as (1) "site licenses," (2) "decisions on whether to mount databases on the university's mainframe or client server systems," (3) making recommendations "on stand alone CD-ROM workstations" (4) "as well as networked CD-ROM subscriptions," (5) deciding on "purchasing gateway access to commercial vendors," and (6) "decisions on whether or not the library will fund actual electronic document delivery or charge the user for this and related services" (p. 4). Pastine details four new responsibilities: "(1) how to integrate new electronic information resources into collection development policies, (2) decisions on whether to purchase a print or an electronic version of a resource, (3) decisions of whether resources can be shared and not purchased locally, and (4) develop new methods of assessment and evaluation other than quantitative statistics" (p. 4). Pastine (1996a) asks the critical question, "what traditional commitments will we be able to give up in order to provide quality services in an expanding global information marketplace?" (p. 153). The responses of the library/information science profession to this question will serve as benchmarks for library/information educators who are preparing professionals with responsibilities for collection management in this new era. This question pervades every aspect of the core areas of collection management: community assessment, publishers and publishing, selection, selection tools/policies, funding, resource sharing, and evaluation.

Knowing the user and devising a plan to meet the information needs of that community promise to be considerably more difficult given the ongoing changes in society, instructional pedagogies, and patterns of scholarly communication/research. There is little doubt that electronic resources will be major factors in all of the changes that are taking place. Lester (1993) has pointed out that America is becoming simultaneously older and more culturally diverse while Evans (1992) has outlined a procedure for gathering more accurate demographic data on cultural, ethnic, and linguistic minorities in the library's public. Quinn (1994), in light of these social changes, argues that the Western literary canon can no longer be held inviolate. He suggests that "the traditional literary canon should be both retained and expanded to include other non-Western canons" (p. 4). This requires many more library/information center resources at a time when virtually every observer feels that there will not be any great fiscal changes. The necessary response to these broadening responsibilities is to include electronic resources even though it may lead to a diminution of physically present materials and an increased reliance on remote electronic access. This same dismal fiscal outlook has also generated pressure on American higher education, as Childers (1996) indicated, to expand student enrollments through innovative approaches to teaching (pp. 149-50). In the 1990s, a major step in that direction was taken with the introduction of distance learning (DL) wherein students can take courses (or even whole degree programs) via the Internet. This opens up another sticky issue since the library/information center will be expected to support the distance education component of an institution's curriculum for students who will rarely (if ever) appear on campus. Nor is this so-called innovation limited to academic libraries. With institutions like the University of Phoenix offering courses nationwide, public libraries will find themselves in the role of supporting the "distance education institution." Many libraries will be flooded with users of a unique type (a.k.a. DL students) who will be making many more and different types of demands on their resources. Thus, public libraries will have to respond to this situation that, in all probability, will force the inclusion of a wider range of electronic resources in their repertoire.

Finally, there is the phenomenon of interdisciplinary studies to contend with. Wilson and Edelman (1996) define interdisciplinary research as "work that is carried out utilizing insights and techniques from one or more disciplinary sources" (p. 196). Ryan (1994) also notes a large increase in interdisciplinary studies spurred on by the development of research-oriented institutions and centers. Ryan asserts that a major factor in this change is the increasing presence of electronic resources and the resulting ease of communicating with other scholars across disciplinary boundaries. This also has ripple effects in terms of the resources required to support such endeavors. It is no longer safe to assume "that literatures are stable and well defined, that selection tools map easily to disciplines and fields" (Ryan, 1994, p. 109). Consequently, "library school curriculums should be sensitive to the new, collaborative culture of knowledge and provide ways in which potential bibliographers can experiment with and adapt to more social modes of selection, access, and collection management" (p. 109).

In each of the dimensions affecting the library/information services community, the key factor is the role assumed by electronic resources. Sensitivity to changes in clientele and information needs and in the library/information center response traditionally has its roots in community assessment. However, the changing information environment represented by the continued proliferation of electronic resources will require more sensitive (and different) measures than those represented by community assessment for they now represent only one of the external factors that must be considered. A second factor is publishing and reviewing; the ability to discover, access, and adjust to what might be available to serve rapidly changing information needs is increasingly important. Lancaster (1995) indicates that electronic publishing has its roots in the evolution of typeset printing to computer-based technologies. However, his vision of the paperless society has not become a significant factor in library/information centers until relatively recently (Lancaster, 1978). "Publishing" on the Internet is unique in the sense that anyone can make information available with a very modest investment (compared to traditional printing which is expensive). Creating and maintaining a Web site is no longer a formidable task because of recent advances in hardware and software. More importantly, there is no gatekeeper/censor who first reviews the material and/or undertakes the task of accepting, editing, printing, and distributing it for the benefit of others. In the non-networked, print oriented, pre-digital world, library/information centers were never interested in collecting everything that was printed, which has created vast gaps in the bibliographic record. For instance, there has been no attempt to universally collect advertisements, posters, and a thousand other items printed for distribution for commercial purposes. Public libraries, in their early years, collected only "serious" literature and were unsure of the place of many forms of fiction (i.e., romance novels). At this point in the digital revolution, the same types of attitudes hold true. Much of the material that forms the ".com" domain is not collected by the traditional library/ information center, for we remain focused on the more traditional realms of information. Skinner (1996) has provided an overview of these formats: (1) books, usually in the form of collections of public domain titles (i.e., Project Gutenberg), (2) technical reports, (3) government documents, (4) bibliographies, (5) directories, (6) serials, (7) sound recordings, (8) video recordings, (9) maps, and (10) manuscripts and photographs/visual images (pp. 125-34). In short, this is nothing more than a mirror image of items collected in various analog formats that the library/ information center has traditionally collected. In Star Trek terms, we have a parallel digital universe. So, the decision making responsibility for digital collection managers is the same as that of the analog. Atkinson's (1994) anti-collection, that is--items published but not yet selected for inclusion in the library's own collection--should be included. The obstacle we face is that in the print universe there is a well-established efficient system of informing library/information service professionals of new and upcoming items using the reviewing media. Johnson (1996b) points out that this "does not yet exist for electronic formats" (p. 11). Rioux (1997) feels that developing a collection of electronic resources is "like foraging in the jungle; a trackless, vine tangled wilderness full of unknown species, some of which look appetizing but may be poisonous.... The librarian collecting electronic resources is not a harvester of cultivated crops but a hunter and gatherer of wild fruit and other treasures" (p. 130). The author suggests that the use of search engines, OCLC's Intercat, the World Wide Virtual Library, and similar resources can, at least, identify items of potential interest but they do not "evaluate the quality of the sites listed" (Rioux, 1997, p. 132). The reviewing of Internet resources generally, and Web sites in particular, is still in its infancy, leaving library/information service professionals to their own devices. And an unfortunate fact is that, by the time most of the published pieces become available, many of the sites listed are gone or have changed addresses. There are an increasing number of theme-based articles on well regarded Web sites appearing in the professional literature, but much of the evaluation is still based on a serendipitous view of the Internet. This is a far cry from the entrenched reviewing media establishment that is available for traditional print media. This fact creates a tremendous problem because it is estimated that "by 2010, 50 percent of the information in academic libraries will be electronic" (Persons, 1998, p. 185). Establishing and maintaining effective selection tools will become the major task of library/information service professionals for who else is willing and/or capable of doing so? If we agree, then reviewing media for electronic resources will have to be a major part of the curriculum for educating collection management professionals.

The uncertainties surrounding electronic resources, which grow in numbers and complexity daily, have forced a more deliberate approach to the selection process/policies. The general approach is similar to that of print materials, but there are some unique facets that demand more deliberate attention including "formats, identifying what is available, analyzing costs, understanding licenses and other legal concerns, interpreting service implications, considering preservation, preparing equipment and facilities, and developing local approaches for acquiring, cataloging and processing electronic resources" (Johnson, 1996b, p. 10). With electronic resources, there are ancillary expenses that are far more imposing than those associated with print materials. These include "hardware, software, special furniture, wiring and telecommunication lines, and continuing costs of service and training" (Johnson, 1996b, p. 11). Because these are undeniable factors, it is critical that they be clearly identified so that the place/role of electronic resources in serving the library/information center's clientele is completely understood. There are also the issues of compatibility with the existing/anticipated information infrastructure, the nature of the interface, and the "skills the user needs" (Johnson, 1996b, p. 11). Martin and Rose (1996) point out that inclusion of CD-ROM databases in the collection repertoire carries with it a consideration of the documentation and customer support that can be expected. Haar (1988) points out that the selection of reference tools is especially important since the most highly cited items in the abstracts, indexes, and bibliographies available in the library are the titles most likely to be in demand by the library's patrons.

Despite all that has been said to this point, the most pressing issues in developing a selection strategy are legal. Electronic resources, unlike books and serials, are rarely purchased; they are subscribed to. Librarians "only acquire those rights detailed in the licensing agreement signed by the library and the database vendor" (Martin & Rose, 1996, p. 93).Johnson (1996b) reminds us that "the need to evaluate licenses, contracts and pricing structures as part of a selection decision is a new phenomenon" (p. 11). At this point, collection management professionals need to become very familiar with the provisions of the 1999 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Warwick, 1999). This legislation governs the use of electronic resources by library/information centers and its provisions regarding encryption measures have great implications for library/information center services. In addition, it follows that collection management professionals must develop analytical and communication skills to negotiate contracts effectively for virtually all electronic resources from the private sector which will be licensed, and library/information centers will have to abide by the terms of that license. The license will clearly stipulate the types of access the library's users will enjoy (i.e., fee or free, limited to faculty, simultaneous multiple users, and so on). Most importantly, the fate/ownership of an electronic database at the termination of the contract should be clear and unequivocal. In the case of print materials, library/information centers were not required to return items that were purchased, but electronic resources are not normally purchased. While a basic understanding of copyright law has been an element of the education of collection managers in the past, the stakes have been raised to this level. Being able to negotiate and navigate through the myriad legal thickets created by choosing electronic resources will have to become a far higher priority in the preparation of collection management professionals than has been the case to date.

The issues raised here are all secondary to the creation of a comprehensive collection development policy for electronic resources. Such a policy "should follow the model of other collection development policies in place" but we must also understand that there are some unique factors at work that require a policy that will be much more elaborate and detailed (Johnson, 1996b, p. 13). Welcome to the consequences of electronic resources. Johnson (1994b) recommends that the electronic resources collection policy, in its introduction, clearly indicate the "financial, technical, legal, or institutional" limitations on selection (p. 14). There should also be an "overview of the existing collection (both on site and remote) of electronic resources and future goals. This section identifies subject areas and formats that are emphasized, de-emphasized, or excluded and any general principle guiding selection" (p. 14). Due to the extreme necessity of being technically savvy, the augmented cost factors, the complexity of negotiating a contract and the legalisms involved, there is great concern with the issue of final authority (i.e., who is the ultimate decision maker?). Library/information centers must work out a solution that balances "a desire to mainstream electronic resources selection--to make selectors responsible for the resources in their subject areas--and the need to ensure consultation with all affected parties" (Johnson, 1996b, p. 20). Suggested guidelines for the selection of electronic resources in a comprehensive collection development policy are: "(1) network, hardware and software compatibility, (2) availability of network, hardware and software resources, (3) availability of electrical and telecommunication lines, (4) quality of interface (ease of use for library users and staff), (5) quality of the retrieval/search engine, (6) training implications, (7) potential use (size of the user community and frequency of use), (8) reliability of the vendor and availability of vendor support, (9) availability of documentation, (10) licensing considerations, and (11) treatment of graphics, formulas, and other nonstandard characters" (Johnson, 1996b, p. 16).

There is one other element normally found in collection development policies that needs to be discussed. This is establishing a procedure for challenges to materials that reside in the collection. Library/information centers that are networked are in a far different situation than they were in the non-networked past. In the former era, the library's collection was limited to those items deemed appropriate given the institution's mission based on its perception of the needs of its clientele. These items were physical entities present on the shelves of the library/information center. Consequently, the number of items that might be challenged was limited and finite. Networked libraries are in a far different situation. They are portals to everything available in the parallel digital universe. There is far less control over what a user can gain access to. In this environment, the library/information center is far more vulnerable to challenges. Collection development policies for electronic resources must adequately address this thorny problem. Many library/information centers have adopted "acceptable use policies" and/or use filtering software. Whichever strategy is adopted, the emergence of electronic resources as a standard feature of collections means that traditional responses to challenges must be rethought.

The logical corollary of the decision to select an electronic resource as a result of the application of a selection policy is actually acquiring it. The assumption here is that adequate funding is available. This is far from a certainty. The specter of the growing need for significant electronic resources has focused attention on financial resources. The money problem is two-fold. First, determining how much is really needed--i.e., actual/ continuing and hidden costs. Second, how available funding is to be allocated. While there is a consensus that the shift to electronic resources and the access strategy carries with it significant costs, virtually no one expects major new infusions of fiscal resources to ease the burden. What is developing is "a budgeting conflict between traditional, i.e., paper, resources and new electronic resources" (Johnson & Witte, 1996, p. 9). The likelihood is, given flat materials budgets, the "funding for access activities will be increasingly drawn from the same allocation pie historically intended to cover only the purchase of books and journals" (Johnson & Witte, 1996, p. 9). Johnson and Witte (1996) plead for "a rational way to divide existing resources not only between traditional print resources, books and journals, but also include all manner of electronic resources ..." (p. 13). For this very reason, Johnson (1994b) argues that collection management professionals must become skilled at fiscal management. They will need "to understand accounting terms and to interpret financial reports" if they expect to manage this balancing act successfully (p. 115).Johnson argues that financial skills are "central for executing collection development responsibilities since competent management of fewer resources is one measure of success" (p. 115). The importance of this skill is magnified when one considers the prospect of negotiating contracts to secure the use of electronic resources for the library's clientele. Johnson also advocates the development of marketing skills in creating a program whereby the library's clientele is made aware of the role of the library/information center and its needs. Public relations/marketing is important, in Johnson's (1994b) view, in enhancing the likelihood of obtaining auxiliary funds through grants (pp. 121-22). Any such funding would assist the library/information center's efforts to incorporate electronic resources in its collection. Despite it all, we still have to come to grips with more need than financial resources.

Another aspect of collection management to be considered is evaluation of the collection and its electronic resources. Clearly, quantitative input oriented measures are no longer appropriate in a remote access electronic environment. More likely, new strategies along the lines of Orr's Capability Index (Orr, Pings, Pizer, & Olson, 1968; Orr, Pings, Olson, & Pizer, 1968; Orr, 1970) will have to be developed for there has to be a way to determine the effectiveness of the library/information center's efforts at merging locally held materials with remote electronic resources. Johnson (1994b) states that, if meaningful evaluation is to take place, collection management professionals will have to acquire statistical skills. These are necessary prerequisites to the analysis of circulation records and data elicited from users.

There remains one additional issue arising from the adoption of electronic resources as a significant offering in the library/information center's collection. Collection management has traditionally been organized along subject discipline lines. As Ryan (1994) pointed out, a key to the rise in interdisciplinary research was the increasing availability of electronic resources. Wilson and Edelman (1996) felt that maintaining this structure "invites the undue perpetuation of collection gaps" (p. 196). Related to this is the nature of electronic resources themselves. Collection management professionals will have to be both content oriented and computer literate to make selection decisions on electronic resources. The impact of these decisions needs to be viewed in light of such related concerns as: hardware, software, telecommunications, interface issues, and so on. In addition, there are the legal and contract issues stated earlier. The lone bibliographer seems a lot less viable now. For all these reasons, Johnson (1996a) suggests restructuring collection management along team lines rather than on a strictly subject discipline basis. While she admits bibliographic work is usually done individually, she concedes that "collection development work is collaborative" (p. 10). Bibliographers, while traditionally highly individualistic, have always operated "within a library's shared goals of improving collections and access to information" (p. 11). In fact, teamwork has been how collection development has always operated successfully. Formally adopting the team approach, she concludes, would mean that bibliographers would spend less time dealing with administration and be able to concentrate on their major function.

The material cited earlier has created an imposing agenda for the consideration of library/information science educators. Electronic resources have become a major factor in: (1) serving a more diverse audience; (2) the emergence of new modes of instruction; (3) the increase in interdisciplinary research; (4) the development of a parallel universe of electronic information resources; (5) the need for a mature reviewing media focused on this format; (6) developing a selection strategy that will integrate electronic resources into the collection mix; (7) an array of thorny new issues in selection, especially licenses, copyright, and contracts; (8) the need for, and unique aspects of, electronic resources collection development policies; (9) the problem of adequate levels of fiscal support, the allocation dilemma, and the attendant need for fiscal skills; (10) devising more sensitive measures to evaluate the collection; and (11) the need to consider the restructuring of collection management within the library/ information center. This is quite a daunting agenda.


The agenda that has been outlined becomes more intimidating when one considers the current status of courses in collection development. In her discussion of one such course, Diedrichs (1996) states that it includes an "overview of collection development, including the philosophy of selection, selection of materials, including selection tools and multiple formats, intellectual freedom as it relates to selection, information needs analysis, publishing, acquisition budget allocation and fiscal management, collection evaluation, cooperative collection development and resource sharing, automation and trends" (p. 7). In light of what we have examined in this chapter, this is not an atypical set of topics. Diedrichs concludes: "It is impossible to cover the ever increasing volume of material in this field" (p. 8). That said, it is still obvious that the numerous issues raised by the growing array of electronic resources must somehow be addressed.

In the face of increased competition for the education of information professionals, Van House and Sutton (1996) draw upon ecological and sociological theory. They examine two possible strategies for library/ information science education that are: (1) specialization; and (2) hybridization (p. 143). For library/information science education, the specialization strategy would result in the addition of other degree programs in allied fields to complement the M.L.S. degree. This is a strategy that has been followed at the University of Pittsburgh and Rutgers University. Hybridization is a strategy that is based on "adopting the characteristics of successful competitors, melding them with one's own key characteristics as a way of bringing about intentional evolution" (House & Sutton, 1996, pp. 142-43). The American Library Association-accredited schools availed themselves of this strategy in their adoption of information science courses in the 1970s and 1980s. Education for collection management appears to have the same two options. However, in light of the extent and complexity of the agenda to be addressed, and Diedrich's observation, it is difficult to imagine adopting the hybridization strategy. We cannot even begin to adequately prepare collection management specialists within the confines of one course in a sixteen week semester. Even a course limited to the first two elements of the Edelman model would pose overwhelming challenges. If hybridization is untenable, then specialization must be seriously considered. This strategy would suggest that the appropriate forum for the education of collection management professionals would be an additional course, or courses, limited to the parallel universe of electronic resources. Each of the core elements of collection management delineated above would be included. Some of the components of a course (the depth of information presented in each topic would dictate the logic of having one or two courses) would be:

A. Community Needs/Analysis (Who's Out There)

Topics would include: (1) coping with the changing information environment; (2) overview of the rise of personal computing, networking, and the Internet; (3) effects of personal computer (PC) ownership and Internet access and use of library/information centers; (4) distance education and its impact on libraries and information centers; (5) changes in scholarly communication; (6)how increases in interdisciplinary activity/research affect library/information centers; (7) role of libraries/information centers in providing access to a diverse multiethnic clientele; and (8) use of the Internet in conducting an analysis survey and maintaining an ongoing community profile.

B. Electronic Publishers/Publishing (First Filter)

Topics would include: (1) electronic publishing; (2) self publishing; (3) range of materials available via the Internet; (4) maintaining the integrity of original electronic works; and (5) setting the boundaries of what is collectable and expanding the possibilities.

C. Electronic Reviews/Reviewing (Second Filter)

Topics would include: (1) selection tools--scope and limits; (2) evolution of reviewing media; (3) bibliographic control; (4) role of librarians/ information specialists in reviewing; and (5) establishing and maintaining cooperative reviews/reviewing databases and Web pages.

D. Selection Issues

Topics would include: (1) access philosophy/strategy; (2) negotiation skills; (3) contracts; (4) licensing and copyright; (4) assessing/re-assessing organizational structures; (5) establishing and maintaining an effective selection decision making process; and (6) identifying and coping with supplemental cost factors.

E. Selection Policies

Topics would include: (1) unique selection criteria; (2) use policies; and (3) challenged materials.

F. Funding

Topics would include: (1) determining budgetary adequacy; (2) new financial allocation models; (3) alternative financial resources; (4) maintaining ongoing financial commitments for electronic resources; and (5) cost-benefit analysis of the electronic collection and hardware/software supporting it.

G. Evaluation

Topics would include: (1) output oriented methods evaluating the ability of the library/information center to effectively provide access; and (2) weeding the electronic collection.

From an examination of school catalogs, there seem to be offerings that supplement the traditional collection development courses now being taught in some schools of library and information science. The University of Texas-Austin (1999) has a course entitled "Developing and Organizing Media Collections" in its course listings. SUNY-Buffalo (1999) offers "Selection, Acquisition and Organization of Non-Book Materials." Closer in concept is Dominican University's (1999) "Internet Resources: Cataloging and Access Management" which is described as "a comprehensive and practical understanding of cataloging Internet resources from selection and collection management ...". While a bit thin, and open to interpretation (do they really supplement the basic collection development course?), the offerings mentioned at least seem to be pointing in the right direction.


In light of what we have presented, it would appear that Atkinson's (1994) belief that collection management would fade away is quite mistaken. It is far more likely that the appropriate strategy for the education of collection management professionals dictates more rather than less specific course work dedicated to the parallel universe. It also appears that the case for a course in acquisitions put forth by Nisonger (1994) has been buttressed by the enormity of the task facing collection development/management education. We cannot complete this article without noting that educating collection management professionals for an electronic age actually began in the early 1990s. While adequate for the time, it must be stressed that graduates of that era need to be brought up-to-date. There will be an increasing need for continuing education for working professionals. At the very least, the agenda prepared by collection management professionals suggests that it is time to seriously consider Osburn's (1983) concept of a program approach to educating for collection management responsibilities. These farsighted collection management professionals have given library/information science educators a great deal to consider. It is time for educators to respond with creative courses and alternatives if collection management is to remain a central activity in library/information centers.


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Virgil L. P. Blake, Queen College CUNY, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Rosenthal #254, Flushing, NY 11367

Thomas T. Suprenant, Quezon College CUNY, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Rosenthal #254, Flushing, NY 11367

THOMAS T. SURPRENANT is a Professor at the Queens College, CUNY Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. His teaching responsibilities center on the role of information technology in providing information service in libraries and information centers and distance education. His main research interests are information policy, intellectual property, and information technology in library/information centers.
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Title Annotation:collection of electronic and printed library resources
Publication:Library Trends
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2000
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