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Thursday, November 9 • 3:30pm - 4:10pm
Working 'Inside-out': Transforming a Collections Department

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In his plenary at the 2015 Charleston Conference, ASU's Jim O'Donnell said: "And what will differentiate us one library from another 20 and 50 years from now is not which databases we subscribe to, but what unique materials we have in our libraries..." Yet, many research libraries have structured their most valuable resource - staff time - to focus on selecting and describing commodity collections. Over the past 3 years, Tufts University has restructured its collections department from traditional bibliographers to a department of Scholarly Communications & Collections, which focuses on selecting and creating what Dempsey, Malpas, and Lavoie (2014) call "inside-out" collections (e.g. the scholarship of the local institution, including research data; special collections), along with the creation of collections from the open web. Shifting job focus to build capacity, hiring staff, and distributing basic collecting responsibilities to a new liaison model featuring both subject and specialized liaisons are part of the strategy to transform the department. The goal being to allow the Scholarly Communications & Collections department to deploy their considerable skills in collection development towards the creation of the research collection of the future, rather than focus on selecting widely available published materials.

The presentation will look closely at Dempsey et al's "inside-out" and "outside-in" collections, other literature on research library collections, and on organizational structures to support collections. The new structure at Tufts will be a case study, one approach to restructuring to support these new types of collections. Some attention will be paid to the development of the new positions in the Scholarly Communications & Collections department, as well as to the mechanics of the selection of books, journals, and databases in a new liaison structure. Perceived strengths and weakness of this model will be discussed.

avatar for Martha Kelehan

Martha Kelehan

Assistant Director, Research & Learning, Tisch Library, Tufts University

Thursday November 9, 2017 3:30pm - 4:10pm EST
Salon II, Gaillard Center 95 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401