118 · Representative Documents: On-site Shelving Strategies
Collection Retention Working Group: Report and Recommendations
and annexes. PSUL selectors should consider whether consortial relationships and repositories
may provide sufficient access by applying the following criteria:
Reasonable access to content in a trusted print or digital repository is available, ensuring
enough copies to meet the needs of consortial partners (see Appendix D: Definitions for a
definition of “trusted digital repository”)
Services to support reasonable access are robust and well-developed
Nature of the original source may require the physical format be retained (e.g., prints,
images, other materials which may not be well-served by digital access)
In some disciplines, retention cutoff dates based on year of publication— but should be
clearly articulated for long-term planning 9
Enough tangible format copies exist in North America to ensure the survival of lightly
held materials
Formal depository and repository responsibilities: government information, USAIN,
land grant cultural preservation, CIC-Shared Print Archive, and other consortial retention
commitments [see Appendix B: PSUL Roles and Responsibilities]
PSUL Collections of Distinction: areas of special distinction developed through
purposeful acquisition or by accident (see Appendix D: Definitions for a definition of
“collections of distinction.”)
Data-Driven Assessment
On a single day, April 2012, only 76,229 volumes from the circulating collection were checked
out —a remarkably low overall percentage of our collections. CRPWG notes that circulation
data, however, are only one criterion for evaluating the use and role of the collections.
Additional data is needed to develop a fuller understanding of the role our collections play in
teaching, research, and preserving collections which meet the needs of scholars.
Accurate data about local use of our collections is hard to come by and trust. Data about the
extent of the uniqueness of our collections, as compared with peer institutions, is not readily
available (or is laborious for individual selectors to compile). Therefore, the group recommends
the development of a better approach to providing selectors with the data necessary to assess,
not only the use, but also the uniqueness of the PSUL collections and its role in supporting
teaching and learning at Penn State, the Commonwealth, and with other consortial partners.
This would allow selectors to make decisions informed by data, rather than ‘what if’ scenarios.
There is considerable in-house skill and access to data for collections analysis however, it may
not be sufficient for the scope of analysis that will be required to implement a comprehensive
9 Boomgarten and Straley, p. 15.
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