14 December 2012

ALISS Christmas Seminar

On Wednesday, I was very glad to have the opportunity to deliver a presentation about my research to the ALISS (Association of Librarians and Information Professionals in the Social Sciences) Christmas Seminar.

There were three presentations: Sharon Johnson from the British Library was discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by the process of developing a content strategy. I found the idea of strategy development and implementation as a journey very persuasive; it certainly resonates with some of the findings from my research. I also liked a matrix which can be used for deciding priorities for collection or content delivery, plotting potential benefits of different initiatives against their probability of success. I think that this matrix could be very useful for decision-making in collection development and management. It seems to me that one of the challenges of decision-making in this area is that it can be quite difficult to actually visualise issues relating to collections in a meaningful way.

This was followed by a presentation about a project at the University of Reading to review, relegate and deselect large amounts of printed materials, combined with the development of an off-site store. Paul Johnson, Head of Collections and Space and Claire Cannings, Collections Project Co-ordinator gave a valuable insight into the challenges of such a massive project. I particularly liked the photographs of the library reading rooms in the 1960s, compared with the same rooms more recently. In the 1960s the reading room was predominantly taken up with study space; in more recent years, storage of printed materials has encroached on that space, leaving just a small number of study desks around the outside of the room. It was very interesting to hear about the role of UKRR (UK Research Reserve) - a collaborative multi-institution project for the management of print journals - in facilitating some aspects of this local project to free up library space.

In my presentation, I talked about "Exploring concepts of 'collection' in the digital world", drawing on interviews and surveys conducted as part of my research. This is the presentation I gave:
I'm very grateful to the ALISS committee members for inviting me to speak and I very much enjoyed listening to all the presentations.

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