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Course/Research Guides as Collection Development Tools

Recently I have created a number of  course specific research guides, e.g. Psychology 459/559: Infant Development, in which I inserted pre-formated subject searches in Portland State WorldCat to get students to relevant monographic content quickly (book links are at the bottom of the guide).

Observation: pre-formatted searches can be set up so the result list defaults to either Portland State Library, Summit, or WorldCat holdings first. IF results are pre-formated to show WorldCat holdings first, researchers find the latest monographs on the topic available ( i.e., like other indices/databases researchers find out about the universe of information available rather than automatically being limited to what is available at their institution). This can also work to the advantage of collection development librarians who want to target limited collection development funds to the titles students will most likely  find, i.e., less educated guessing about what titles to purchase and more targeted acquisition of most likely used titles.

Question: so what do you think of this approach? An obvious initial issue will be potential for increased interlibrary loan requests; though, over time  continued targeted acquisitions will mean more current titles held locally will appear at the top of the results list.

*I am using this approach for 300, 400, and 500 level courses that have research paper assignments and are taught every year, i.e., no 310/410 experimental courses which may never be repeated.  Also, I will share WorldCat record numbers with my Acquisitions’ team so local holdings are attached to the specific records which appear at the top of the list (Tony Greiner, Portland Community College, has pointed out the importance of specifying record numbers to which to attach holdings given the number of duplicate records in WorldCat, i.e., if holdings are attached to the ‘wrong’ record, local holdings may appear pages down from the top and be missed by most researchers who may then erroneously request the item via interlibrary loan).

Thanks for your consideration!

Robin Paynter
Social Sciences Librarian
Portland State University Library

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