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Reference Collection Development Policy
(passed 28 January 1999; rev. 3 October 2001)
LOCATION AND DISSEMINATION: Official copies of this policy reside in the following places: Murray Library's Policy notebook; the Library's home page; the Reference Coordinator's office (on disc). Copies have been distributed to the reference librarians.
This policy is designed to augment and complement the Library's general Collection Development Policy, specifically treating the reference collection. General guidelines on issues such as relevance, potential usage, timeliness, accuracy, language and format, currency vs. retrospective emphasis, and cost are addressed in the general policy. Both are intended to support the College's goals and objectives. As with the General Collection, the Reference Collection is intended to serve the needs of the Library's primary patron group--the students, faculty, administration, and staff of Messiah College.
II. Size and Scope of the Reference Collection
The Reference Collection covers most, if not all, subjects covered by the general collections. It is intended to be balanced and to support the curricula of the College.
There is no clearly defined size for the Reference Collection. However, prevailing demand, changes in the curriculum, student enrollment in various curricula, and, to a lesser extent, the physical and architectural constraints of the Library serve as guidelines to the relative growth of the collection and growth rates of certain areas within the collection.
While any member of the library faculty can add individual items to the Reference Collection as deemed necessary to support the needs of their liaison departments, the overall size of the Reference Collection is the responsibility of the Reference Coordinator. Thus, additions of significant numbers of materials (e.g., a new series; the equivalent of a shelf of books) are made in consultation with her/him.
III. Criteria for Inclusion
In general, materials included in the Reference Collection exhibit some if not all of the following characteristics:
Currency: The most recent editions of standard reference works will be included in the Reference Collection. Superseded editions will be either weeded from the collection or trans-fered to the main stacks (circulating collection). This will be decided on a title-by-title basis.
Among the materials included as part of the Reference Collection are both general and specialized periodical indexes and abstracts, whether in print, CD-ROM, or networked format (e.g., FirstSearch).
Internet resources attached to the Library's home page, with the exception of those linked under "Resources by Subject," are considered Reference materials.
Treatment of other specific types of materials is addressed in the addendum: Treatment of Some Types of Materials.
Reference materials are acquired in a variety of formats: traditional print formats, microforms, and electronic (CD-ROM; Net-based; dial-up). As a rule, a decision to purchase or not purchase a reference work will not be made solely based on format. The substantial portion of the Reference Collection continues to be in print format.
Selection preference is given to materials in the format most practical for retaining, preserving, and making available to the Library's patrons.
Serials/Series: Due to space consideration, series will only occasionally be included as part of the Reference Collection.
Electronic: In general, electronic format should be considered when other library resources are insufficient in terms of currency, ease of use, accessibility or completeness of subject covered. Evaluation of current print sources should be done before new electronic products are purchased or recommended. Whenever possible and practical, electronic products should be previewed before purchase.
Electronic products designated as reference should be compatible with and accessible using hardware and software in the Library public service area.
Remote use (unmediated use) of some products may be difficult without a consultation appointment (i.e., without help from a reference librarian). If no mediation is available or necessary AND the product does not meet the general criteria for reference collection materials, the product should go to general circulation.
All purchased electronic reference materials, regardless of format, will be catalogued. Whenever possible, full cataloguing records downloaded from OCLC will be used.
For further documentation on treatment of electronic resources, see: Criteria for Selection of Electronic Products (addendum to the general Collection Development Policy) and Responsibilities and Procedures for Handling Electronic Reference Resources (addendum to the Reference Collection Development Policy).
Duplication of reference material is usually avoided. Exceptions include style guides, some dictionaries, and thesauri.
Whenever possible, if another unit on campus already owns an item and library use of said item is expected to be minimal, arrangement should be made with the owner to allow access to occasional patrons. (However, the presence of a reference work somewhere else on campus does not preclude Library purchase of it, if warranted.)
Heavy wear on an item may justify duplication.
Duplication of printed materials with electronic versions is an increasingly untenable luxury. Purchase of the electronic version of an already held print resource should be done sparingly and a decision to weed or retain the print version should be made. Decision to cancel print versions in favor of online versions is made title by title based primarily on use, availability and cost.
VI. Selection and Acquisition
All librarians are responsible for selecting materials for the the Reference Collection. In particular, the liaison librarians are responsible for selecting materials in their general areas, in consultation with the faculty of the liaison department and, when necessary, with the other librarians. The Reference Coordinator, in consultation with the other librarians, will select in those areas not specifically falling under the purview of any specific liaison area (e.g., LC classifications A, Z), although other librarians may also select in areas outside of their immediate liaison areas, in consultation with the Reference Coordinator.
As a general rule or guideline, reference materials over $500 to be purchased out of general funds (as opposed to liaison or departmental budgets) should be brought to the Reference Group for input and/or approval.
For major General Reference materials, whenever possible products should be evaluated by the librarians during a specified period of time before a group decision to purchase is made. A group decision should be made before the new budget is set in the spring.
For major specialized Reference materials, products should be recommended by departmental faculty or liaision librarian and evaluated by both.
Decisions on Internet resources to be attached to the Library home page are made by the Reference Group.
VII. Evaluation and Weeding
While weeding of individual volumes can be done at any time, the Reference Collection should be evaluate at least every 3 years to identify outdated materials or duplicated materials; to identify gaps; to identify worn and/or damaged materials in need of replacement; and to identify materials that might better be used in another format.
It is the Reference Coordinator's responsibility to see that the evaluation takes places although s/he is not responsible for actually evaluating and weeding the entire Reference Collection. Liaison librarians are responsible for weeding in their general areas, in consultation with the faculty of the liaison department and, when necessary, with the other librarians. The Reference Coordinator, in consultation with the other librarians, will weed those areas not specifically falling under the purview of any specific liaison area (e.g., LC classifications A, Z).
VIIa. Evaluation of Electronic Products
While evaluation of electronic products is an ongoing process, evaluation at regular intervals will be conducted as follows:
*Stand-alone electronic products in liaison areas should be evaluated at least every three years when other reference products in the liaison area are being evaluated.
*Annually, the Library faculty will review all current electronic subscriptions to recommend their retention or cancellation. Subscription retention will be based on cost, adequacy of coverage, comparative usage, service history, and availability of alternatives.
*After a new or existing product as been tried out for at least one year, the retention or cancellation of the corresponding printed version will be reviewed based on the following criteria: departmental faculty feedback, user demands, ownership and licensing restrictions of the electronic product, and reliability of the producers.
Addendum: Treatment of Some Types of Materials
Almanacs(general): The most current edition of each general almanac is housed in Reference Collection. Preceding editions of one almanac are transfered to the main stacks; preceding editions of other almanacs are weeded.
Cycle: annual; standing order
Atlases: generally, in Reference Collection, with oversized atlases being housed in the atlas case. A few general world, U.S., and Bible atlases should be housed in main stacks for circulation.
Rand McNally Road Atlas: United States: Cycle: annual; standing order
Bibles: In addition to a significant number of versions of the Bible in the main stacks, one copy of each of the major English translations are kept in the Reference Collection. Concordances for these translations are also acquired and housed in the Reference Collection. Selection of materials to be kept in Reference is made in consultation with the Bible Department.
Bibliographies: generally housed in the main stacks.
College and Graduate School Directories (e.g., Barron's, Peterson's): In Reference. The Library retains a recent set of the Peterson's graduate school directories; the previous edition is withdrawn and given to the Career Center. The Library also retains recent editions of several general American college directories (e.g., Barron's, ACE, College Blue Book), staggering their purchase to ensure that a new edition of one is received each year.
Cycle (Peterson's Graduate School Directories): annual; standing order
Cycle (College directories): 2 years (for regularly published items); standing order
Commentaries: Several sets of commentaries are kept in Reference. Selection of these is made in consultation with the Bible Department.
Concordances: see Bibles
Database Manuals: Documentation for using Reference databases, whether for stand-alone (e.g., CD-ROM) resources or networked resources such as FirstSearch and Dialog, will be maintained in the Reference Collection.
English: At least one one-volume, standard English desk dictionary no more than 4 years old will be housed at each of the dictionary stands in the library. Additionally, copies will be housed in the Reference Collection.Directories: In general, directories (e.g., of associations; travel and lodging) are housed in the Reference Collection. Superseded editions, if deemed of continuing value, are transfered to the main stacks.
Encyclopedias: The Library receives 3 major general encyclopedias: Encyclopedia Britannica; Encyclopedia Americana; and World Book. Each is updated periodically (see cylces below), purchase of updated versions being staggered among the three titles. The exception is the electronic version, which is updated annually. In each case, the previous edition is transfered to the main stacks. Earlier editions are weeded. (Occasionally, donation of the preceding edition to a needy organization may supersede this policy.)
Cycle: 3 years; standing order (World Book); 5 years (Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana)
Field Guides (e.g., Peterson's guides): generally housed in the main stacks. Occasionally, copies of ones of broad interest may also be maintained in Reference.
Graduate School Directories (e.g., Peterson's): See College and Graduate School Directories.
Indexes: housed in the Reference Collection. Paper periodical indexes are shelved separately at the end of the Reference Collection.
Lab Handbooks: generally housed in the main stacks.
Statistics: In general statistical sources are housed in the Reference Collection.
Statistical Abstract of the United States: Cycle: Annual; standing order
APA: One copy of the latest edition is kept at each dictionary stand, one in the Reference Collection stacks, and one at the Reference Desk. The preceding edition is transfered to the main stacks. All earlier editions are weeded.Who's Who in America: Most recent edition in Reference. Previous editions are retained in the main stacks as follows: one set each from decades before the 1970s; after that, sets are kept every four years.
Cycle: Four years; standing order.
Addendum: Responsibilities and Procedures for Handling Electronic Reference Resources
For all electronic reference materials, there will be a designated "Selector," who is responsible for overall coordination of the process from sponsoring the original selection through implementation, training and eventual deselection. In the case of general reference materials, that Selector will be the Reference Coordinator. For materials selected by a liaison librarian and/or his/her department, that librarian will be the designated Selector.
I. Identifying Electronic Reference Materials
members, staff, etc.) to a librarian.
II. Ensuring Connectivity
a) The liaison librarian (for departmental materials) or the Reference Coordinator (for general materials) are responsible for investigating hardware/software needs through the Automation Coordinator.
b) The Automation Coordinator is responsible for verifying that current hardware is in place to access the requested electronic resource or for identifying hardware needs.
III. Deciding to Purchase/Access
a) Materials to be purchased out of general funds and priced at $500 or more may be brought to the Reference Group by any of the librarians. They will contact the Reference Coordinator to be placed on Reference Group agenda.
b) The Reference Group makes purchase decisions when using general funds for purchases over $500 or for subscriptions. At this point, the decision on number of authorized users and type of access (e.g., Web, stand-lone CD) is made by the Reference Group.
c) For purchases of materials under $500 made out of general funds, approval by the Reference Group is not necessary. However, consultation on such purchases is welcomed.
d) For Reference materials purchased out of liaison or departmental funds, liaison librarians and/or departmental faculty will make purchase decisions.
e) For links of Reference materials to the Library's home page (e.g., web sites), decisions to provide links are made by the Reference Group.
IV. Purchasing and Receiving Materials
a) Liaison librarians will work with Acquisitions staff in purchase of materials under their purview.
b) The Automation Coordinator is responsible for all negotiation and communication with vendors and consortia regarding the purchase of the materials.
c) The Automation Coordinator establishes and maintains licensing and leasing agreements.
d) The Automation Coordinator submits an Electronic Resources Acquisitions Form (attached) to the Serials or Acquisitions Technician (as appropriate) before placing the order.
e) The Automation Coordinator apprises the Acquisitions or Serials Technician of any changes in the course of negotiation and ordering.
f) The Serials or Acquisitions Technician sends the Form to the vendor (for order confirmation and for billing and shipping instructions) and establishes the order records.
g) The Automation Coordinator apprises the original Selector when the order has been placed.
h) The Automation Coordinator monitors any changes to the purchase or subscription status (e.g., delayed publication, format changes, costs) and apprises the Selector and the Serials or Acquisitions Technician of same. The Technician likewise informs the Selector and the Automation Coordinator of changes that comes to his/her attention.
i) Items will be shipped to either the Serials or Acquisitions Technician (as appropriate).
V. Implementing and Installing
a) The Automation Coordinator is responsible for apprising the original Selector and/or the Reference Group of the arrival of material and approximate date of access.
b) The Automation Coordinator consults with liaison librarians or Reference Group (in the case of general materials) to determine where access should be made. This would include determination of where Web-based resources would be linked to the Library's home page; wording for links on menus; etc.
VI. Cataloguing Electronic Reference Materials
N.B. Per Reference Collection Development Policy, Section IV, all electronic reference materials (including remote access materials) purchased by the Library will be cataloged.
a) Under the supervision of the Technical Services Coordinator, cataloguing staff will be responsible for providing the cataloguing information.
frequency (if applicable), user restrictions, a summary (520) if time permits, LC subject headings, 690 headings (see below) location/mode of access.
VII. Training After Installation
a) The Selector is responsible for learning how to use the resource and for training the reference staff in its use. In some instances, the Selector may choose to arrange training by another party.
b) The Selector is responsible for developing guides for patrons as necessity is identified.
conducting training in said products.
VIII. Reviewing Electronic Materials
a) The Reference Coordinator ensures that all electronic reference subscriptions are reviewed annually.
b) The Reference Coordinator ensures that all links of electronic reference materials to the home page are reviewed annually.
c) Review of other electronic materials will be done in accordance with the guidelines established in the sections VII and VIIa of the Reference Collection Development Policy.
IX. Equipment maintenance
a) It is the Automation Coordinator's responsibility to see that equipment is maintained for adequate use of reference materials.