Collection development is a process of material selection and acquisition that consider both a users’ current requirements and their anticipated future needs. Collection development and management is a somewhat more sophisticated process,calling for a careful analysis of existing collections, management, storage, and organization. Some authors call depository collection development plans business plans,and they are in a sense.
Traditionally, collection development usually starts with the selection of a Dewey Range, followed by the generation of a complete list of monographs or AV material in the proposed range. Depending on the size, 10% of collection is analyzed quantitatively and 5-10% qualitatively. As the collection plan needs to respond to the needs of a targeted community, a focused, contemporary demographic profile needs to be created first to acquire a sense of the community’s present and future needs.
Yet, for any actual development that creates an impact, a quantitative analysis is invaluable. Quantitative analysis benefits from data visualizing tools (such as ManyEyes) that have ability to represent existing content in a form of an image broken down by categories such as titles (key words), average lengths, types of publishers, and so on. A good quantitative analysis will inform about the completeness of the collection: its balance and representation of marginalized voices or themes. A final collection development document needs to explain and justify expenditure and provide a rationale for the detour from the tried and tested ways of acquiring material. The investor also want to know how outreach and marketing are built into the plan, something much easier to explain if the narratives are used throughout.
This somewhat slow or old fashioned approach to collection development in fact helps to internalize the data and allows for decision-making from a sustainable perspective that will, in the long term, actually create the impact we hope to achieve.