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Bastyr University Library News

Selection Criteria for New Resources

by Susan Banks on 2022-05-09T12:49:31-07:00 | 0 Comments

Library stacks pre 2016 remodel

Library Stacks pre 2016 Remodel

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the library scenes to make that book “magically” appear on the shelf? Okay, well maybe you haven’t, but there are a significant number of steps before a resource, either print or digital, is available for use. They include finding, evaluating, ordering, cataloging and processing items with appropriate labels so you can find them. Who knew?

The mission of the library is to support the academic and clinical curricula for all University programs and research endeavors. To achieve this, we have a collection development policy outlining detailed selection criteria for print materials and electronic resources.

Criteria for adding new materials in all formats include:

  1. Relevance to the needs of existing or prospective academic programs;
  2. Scope and content of the work;
  3. Authority and credibility of the authors, editors and/or contributors;
  4. Reputation of the publisher or producer;
  5. Accuracy and objectivity, including opinion-based bias;
  6. Thoroughness of references to scholarly research;
  7. Depth of the existing subject collection;
  8. Currency of the information, especially for print materials in rapidly changing areas of science and medicine.

Additional considerations for electronic resources include 24-hour accessibility with remote access from home when appropriate and affordable, cost, compatibility with the network and site license agreements. Specific selection criteria for journals include scope and coverage, source, quality, uniqueness of content, audience, database indexing, and completeness of holdings.

Just where do we find these resources? The selection process includes an ongoing survey of book reviews, publishers’ catalogs, listservs, RSS feeds and bibliographies. Many items are acquired via recommendations from faculty, staff and students which we particularly value. If you’d like to suggest an item, here’s how.

Over time, the collection evolves. Early on, scholarly complementary and alternative medicine books were scarce, so the library also bought credible consumer ones. Community members frequently visited the library and could even check out materials.

More recently, eResources have exploded resulting in fewer print journals and to a lesser degree, books. When the library underwent a major remodel in 2016, the collection was honed to a tight clinical collection with a strong emphasis on traditional world medicines and the natural health arts and sciences.

When books become outdated and worn, they’re weeded (removed…don’t you love that term…), better databases replace old ones and worn out items are “retired.” Items that were appropriate when purchased may no longer be a good fit. These decisions are continuously made using the same criteria as for purchasing. The ultimate goal is to create the strongest collection possible given the collection development policy. As always, if you have any questions, please contact the library,

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