This literature review covers research in acquisitions from 1981 through 1985. Acquisitions is defined here as the ordering, claiming, and receipt of library material, as distinguished from collection development and selection. Major issues in acquisitions are viewed through critiques of some of the important publications of the last five years. The author points out the relative lack of research on the topic and the need for more education about and attention to the many facets of acquisitions.
Because decisions to preserve library materials affect the quality and composition of library collections, such decisions clearly must be made in consultation with collection development staff. To date, however, very little effort has been made to describe the processes and criteria of preservation selection from the perspective of collection development. This is partially because preservation has in most libraries only recently acquired the status of a fully legitimate library operation deserving coordination with other library functions, but also because some of the values that underlie selection for preservation are alien to those that inform current collection development, as I will try to show in this paper.
One of the liveliest issues currently confronting the library and archival professions is selection: for acquisition, for processing, for weeding, or for preservation. Indeed, there have been occasions during the past decade when the intensity of discussion of this topic has approached the polemical levels reached by that of the nineteenth century over natural selection in the animal kingdom. The debate has been hottest over the issue of appraisal and/or weeding of archival collections.
In 1984 seven RLG institutions conducted a study of the times and costs involved in the Cooperative Preservation Microfilming Project. The study covered twelve steps, including the identification and physical preparation of materials, filming and inspection, recording on the Research Libraries Information Network, cataloging, and storage. The results, which varied significantly among the seven participants, constitute valuable data for other institutions planning preservation microfilming projects.
To analyze the accuracy of two types of Library of Congress cataloging 900 items with catalog records created first as Cataloging in Publication and 908 items not in that program were examined and compared. Types and frequencies of errors were observed with a separate analysis of significant errors. Few errors per record were found. regardless of group. A higher proportion of records that began as Cataloging in Publication were found to have errors; but of the errors made, a lower proportion of significant errors were found in the Cataloging in Publication group. Recommendations are made for copy cataloging based on the somewhat different types of errors found in the two groups.
Surveys of student and faculty attitudes toward proposed online public access catalogs were conducted in 1984 with largely identical questionnaires at two colleges. Support far the traditional card catalog was strong among both students and faculty at both colleges; only Swarthmore faculty gave majority support to the online catalog. A minority of perhaps one in six may never use the new technology. Resistance to change was proportionately highest in the humanities and lowest in the sciences, with the social sciences in between. Respondents were unused to waiting for access to the card catalog and seemed unlikely to tolerate more than brief waits for the online catalog. While unconcerned about keeping online searches private, they did not like the idea of searching as others waited. Perceptions of the online catalog were sometimes positive; many welcomed the idea of terminals in faculty offices and student dormitories. Differences between the two colleges, while not great, may result from Swarthmore's greater experience with campuswide computing.
The author collected information about tables of contents and index terms in 125 books borrowed by patrons in a medium-sized academic library. To learn how useful the terms would be as subject terms in a library catalog, he determined which of these terms were the same as the words used by the patrons to describe the books. For 72.4 % of the books assigned Library of Congress subject headings, the patron's term matched the LC heading. The patron's term matched the table of contents term for 81.3% of the books with tables of contents. If the catalog had included terms from the tables of contents and the indexes in addition to the LC subject headings, the success rate would have been 97.3 %. One problem in using terms from books in a library catalog is that many books lack indexes and/or tables of contents.
This article reviews nine significant publications in serials librarianship with imprint dates of 1981 to 1985, inclusive. Its purpose is to present those publications that contribute to the serials librarian's knowledge of trends in serials management. Exploring the diverse aspects of this topic will be useful for other librarians interested in the role and future of serials in libraries.