The following full-text article (preprint) was recently accepted for publication in the March 1, 2015 issue of C&RL.
Edward A. Goedeken
Iowa State University
Iowa State University
From the Introduction of the Article
Over the past couple of centuries libraries have developed sophisticated bibliographic structures to accommodate the printed book and its acquisition, description, and classification. In the space of two decades, however, this well-established arrangement has been shaken by the disruptive technology of the DDA. This phenomenon has upended (perhaps in a good way) the approach to building collections that librarians— particularly academic librarians—had created after gaining control of selection from the teaching faculty in the 1960s. xv (It should be noted that the term PDA or DDA has evolved over time, and for purposes here we will use the term DDA to represent patron involvement in contemporary collection development whether it be through a PDA or a DDA).
Through the DDA, the users—unbeknownst to them— suddenly had emerged as a player in building academic library collections. They have become, as Suzanne Ward recently noted, a new partner in collection development. For decades, librarians filled their shelves with materials based on what the librarians determined would best meet patrons’ needs. As this century’s second decade began, however, prominent library thinkers, such as Rick Anderson, had concluded that the DDA would become “the standard approach for most research libraries.” And, as Sandler recently noted, today’s librarians need to do a better job of knowing “all they can about our users” and their actual information needs.
With a DDA in place, ebook titles that have immediate usage can be incorporated directly into a library’s permanent collection. But in practice, how do the titles patrons access during their online catalog investigations compare with those chosen consciously by the professional library selector? Do patrons and librarians identify the same materials or are there differences in what is chosen? We conducted a study at the Iowa State University (ISU) Library to investigate how ebooks added to our collection through our DDA compared with titles chosen by the professional librarians.