Counterparts Project: Reference
Reference Project Completed September 2005
Heads of Reference compiled a list of low use print reference backfiles, and shared Library of Record responsibility for some 38 titles. Kentucky will retain 4 titles, including Dissertation Abstracts. Tennessee will keep 17 titles, including the Subject Guide to Books in Print and the Thomas Register (1907-2002). Vanderbilt will be Library of Record for 16 titles, including Sociological Abstracts, the ISI Citation Science and Social Science Indexes, and PTLA (1913-1992). Government Documents counterparts previously decided that Kentucky would retain the U.S. Serial Set. The next step for reference tools will be to examine print indexes and abstracts for which digital versions are used.
July 13, 2004
John C. Hodges Library, University of Tennessee
David Carpenter (Vanderbilt), Paul Page (Kentucky), Linda Phillips (Tennessee), Rita Smith (Tennessee), Mary Vass (Kentucky)
The group met to discuss an Information Alliance reference collaboration project, and to consider developing a plan for sharing older reference materials. Participants provided background about space and related issues at their libraries.
Moved into a new building 6 years ago that is now full. The 14 branch and associate libraries are also full or very close to full. They use two storage facilities, one on campus, which is full, and another in a cave at High Bridge, KY, about 25 minutes away and 24-48 hour turnaround on filling requests. The International Documents library is located adjacent to the on-campus storage and provides some reference service and retrieval. Lots of older reference materials are kept at High Bridge. Library staff have observed a decline in the use of printed reference sources. Most JSTOR journal print backfiles are in storage. The university has secured land for a new storage facility, and there have been discussions with state government and other state supported libraries, about possible shared use of the site, but no appropriations have been made yet.
A centralized library system with branches for agriculture/veterinary medicine and music. Special collections, Map Library, and a storage collection are located in the Hoskins library that is sorely in need of renovation. Compact shelving is being installed in Hoskins this year. Approximately 100,000 volumes are now stored in Hoskins with the potential for an additional 250,000 using compact shelving. The reference collection covers nearly all subjects and the reference staff is large. Coordinators for humanities, social sciences, and science/technology report jointly to heads of reference and collection development and convene influential subject groups. Several print indexes and reference serials have been cancelled, and the reference team is now making location or withdrawal decisions. Materials requested from Storage are delivered in 24 hours on weekdays. While there is no public access to the collection, Map library staff retrieve materials for in-building use.
There are 8 fairly independent libraries and Special Collections. David is responsible for reference service at the Central Library. Storage collection is in a former telephone building called the library annex about 2 miles from campus. The building has growth space for 5 years. The Central Library is old and full, but no building project is likely anytime soon. Last year librarians conducted a major project to transfer print volumes to storage; each librarian received a quota of volumes to send to the annex. This freed some space, but there is still a need to create more. Requested materials from storage are delivered in mornings and afternoons, weekdays. The Library Annex offers a "direct fax" service if someone needs copies of a few pages from a periodical or other serial volume stored there (up to a limit of 30 pages). BioMed library has its own storage collection. Some units do not have a space problem; many of the libraries have done weeding. [More about Vanderbilt Annex services at end of meeting notes.]
Information Alliance Serials Archive
A spreadsheet of Titles for Consideration with nearly 6,000 entries has been created by the heads of collection development to promote sharing of low use backfiles within the Alliance. One library agrees to be Library of Record so that the others can discard the title if they wish. The Serials Archive does not require commitments related to current subscriptions, only that the Library of Record agrees to maintain the backfile and make it easily accessible. Partners help fill gaps in Library of Record volume runs when possible. Decisions have been made for approximately 25 journal titles. At the 2002 Rugby meeting, sci/tech coordinators reviewed call number ranges Q-T with the intent of dividing responsibility. Sociology librarians have recently expressed a similar interest in sharing backfiles.
The group decided to identify reference material backfiles for the Information Alliance Serials Archive. Criteria for being considered include low use, outdated content, and online availability, with priority given to titles with large volume counts. Since many general titles are shared among the three libraries, subject is not of particular importance. Among the categories of reference materials likely to include titles clearly meeting the criteria are directories, bibliographic finding aids, general encyclopedias, and biographical sources. Some distinction must be made between materials with current subscriptions and those which are ceased or cancelled.
The group decided to begin with a list of reference titles held at the Center for Research libraries and included in a pilot test offering CRL as a repository. Tennessee has already compiled a spreadsheet with these titles and some decisions have been made regarding backfiles. We will delete the following from the CRL list:
American Medical Directory
Commercial Atlas & Marketing Guide
IBZ (standard German bibliography)
To this list will be added the following:
BGMI (biography master index)
ISI Citation Indexes
Bookmans Price Index
Who's Who (All titles beginning Who's Who .... in the Marquis series)
Petersen's Guides (education)
College Blue Book
Because science/technology reference sources often include a large number of volumes, a second phase of the project will focus on these.
Fast and easy access to materials is essential for the Serials Archive to function as a shared collection. Cataloging and technical services colleagues can assure that location information about shared items appears in library catalogs. Presently, a local note is included in the catalog record for items held by Library of Record libraries: "<name of library> retains backfiles for the Information Alliance." In a library that has withdrawn volumes because it is relying on the Serials Archive, a local note to encourage users to request reference materials will support fast and easy access. The group drafted the following as a possible local note: "Shared Collection (V, K, or T): [this section of the message would be localized, e.g. "Ask at the Reference Desk" or "contact AskUs.Now" or "click here to request"]. The Information Alliance lending policy and delivery services also support access. A lending policy is currently being reviewed for adoption by the Information Alliance. Expedited delivery service among the libraries already works well. Reference teams will provide reference assistance on occasion, and use fax, online reference or phone to respond to questions quickly. Ideally, each library will be able to track records for withdrawn Reference serials to identify future titles for consideration.
Work Plan and Timetable
1. Identify titles for consideration (complete by Sept. 1)
Linda will prepare a spreadsheet with the titles identified by the group for local consideration to serve as Library of Record. Each library's holding of a title will be presented on a separate line for sorting. Column headings will include:
Subscription status (ceased, cancelled, current)
Library of Record
Date of Decision
Notes (could include number of volumes)
Shelf space required
2. Add holdings information to the spreadsheet. UT's CDM office will begin with UT holdings and those previously supplied for UK and VU. Mary and David will review and update holdings for their libraries. (complete by Oct. 1)
3. Heads of Reference consult colleagues regarding disposition of local titles. (October - December)
4. Consult technical services representatives about wording of a local note to be added to the catalog for items located in the Shared Collection. Linda will contact UT’s head of tech services; David and Mary will discuss with cataloging representatives at their respective institutions. We may need to initiate a conference call among the tech services people to be certain everyone agrees. (complete by Oct. 1)
5. Heads of Reference make decisions about Library of Record status (March 2005)
6. Transfer volumes to complete holdings as necessary (April-July 2005)
7. Heads of Reference develop procedures for sharing faxed pages, online and phone reference (complete by May 2005)
We will schedule a conference call for early October to discuss progress.
More information about Vanderbilt Annex Service
Annex staff use this service to respond to requests from Interlibrary Loan and directly to online requests from library patrons. The online form for the Annex fax service is currently offered only when a patron searches the Acorn online catalog for a serial stored at the Library Annex (though the form could be linked to other item types if we wanted). If you search our online catalog for the serial "Excellence in Higher Education" and click on the Annex Request button you can see both the fax option and the volume delivery form, although the fax option (and access to the form) is limited to VU Library cardholders.