The year 1992 saw acquisitions departments trying to do more with fewer resources. Acquisitions librarians are grappling with changing technology by adapting, learning, and discussing problems that all face. The literature of acquisitions in 1992 is examined in several categories: acquisitions organization, conference reports, pricing issues and budgetary concerns, vendor performance, electronic publishing, automation, and acquisitions abroad. The proliferation of electronic communications is hazing a profound impact on acquisitions. Issues of access versus ownership, copyright, and storage of electronic media are becoming a part of the business of acquisitions.
The descriptive cataloging literature of 1992 is examined. A number of works deal with the cataloging of special materials. Work in artificial intelligence and expert systems is drawing increased attention, as is the problem of dealing with nonroman scripts in the online environment. Critical analyses of the Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) formats are also notable. The practicing cataloger is faced with the familiar dilemma of needing to improve cataloging techniques in the here and now, which almost inevitably means incremental change and the desire for a broader vision of the future. The literature shows good efforts in both areas but leaves many fundamental questions unanswered.
Interest in classification theory and in facet-based systems was more evident during 1992, the year that marked the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Ranganathan. Efforts to simplify subject cataloging routines include exploration of automatic and semiautomatic methods. Solutions to online subject searching problems might be shifting to the domain of information-retrieval experts. The 1992 subject analysis literature is examined and described using the following categories: theoretical foundations, cataloging practices, subject access in online environments, and specialized materials and topics.
Collection building returns to the forefront in many of 1992's notable articles on collection development. Other key topics include selection policies, cooperative activities, and collection evaluation, as well as concerns about organization and staffing. Several important contributions on budget and allocations are noted, as is a continued emphasis on electronic formats.
If one of the goals of preservation professionals is the integration of preservation strategies within the rest of the organization, then 1992 showed movement toward that goal. The number of preservation-related articles that appeared in the general literature shows this developing integration. The trend toward further experimentation and testing of new technology gives every indication of continuing. More and more expertise will be required to keep current as technologies change. Complicated issues continue to expand as preservation tries to keep up with the changing face of technology, while still pursuing new solutions to ever-present problems.
Issues relating to the reproduction of library materials have now proliferated far beyond the traditional practices of microfilming and photocopying. Traditional activities to the reproduction of library materials in the areas of microfilm and electrostatic photocopying continue to be brisk, but new electronic applications long technologically possible are becoming more economically feasible and are making their own distinctive niche in the field of document publication, reproduction, and delivery. The impact that the new technology will have on the old promises to be enormous. The role of hybrid technologies for the reproduction of library materials in the digital age has yet to be clarified. The increasing use of electronic imaging will not mean the displacement of older micrographic and paper-based document reproduction and delivery services. Rather, an increasing dependence upon electronic digital imaging will continue for current material that is more heavily in demand.
The serials literature published in 1992 is selectively reviewed and listed. Issues regarding current cataloging matters and development of the electronic journal receive the primary focus. Authorship is predominantly academic and thus one sided in representation. To a large extent we have an American perspective of essentially a series of international issues.