Posted tagged ‘acquisitions’

A Pet Peeve gets Worse

November 12, 2008

ISBN’s have become a source of great annoyance to me over the past couple years.  The primary reason for this is a misaprehension amongst quite a few people about their usefullness.  The biggest issue in my library has been the idea that they are the perfect means of searching the catalog for duplicate items.

1) Different printings could have different numbers

2) Serial records don’t have them

3) Typos happen

4) The B in ISBN stands for book, other items don’t have them consistently.  

5) Enforcement of each item gaining a unique number is somewhat lacking.

So I don’t exactly like the damn things, but they have become a necessary evil where electronic ordering is concerned.  Then came the little problem today involving ISMN’s a variant of the standard for music.  We were ordering a large batch of scores, only to discover that we were unable to purchase a number of them through our usual means because the ISMN’s had replaced the ISBN’s.  Oh and just to throw out even more acronyms, both numbers are now interchangeable with EAN’s (the little numbers included with the bar code).  And to make things worse aparently both ISBN’s and ISMN’s will be fighting over the 979 number range before too long so they’ll look indistinguishable from one another.  A disaster waiting to happen.


September 9, 2008

This Friday Oprah will be unleashing a new book club selection onto the world.  And you can order it now, but there’s no way of knowing what it is.  The mysterious Oprah Book Club #62 (as it appears on Amazon, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor) could be anything.

Now we placed an order for it today, figuring it’s better to be safe than sorry.  But it’s a bit of an issue when the item could be a new title, something we already own, fiction or non-fiction.  This is not how collection development ought to work.  For that matter it’s not how billing should work (what fund do we want to guess it should come out of).

But it’s Oprah, so what can you do.

What is Technical Services?

August 20, 2008

I just got back from the most well attended tech services meeting I’ve ever been to, and it was a really good one.  But I think what I found most fascinating this time around was discovering the huge variety in job descriptions that the various attendees had (a few of us are planning to swap them over e-mail now actually).  At the meeting were librarians responsible for:



collection development






and actually two library directors, who also dabble in tech services work.

Granted I do or have done nearly everything on that list at some point, but it’s really amazing to me when you hear that the work done by your entire department (and a few people elsewhere in the library) is done by a single person at another library (who has my sympathy).  I don’t think I’m going to complain about being overworked ever again.

Formats and Dewey

June 23, 2008

My recent stint in collection development has hit some snags.  The materials I was allowed to order have forced us to reexamine some of our collection practices, and the whole thing has spiraled into far more work than anyone thought it would be.

The problems revolve around our dvd and graphic novel collections.  In the case of DVD’s (which all fit on a single shelf previously) we had them separated into features (placed with our a/v materials) and non-fiction (shelved with the books).  Our graphic novels on the other hand were shelved as a special collection within our YA department.  Neither of these collection policies scaled well.  With the videos we’re running up against non-fiction features (the John Adams miniseries) and Shakespeare adaptations that could go either way, and thus the system breaks.

With the graphic novels the issues are a combination of age appropriateness concerns, what to do with non-fiction books, and what to do with all the art collections of comic artists I purchased (I’m actually regretting that a little now).  The art books are the real problem here, as we don’t have any other ones in YA, so there’s a debate raging now about whether or not they should go in the adult collection instead.

Now I know the easy solution to both of these issues is to stop taking the half measures with both collections and just have separate sections by material type alone.  I would love to be able to do that, but I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.  So in the meantime we have to continue making things up everytime we find an exception to a rule, which is going to happen frequently the way things are.

I’m done venting for now.

The End of Year Tango Redux

June 16, 2008

So I few days back I wrote about our end of year budget surplus that allowed me to order a large batch of graphic novels for my library.  Well things sort of spiraled and people were struggling to think of things that we could get quickly on short notice without having to worry about wasting time looking at review sources.  Long story short, I got on top of the graphic novels I also got to add a bunch of classic films, a decent selection of BBC series, and I batch of f&sf art books (I can’t wait for the Jon Foster retrospective in particular).  This is yet another time that it has proven valuable to have a geek on staff.

However, that was last week.  This week we get the downside of all those orders, figuring out what to do with all those items when they come in at once.  Book carts are such coveted items right now, and I’m actually very concerned about the dvd’s because it wasn’t until today that anyone thought about if we had enough processing supplies on hand to handle such an order.  But the sad truth is that even had anyone thought of that, it still wouldn’t have been a concern as our one and only goal was to spend down the budget.

Still I enjoyed what may very well have been my one and only stab at real collection development.  And now it’s back to cataloging.

The End of Year Tango

June 12, 2008

We have now reached my favorite part of the library year, the 3 weeks before the end of the fiscal year.  This is the time when we in the acquisitions business panic.  We must ensure that every last cent of the book budget is spent, and in my library that means everything has to be received and invoiced as well.  We cannot have backorders, we cannot have preorders, and we can only do business with vendors with very reliable billing practices (giving us 2 options right now).

But the upside of this chaos is that I get the chance to try my hand at a bit of collection development.  Our selectors are desperate for suggestions, which means I get the opportunity to double the size of our graphic novel collection.  Anyone who read my post yesterday will know just how excited this made me.  I can’t wait for the boxes to star pouring in next week.