After these guidelines were vetted and approved by acquisitions staff and representatives from the Music Department, 100 titles were selected at random from the collection to do a trial run on the pro-cess. First, the cataloger evaluated the titles and separated them into either a retain or a discard category. The items were then forwarded to the music liaison in Acquisitions to evaluate the selections in light of the criteria established and the focus of the Music Department.
After the evaluation by the liaison, a meeting was scheduled between me and the acquisitions representative to discuss the results. We reached a consensus that overall good evaluations and decisions had been made, with some questions regarding the thought process on a few titles. After clarification, it was decided to move ahead with the process.
Since Cataloging also had an extensive amount of work to do with current purchases, a limit was placed of no more than 100 items to be retained per week. This was because while items may have been cataloged, they still had to be physically processed and shelved.
A meeting was scheduled with Stacks Management to alert staff to the project and to ascertain the shelving structure. In the first facil-ity, the items had been stored in an open area on special wide-width shelving. The decision was made to reshelve the items there, starting with recently vacated space from the removed items. In the second library where this plan was utilized, the record albums were added to an existing collection in a dedicated music room that also held scores and other music-related resources. In the first collection, items would be assigned the appropriate Library of Congress (LC) call numbers in an attempt, whenever possible, to develop a correlation between an owned score for the work and the relevant recording. This deci-sion paid dividends when the library moved to a new discovery tool offering virtual browse functionality based on call numbers with all of the similar items shelved together virtually. In the second library, a continuation of the accession number–based system was retained due to space limitations.
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Each day, approximately 50 to 100 titles were taken off the shelves, working from left to right, top to bottom. These items were then evaluated for retention. The retained items were then cataloged, with each week’s output being placed on a truck for processing. Cataloging adhered to existing department guidelines. In summation:
1. Full authority work to be done on all relevant entries.
2. Entries to be made for all performers/artists, up to a limit of five for each function (five singers, five instrumentalists, five composers, etc.).
3. Contents note to be made for all retained selections.
4. 7XX entries to be made if there were five or fewer selections on the album, or retained if they already existed in the record.
5. Preference to be given to utilizing entries created by LC or by other libraries that had demonstrated significant holdings of recordings and/or a strong reputation for good cataloging.
6. Conversion of all records to RDA standards where necessary.
7. Coding of 007 and 0XX fields as appropriate.
8. Recording of performance and capture date when available.
As the collections had been moved, they were not necessarily in the order in which they had been received. A phenomenon observed was that on some days there would be a very high retention level, yet on others, nothing might be retained. Where necessary, an email was sent to the library Music Department liaison or to Acquisitions for guidance or interpretation. During the process, approximately 2% of the items required original cataloging in OCLC. This cataloging was done at full level with full authority work done according to RDA standards. Care was also observed in noting the retention of the item in the collections of other institutions in the state desiring to adhere to the last copy retention guideline, although this was not considered to be the highest priority.
Ultimately, the process took between 12 and 18 months. The big-gest bottleneck in the system was the disposal of non-retained records.
52 PART 1 Collaborations Between Acquisitions and Collection Management
No vendor could be found that desired them, so a large number were placed on the free items shelf for the university community. Other titles were simply discarded.
At project end, we ascertained a retention level of about 5%. While this seems low, one needs to remember that these were donated items from personal collections. We experienced a higher rate of retention in jazz and new age along with a higher retention value in band record-ings consistent with the programs at the institution. There was a lower rate of retention in classical music as many of the titles and selections were owned on CD. We also realized a very high retention of older show tune and musical recordings. As a general rule, if there were multiple recordings of the same production, for example The King and I, all copies were retained to facilitate a comparison/contrast interpretation — particularly useful if the production in question was being considered for presentation or performance locally.
There were some unexpected results. The first was that adding such a large number of composers and performers to the database had the effect of updating many of the existing authority headings in our holdings since all items were sent to our authority processor. This also had the side benefit of enhancing facets and related searches in our discovery tool. This process has been so successful that it is being uti-lized, in a slightly modified form, for working through a collection of donated CDs. It has helped to forge a closer bond between Acquisitions and Cataloging, particularly in the areas of weeding of nonprint mate-rials, and it has served to improve the quality of our collection and retrieval as all items that were retained had their cataloging records upgraded to current RDA standards, along with multiple tracings, contents notes, and other pieces of coded information.
Another benefit we had hoped for but that unfolded differently than we expected was that some students ascertained that a signifi-cant number of vinyl records were going into the collection, possibly because of the new titles function of our OPAC. We actually had stu-dents coming into Cataloging looking for new titles, which told us
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that people were using that feature of our OPAC. Another side benefit was that we noticed an uptick in requests and use of our scores. This increase became so prevalent that Cataloging ultimately designed a guide for reference staff to use in assisting students and faculty when asked for help finding a specific piece or selection. Perhaps the most surprising but assuredly the most valued result was that music and theatre arts faculty started asking library staff for more information on the collection. They had been unaware of the extensive nature of the library’s collection to support their programs, in terms of materi-als such as scores, CDs, albums, and videos as well as of library staff support in the areas of bibliographic instruction and collection devel-opment policies. These outcomes, while unanticipated, will no doubt help drive utilization of the collection and library staff in the future.