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A Fine Balance: Tangible or Electronic? Gretchen Gould Reference Librarian & Bibliographer University of Northern Iowa

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Presentation on theme: "A Fine Balance: Tangible or Electronic? Gretchen Gould Reference Librarian & Bibliographer University of Northern Iowa"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Fine Balance: Tangible or Electronic? Gretchen Gould Reference Librarian & Bibliographer University of Northern Iowa

2 Charge & Task  Ad Hoc Library Task Force  Should we remain in the FDLP as a selective depository?  Was the collection being used enough to justify the expenditures and maintenance?  Consider moving to Documents without Shelves completely  Identify process to drop depository status  Make recommendations on whether we retain depository status as is and/or how the collection might evolve Commercial service available through Marcive in which full MARC records with URLs for government documents that have been published online are loaded into our catalog on a monthly basis

3 Challenges  Gather and analyze information  Objective and comprehensive snapshot of collection  Newer documents available online as well as older, historical government documents  Literature review  GovDoc listserv query  Each depository library unique

4 Information and Data Gathering  Since 1989, 14,000 government documents have circulated once or more  Since January 2005, 2,500 government documents have circulated once or more.  Since January of 2009, 438 government documents have circulated once or more.  698 government documents circulated a total of five or more times.  711 government documents were used internally between June 2009 and June 2010  In March 2010, 140 electronic government documents were accessed a total of 191 times. In April of 2010, 379 electronic government documents were accessed a total of 429 times.

5 Survey Questions and Responses  Online survey for students, faculty, and staff  11 questions  90 responses – over half were from faculty  Collection still used for research and classes  Online documents were preferred  Misconception that everything is online

6 Other Factors  Input from subject bibliographers  Personnel time – 1,800+ hours per year  Expenditures - $3,900 on Documents without Shelves subscription  Space – 7,000+ linear feet with 65% of shelving space used

7 Scenarios  Transition to a mostly electronic depository collection which included retaining our depository status, heavily weeding the depository collection, and shifting to take up less space.  Transition to a hybrid print and electronic depository collection which included retaining our depository status, heavily weeding the depository collection, and shifting to take up less space.  Transition to a hybrid depository collection which included retaining depository status, modifying and hybridizing item selection list, but no heavy weeding or shifting.  Do not change a thing.  Drop depository status completely but retain subscription to Marcive’s Documents without Shelves service. This involved relinquishing our depository status, offering all of our government documents to other depositories, and de- accessioning materials from our catalog and OCLC.

8 Significant Benefits  Receiving all government documents, tangible and electronic, for almost no cost to Rod Library.  Access to federal government databases that Rod Library would not otherwise have access to.  Free Marcive records tailored to our item selection profile as a depository library participant in the GPO’s Cataloging Record Distribution Project.  Retention of depository status would let Rod Library keep older government documents that were considered valuable.

9 Significant Drawbacks  Relinquishment of Rod Library’s depository status would be an irrevocable decision.  Rod Library would be terminating a 64-year partnership with the federal government.  Our patrons would lose access to all government documents, tangible and electronic.  Every single government document would have to be individually de-accessioned from the catalog and OCLC, listed and offered to other depositories, which would heavily burden the workload of the Technical Services staff

10 Task Force Recommendations  Rod Library should retain status as a selective government depository  Selection profile should be changed to focus on electronic resources whenever possible.  Recognizing that it will be important to keep some resources in tangible form because some publications do not yet exist in online form, or are not easily usable by researchers in electronic format  Size of the current tangible collection be reduced through a special weeding project.  Focus on keeping sources that are of historical and/or research value to the local community, and that do not exist in usable (or any) electronic form

11 Conclusion  Task force recommendations were accepted by the library administration  In the fall of 2010, a second task force was appointed to develop a detailed plan and process for weeding the government documents collection  Contrary to popular belief, everything is not online  There is still value to having a tangible government documents depository collection  Tremendous value in maintaining a partnership with the federal government that benefits all parties involved and furthering the mission of access to government information


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