ARLIS/NA Annual Meeting
Collection Development Discussion Group
April 19, 2004
The first topic of discussion was ArtStor pricing. Numerous librarians said the pricing structure was prohibitive for their institutions. Several mentioned the limited coverage of contemporary art as a reason they would not subscribe immediately. Some mentioned the value to academic constituencies outside of art history and found the name ArtStor limiting as a selling point to these parallel fields.
The second topic was sources for selection of materials. Several attendees mentioned the value of approval plans; Lucie Stylianopoulos further noted that UVA was able to protect approval funds from drastic budget cuts on her campus. Reviews in journals are never timely but always useful for interdisciplinary areas and those not supplied on approval. Surveying art journals, while time consuming, is always beneficial for the ads and publication announcements they provide; review of journals is also beneficial to inform selectors about current trends in the field. Online Amazon reviews can occasionally be useful as is the information provided in Books in Print online. It was mentioned that more librarians would like to buy from vendors exhibiting at the conference but have no easy way to check their libraries’ holdings. Terminals in the exhibition space were recommended. Everyone was reminded to scan CAA Reviews online. Publishers catalogs remain an important check on selections made through other means. Lucie mentioned the value of relationships established with the campus bookstore; they can often provide deep discounts and very timely delivery of materials. All were reminded to check the local newspapers for information about local publications. A representative from Printed Matter asked for feedback on their web site and it’s utility for selection; she noted that thematic searching will be available soon as well as a new arrivals section.
Print versus electronic journals was the next topic. The group was asked what they were doing with retrospective print sets. Most libraries are retaining back sets because the quality of images is inevitably better. Especially for making slides or scanning for projects, images in the electronic versions are inadequate. Visual comparisons also often require the quality of the images in the print edition. Mechanisms for recouping the costs of printing from these resources vary but most institutions are charging for printing in some form. Some mentioned the microfilm editions we have of some journals; up to now reproduction has been poor from these resources. A representative from Proquest mentioned that they will be releasing new equipment to provide digital output from microfilm which should improve reproduction quality.
The final topic was the relation between general and special collections in the art library. All of our institutions have some special collections which can be very valuable for research as well as classroom presentations. In some cases these materials overlap those in the rare book collections of our institutions. We have to protect those items that are now terrifically valuable or irreplaceable. Many institutions also have certain materials designated non-circulating or “core” which remain in the open stacks.