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Collection Assessments

Collection assessment reports identify those collection areas with strong or weak holdings. Assessment reports include both quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the collection. The assessments are a very important component of a plan for collection development.

  • Format
  • Monographs
  • Serials
  • Qualitative Assessment

    Format

    A collection assessment report should include an introduction describing the department or program, a summary of the results of your assessment, and a summary the collection development goals for your area. The assessment should also include an estimate of the cost needed to bring the collection to the desired level. Elements of the quantitative analysis should include: monographs holdings analysis, serials holdings analysis, and analysis of relevant holdings in any special collections. The quantitative analysis should also include identification of specific gaps and specific titles to add to the collection. Relevant holdings in specialized collections other than the Thomas Cooper Library may also be pertinent to the evaluation. Other collections include: South Caroliniana, Rare Books, Film Library, Map Library, Government Information and Microforms.

    Monographs

    The monographs analysis should include information from the OCLC/Amigos Collection Analysis CD database system, a collection development tool available on CD-ROM. This system compares the Library's holdings against groups of other libraries. Collection Management will provide selectors with this data. The assessment report should also include some evaluation of the Library's coverage of recently published materials. The American Book Publishing Record, an available author bibliography, or an appropriate checklist are good measurement devices. These sources should be checked against the library catalog's holdings and a percentage of coverage should be determined. Another important measure is the growth of the collection. This can be shown in figures taken from the National Title Count, available in Collection Management. A complete assessment will include an overall coverage figure and figures for more specific subjects. This measurement should be at least as specific as the collection policy statement. The current cost of desirable books not held should be included in the report as a measure of budgetary needs.

    Serials

    A complete serials analysis will include information from Collection Development about the Library's periodical holdings compared against the periodicals lists of major indexes. At least two lists should be included: the appropriate citation index and one major index specific to the subject. The report should also include a wish list of those periodicals to which the Library does not currently subscribe. This list can be used to estimate the cost of improving the collection to the desired level.

    Qualitative Assessment

    The qualitative assessment should be a commentary on the extent to which the Library's holdings are meeting the needs of our users as defined in the collection policy statement. Qualitative assessment should interpret the findings of collection measurements. If weaknesses are identified, how are they explained? The assessment may also consider library users' impressions of the quality of the collection and some discussion of possible steps the Library may take to rectify significant gaps in holdings and the steps the Library might take to reach the desired collecting levels determined by the collection policy statement. This should include examination of the mechanisms for acquiring materials, for example, some comment on the effectiveness of the approval plans.

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