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Need of Information Audit for Effective Collection Building in Libraries: with special reference to Academic Libraries. Authors: Mrs.Amita S. Pradhan , Librarian, Sinhgad College of Engineering, Pune-41(M.S.) Dr.Mrs. Neela J. Deshpande

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Need of Information Audit for Effective Collection Building in Libraries: with special reference to Academic Libraries


Mrs.Amita S. Pradhan,

Librarian, Sinhgad College of Engineering, Pune-41(M.S.)

Dr.Mrs. Neela J. Deshpande

Professor, Dept of LIS, Jaykar Library, Uiniversity of Pune. Pune -7(M.S.)

  • Collection Building is the main process of any library and information centre.
  • It depends upon a well designed purchase policy and best understanding of the existing collection.
  • It also requires understanding of the goals of the parent organization.
  • Collection Building is -Selection, ordering, processing, in view to maximize the usage of information. This can be justified with the help of information audit.
definition of collection building
Definition of Collection Building
  • “Library Collection Developmentis the process of planning and acquiring a balanced collection of library materials of many formats, including books, periodicals, online resources, and other media.”
collection building
Collection Building

In addition to ongoing acquisition of materials, library collection development includes:

  • Creation of policies to guide material selection, Replacement of worn or lost materials
  • Removal (weeding) of materials, which is no longer needed in the collection.
  • Planning for new collections or collection areas
  • Cooperative decision-making with other libraries, formation of consortia or ILL and co-operative collection building.
components of collection development process
Components of Collection Development process:
  • Needs Assessment: Users belonging to the academic set up have diversified needs as it varies from text book to e-book and journal article to secondary or tertiary database.
  • Selection and ordering: Judging the requirement against the existing collection, and finalizing requirement. This is followed by ordering to vendors and physically getting them in.
  • Evaluation: The collection has to be evaluated through the entire process against criterion of user need.
  • Weeding out procedure: weeding out the out dated collection also form a part of collection building. This step is recommended to maintain the quality and eliminate noise collection from library holdings.
  • Finance and budget allocation: Almost 90% of the library budget is send on the collection building activity.
library collection development cycle






Library Collection Development Cycle
selection evaluation criteria of resources for collection building
Selection/ Evaluation Criteria of resources for Collection Building

The quality of content and fulfillment of academic curricular needs are the first criteria against which any potential item for purchase are evaluated. 

Specific criteria used in selecting resources for the library's collection includes:

  • Lasting value of the content
  • Anticipated use
  • Appropriateness of level of treatment
  • Strength of present holdings in same or similar subject areas
  • Critical reviews
  • Cost and budget – value analysis
  • Suitability of format to content
  • Authoritativeness of the author
  • Reputation of the publisher      
collection building in academic libraries
Collection Building in Academic Libraries

Types of Resources used in Academic Libraries:

a) general circulating collection,

b) reference collection

c) periodicals,

d) fiction,

e) audiovisual materials

f) e- references.

  • Level One: Minimal/Basic Reference Level.  Only fundamental reference works containing general information on a subject, e.g., dictionaries, encyclopedias,  
  • Level Two: Selective Level.  This level includes slightly more than the basic level.  In addition to reference works, it would include a small collection of monographs and journals for general coverage on the subject fields.
  • Level Three: Representative/Undergraduate Teaching Level.  Covers all aspects of a subject field without going into great depth.  In an academic library, this would be a collection that can support an undergraduate program in the field. 
  • Level Four: Comprehensive/Beginning Research Level.   A large, well-developed collection that includes general and fairly specialized books and journals in the field, some of which are on advanced level mostly in interdisciplinary subjects.  In an academic library, a collection which provides adequate support for a Master's program.
  • Level Five: Exhaustive/Major Emphasis Level:   As comprehensive collection including highly advanced and extremely specialized materials In an academic library, a collection which can support most doctoral work in the field. Inter Library Loan and involvement in resource sharing as well as involve in cooperative collection building.
information audit
Information Audit

Elizabeth Orna (1999) in her volume Practical Information Policies defines IA as “ A systematic study of Information use , resources and flows with verification by reference to both witness (user) and documents , in order to establish the extent to which they are contributing the organization’s objectives.”

information audit as pre requisite of collection building in academic libraries
Information Audit as pre-requisite of Collection Building in Academic libraries:
  • IA works as the base or guideline for qualitative in collection building.
  • Through IA one comes to know the warrant areas of subject collection and naturally collection development can be more focused.
  • IA also discovers idle collection and outdated (not in syllabus) collection, so that the Librarian can think of weeding it out if authorities permit.
  • Information audit is a matching of need to its resource.
  • Collecting requisition, acquisition, processing information and dissemination of information - all theses components are

covered in information audit and are they are periodically verified and evaluated

  • Information Audit stands to justify the budget involved in collection building.
benefits of information audit
Benefits of Information Audit
  • Through IA a comprehensive listing of an organization’s information resources is done.
  • The realization of the costs associated with the acquisition, Storage and Retrieval of information within the organization is judged , which is beneficial for Budgeting and Forecasting.
  • Improvements in the collection of resources and services provided by the Information Centre are suggested and accordingly policy decisions are taken.
  • Avoiding duplication , sharing of information , changes (if required) in handling the information are possible.
  • IA is essential to know the dynamics of information within the organization. It educates the management about what kind of information is acquired, what are the gaps in provision of information to the users and what are the missing links in the information chain of the organization.
use of information audit for effective collection building
The quality and usability matrix is the most important factor while building the collection. Obviously, it is becomes a challenging task to scrutinize the existing collection and further develop it. Information audit components help in judging the library collection, services and resources in all respects.

An academic library annually performs –stock verification, User study, Usage analysis to support budgetary dictions. Information audit becomes all comprehensive tool to justify their demands.

Use of Information Audit for effective collection building :
ia layers
IA Layers
  • Examination of Information resources
  • Examination of User demands and their information use
  • Examination of the flow of information and exactness and efficiency of IR system
  • Examination of relevance of information behavior in view of the organizational goals.
how to perform information audit in academic libraries using model of information audit
How to Perform Information Audit in Academic Libraries, using model of Information Audit

Susan Henczel’s model of Seven Stages

of Information Audit (2001) :

1.Planning :

  • Understand the organization- its goals and develop clear objectives :

as imparting formal Education in Academic institutions.

  • Determine the scope and resource allocation for the task : Branch/ Subject wise funds for UG, PG programme.
  • Choose a proper methodology to conduct the task
  • Enlist management support – seek approval of the authorities.

2.Data Collection :

  • a)Data relating to information required to perform task and activities- as publisher or vendor lists for acquisition.
  • b)Data relating to the level of criticality of information resources, task and activities.- as identification of complicability in data by comparing databases, softwares, information records etc.
  • c)Data relating to information transfer.- knowledge about network compatibility, data transfer protocols, etc.
ia model cont
IA Model Cont…

3. Data Analysis :

  • Critical analysis of gathered the data is made. Three types of data analysis is carried out :

a) General analysis

b) Strategic analysis- to support policy making

c) information flow mapping- this is helpful for tracing- -- Insufficiencies, Bottle necks

- Information gatekeepers (lots coming in through

a single distribution point)

    • Dead ends (lots going in but nothing coming out)
    • Over provisions (services provided but not required)
    • Gaps (non-provision of critical resources)
    • Imbalances/ biases (inequalities in information provision)

4. Data Evaluation :

  • The data is evaluated in the context of the Organizational objectives.
  • Once the problems are identified the opportunities to improve the provision of information increased.
ia model cont16
IA Model Cont…

5) Communicating Recommendations

Communication strategies are important through the entire audit process. The recommendation are to be communicated to the authorities involved into the process so that the policies are decided.

6) Implementing Recommendations:

Recommendation are made and it is unto the concerned authority to implement it.

Plans are made for the implementation ,

Stages of implementation can be decided and

executed with necessary financial support.

7)The Information Audit as a continuum :

IA is an ongoing process. The initial Information Audit is a first generation audit. After that one has to regularly review.

  • Collection Building is the core activity of any library or information centre. It has to be performed very carefully as it has to cater the exact needs of the user in academic environment.
  • In any academic institution there is generally a budget constraint so every task of expenditure has to be justified.
  • Distribution amongst the form and the content should be given a specific thought and acquired accordingly in Academic Libraries.
  • It is necessary to perform information audit in the academic libraries.
  • Information Audit can work as the backbone of effective collection building of an Academic Library and Information Centre.
thank you

Thank you