Recipe for a Healthy Collection Assessment


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Collection assessments are conducted at the Houston Cole Library to ensure that current programs are supported adequately and to find out if materials are needed for newly added programs. They are conducted approximately every 5 years or sooner if needed for program reaccreditations.

Subject librarians prepare collection assessment reports using either a detailed long method with conspectus worksheets, or a short method with more numbers and less narrative. Ingredients are mixed together with the help of the technical services and acquisition departments to prepare needed data.

Assessment reports on various Library of Congress subjects have the same basic recipe. Some of the main courses include:

  • Introduction
  • Holdings information for serials and monographs
  • Monograph and serials/periodical expenditures
  • Titles added compared to Titles published by YBP
  • Summaries outlining strengths and weaknesses of the collection
  • Recommendations
  • Details with conspectus with numbers for appropriate LC ranges
  • Checklists and bibliographies

Collection assessments are prepared for administrative staff in the Houston Cole Library, for the appropriate departments and/or colleges, and for university administration.

Following approval from the Library’s Collection Management and Development Group, the assessments are served to the Web for public access.

Houston Cole Library’s Collection Development and Assessment website, http://libguides.jsu.edu/cmdg, serves up assessments as well as links to the Collection Management and Development Policy.


Publication/Presentation Information

Barnett-Ellis, P., Vann, C. P., 2016 Alabama Library Association Annual Conference, "A Recipe for a Healthy Collection Assessment," Alabama Library Association, Gadsden, Alabama. (April 13, 2016).

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