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Evaluation of language and literature collections in contemporary academic libraries


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Mišetić, Marijana. (2017). Evaluation of language and literature collections in contemporary academic libraries. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Information Science.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti) [mentor Petrak, Jelka].

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The aim of this doctoral thesis was to evaluate the Italian Studies Collection in the Library of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (University of Zagreb) in order to identify its present status as a print book collection and make recommendations for its further development and transformation into a hybrid/digital collection. Philological scholarship is usually defined as the study of literary texts and written records in their authentic and original forms and relations. Philological methodology uses both synchronic and diachronic approach and is based on textual scholarship and reading, comparative analysis, and interpretation. That is why language and literature library collections have been print book collections for centuries. However, the appearance of digital media and communication tools, which started influencing all areas of human endeavor, higher education and scientific research included, resulted in the emerging need for creating philological content in new media formats as well. Namely, new media formats not only make available a large number of texts on a global scale, but also facilitate the philological scholarship by providing new opportunities for text search, downloading, updates, annotation and analysis. In that way, new media formats and communication tools affect the traditional print book collections directing collection management towards deselection of print books and building hybrid/digital collections. These processes have continued to redefine the role of academic libraries – which by end of the 20th century had already gone through complex technological, structural and organizational changes – and to direct them towards new priorities, which are: access to information in different media formats, collecting and preserving library material in new electronic environment, bibliographic control, quality assurance, scientific productivity monitoring and e-learning activities. The doctoral thesis argues that the evaluation of library collections in academic libraries, using scientific methodology and standardized procedures, is a critical and essential tool in collection management and integration of all relevant information resources in higher education. That is why the evaluation of language and literature print book collections in academic libraries aims at increasing not only the quality of library collections and services, but also the impact of all educational and research activities in the institutions of higher education. However, despite the theoretical and practical advantages of collection evaluation, and despite the growing needs of the Croatian academic and scientific community for quality information resources, the building of the culture of evaluation in Croatian academic libraries has started only recently. In order to make both theoretical and empirical contribution to collection evaluation in Croatia, after the review of recent literature on the issue, the results of two research studies aiming to evaluate the Italian Studies Collection in the Library of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (University of Zagreb) are presented and discussed in the central section of the doctoral thesis. Finally, the results of both research studies are put in a broader context of similar print book collections in academic libraries, and a framework of guidance for evaluating language and literature print collections is made and presented in the final section of the doctoral thesis. As for the research studies the aim of the first one, which focused on the Italian Studies Collection itself, was to describe the collection by means of the following criteria: scope, size, structure, morphology, type, status, language and age of materials, and overlapping with other collections in the Library of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies (University of Zagreb). The study was conducted using the following quantitative methods: statistical analysis, mapping, and comparison method. The data were collected mainly using the online catalogue. The circulation rates (loan transactions) during the fiveyear period from March 2009 to the beginning of the academic year 2014/2015 and the data on availability of selected titles, obtained using checklist method, were also included in the study. The aim of the second research study was to examine the Italian Studies Collection user satisfaction. The data for the study were obtained from two surveys. Two separate questionnaires on user satisfaction were created, a longer one for the students, and its shortened version for the teaching staff. The goals of both research studies were to determine the compatibility and relevance of the present print book collection to the Italian Studies curricula, as well as to identify directions and build models for further collection development. In order to investigate the present status of the Italian Studies Collection and to make recommendations for increasing collection effectivness, a special emphasis was given not only to technological, economic and social environment issues, but also to specific academic and scientific profile and mission of the parent institution, and to specific user needs arising from the methodology of philological scholarship. The results of the two research studies prove the hypotheses presented at the beginning of the doctoral thesis. It has been proved that the present Italian Studies Collection meets the needs of the Italian Studies curricula and fulfills the information needs of its users. It has also been proved that, due to the methodology of philological scholarship, the current Italian Studies Collection justifies its present profile as a print book collection. The results of the two research studies provide not only new insights into the Italian Studies Collection itself but also into users’ attitudes towards including digital content in language and literature print book collections. In this regard, the doctoral thesis suggests four different methods for increasing library collection effectiveness: permanent removal of print books, disposal of weeded books into a print books storage, replacing print books with digitized materials, and acquisition of new titles exclusively in digital formats. The doctoral theses highlights that the deselection strategy should follow well-defined content, formal, financial, and technical criteria. Following the criteria is of utmost importance because the results of the two research studies suggest that in language and literature studies two different information resource paradigms continue to coexist. The new digital media and communication tools have to a certain degree changed the philological scholarship, but have not abolished its specific nature based on reading and characterized by traditional forms of research, communication, and dissemination of results. Consequently, the thesis implies that electronic resources in language and literature collections are best for: providing access to information for subject areas which are not covered by print books (or for which printed materials are not available or convenient to acquire), facilitating access to frequently used materials, improving individual learning of foreign languages, meeting the dynamic needs of curricula, and optimizing library space. In conclusion, the doctoral thesis suggests that evaluation of language and literature print book collections in academic libraries is an important tool for both collection management and quality assurance in higher education. The doctoral thesis also suggests that the evaluation of language and literature print collections must be based on the comprehensive knowledge of library mission, curricula requirements, and philological methodology and scholarship. It should be structured as a system of permanent collection improvements, and implemented in short-term, long-term and ongoing activities. In that respect, the doctoral thesis hopes to offer a theoretical, methodological and empirical basis for identifying and monitoring development trends, capacity building, improving the overall management strategies in academic libraries, as well as for establishing cooperation between libraries. Furthermore, the doctoral thesis confirms the importance of statistical data in collection evaluation, because they are objective and comparable, relatively simple to collect and manage, and can serve for various technical, financial, and organizational decisions in libraries. The doctoral thesis also confirms the impact of user satisfaction survey because it draws additional attention to the importance of constant communication between library and its users.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: library collection; collection evaluation; collection assessment; collection management; academic libraries; language and literature collections; print book collections; hybrid/digital collections; Italian Studies Collection; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (University of Zagreb)
Subjects: Information sciences > Librarianship
Departments: Department of Information Science
Supervisor: Petrak, Jelka
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2018 07:54
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2018 07:54

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