document on collection development and classifications
- here is the document:
February 27, 2008
Proposals for library collection development.
Adequate informational material is an important part of the teaching
mission of schools of Oriental Medicine. Equally important is the
arrangement of and access to this material. Here are some
suggestions for developing and maintaining such a collection.
Size of the collection.
The collection of materials in all formats should be sufficient to
support the needs of faculty and students and be consistent with the
mission statement of the institution. Some items are required as
part of the teaching curriculum, others support general research or
Access to the collection.
The collection should be readily accessible to users. There must be
a system in place to put each item in its proper place on the shelf
and some means to have a data base sufficient to categorize, find and
account for the material. This usually means a computer-based file
of some kind. Such a file should have at least these characteristics:
*adequate power to properly provide sufficient information on each
*be flexible and capable of dealing with increasing amounts of data
as the collection grows. A filing system for 40 to 100 items can be
fairly simple, but will probably be unable to support a larger
*be based on standard library cataloging practices to a high degree
in both description of a given item and a classification scheme which
places items on the shelf in a coherent manner.
In general it is best to think of future growth when starting up or
expanding a collection. It is easier to build an adequate
classification system for even a small collection rather than have to
retrofit a collection later on. This applies to allocation of
physical space as well.
Each item should have a file record using all of the
*physical description, e.g. 241 p.; ill., 23 cm; 1 tape, analog, 30
*a main subject upon which the classification number is based
*classification ("call") number
*subjects(multiple fields may be needed)
*isbn or issn number
*additional authors (may be optional)
Other items which may be part of the record:
**corporate authors or schools associated with the item
**accompanying material, e.g. CDRom, CD,etc.
The fields with a single * should be indexed and searchable.
These fields should adhere to standard cataloging procedures embodied
in the Library of Congress Machine Readable format. Subject headings
should follow guidelines provided by the Library of Congress of the
National Medical Library.
Generally it is advisable to use one of the standard classification
schemes for the "call" number:
*Dewey decimal system-used in most public libraries; most medical
material is put into a relatively small range of numbers.
*Library of Congress and National Medical library classifications use
letters and number combinations and have more flexibility. NML use
Library of Congress numbers except for medicine.. See sample below.
Library of Congress RM184
National Medical Library: WB369
Online help is available for finding the correct number for each
subject. National Medical library provides the most complete
A key criterion in selecting a database system is portability. Data
in the system should be in such a format or be formatable to transfer
to a different database. This is important because at some point it
may be desirable to go from a small system file such as Excell to a
more standard library vendor file such as Surpass or LibraryWorld.
It is probably best to use an internet based system as the collection
grows. Internet based systems provide these advantages:
*access from in the library or remotely.
*no need for dedicated servers and storage devices.
There is of course some loss of control over the data and one must
rely on the internet vendor for reliable storage. In case of an
internet connection failure, your database will not be available.
Some online library internet vendors:
LibraryWorld is based in Saratoga, California. One month free trial;
from $365 a year.
Surpass offers a variety of packages, also one month free trial.
CyberTools is probably more suited for larger collections. Some free
trials may be available.
Sample catalogued records with full MARC fields and LC or NML
classification numbers can be viewed on the Five Branches University
website http://www.fivebranches.edu Go to the student life button,
click on library in the pull down menu and you will find a link to
the online catalog. Other information will also be found this page
regarding other information sources.
Standardized terminology and practices.
Using a standardized terminology set is important for classifying and
finding materials. Most libraries use either Library of Congress or
National Medical Library subject headings. Further documentations
will go into more detail on this matter. Here is an example:
subject: Theory and practice of medicine in China:
Library of Congress basic heading: Medicine, Chinese.
National Medical Library: Medicine, Chinese Traditional.
Subject headings and author entries usually have these inverted
Peter Deadman is listed as Deadman. Peter. etc.
Some tips for cataloging an item:
Look for a catalog record for a given item in another database rather
than trying to do it from scratch. Copying a record that fits the
local library's criteria saves time and insures a more uniform
description between schools. If your library software allows for
copying Library of Congress records, do so. You can modify the LC
record for your own needs and save it in your database.
Consistency in data management.
Consistency in entering data is important in providing assured
electronic access to materials in the collection. it is desirable
that one person have this responsibility at any given time to set
standards and direct helping personnel. Written protocols and manuals
are a vital tool in maintaining continuity.
It is probably inevitable that some materials will go missing. Here
are some considerations regarding security of the collection.
a. adequate inventory control. The database should provide an
accurate list of materials and ideally a report for assisting in
taking account of what is on the shelf.
b. education of patrons in the value of honoring the collection and
enhancing the sense that the library materials are for everyone to
use. Promotion of mutual help and respect among users will go a long
way to maintaining the integrity of the collection.
c. Size of library and budget considerations. Security systems are
relatively expensive. For a small collection the cost to benefit
ratio is probably minimal. Better to allow for an amount for
replacement of lost items. As a collection grows, security will
become more cost effective and even necessary. The 3M company offers
a security system for around $12,000. Establishment of any security
system should be based on present needs and flexibility to meet future
Unless the materials are available for use only in the library space,
there must be a means to account for items which users take out for
personal use. Most library-oriented database programs have a
circulation module for registering patrons, checking items in and out,
assessing fines etc. If you using a database without a dedicated
circulation module, you will have to develop some other means to
account for checked out materials. Libraries traditionally used a due
date card system manually sorted and maintained. This may work for a
small collection but becomes labor intensive and fraught with
potential errors as the collection grows.
If you have any questions or comments. please send to
library@... or post to the CCAOMLCAOM group.
Five Branches University