Statement of Competency 6
Competency 6: Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
Library and information professionals are often responsible for a collection of information resources that serves the needs of a community. This entails the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of data or objects that comprise the collection. It is therefore necessary for information professionals to be familiar with principles and concepts that guide practice, and how they are applied in the real world. My skills in this competency are derived from my coursework and from professional experience.
The first step in managing a collection is to understand the community being served. A community analysis is necessary to ensure that a library’s programs, services, and materials are meeting the demands of its patrons. An effective analysis answers questions about who comprises the community, what they are interested in and why, what they want from their library, how the community has evolved, and what the community will be like in the future (Disher, 2014, chap. 2). Quantitative and qualitative data collected using various tools and methods must be interpreted and presented coherently. This process must be continuous and systematic to track changes in the dynamics of the library community.
The community analysis must then be applied to the library’s collection of materials. Collection evaluations and assessments demonstrate the collection’s value to its community. Collection-based and user-based evaluation techniques determine the quality and use of library materials (Disher, 2014, chap. 3). These tools inform information professionals when planning for collection development and creating policies.
The selection of items for a collection must be guided by the information organization’s mission. Factors to be considered when selecting materials vary depending on the type of organization or the project at hand. Public libraries tend to focus on materials on a specific subject, are in demand by patrons, are core resources, or provide a balance in formats, viewpoints, or interests (Disher, 2014, chap. 7). Digitization projects consider “the intellectual content or scholarly value of the materials, available funding opportunities, and the desire to improve access to a collection or to enhance analytic penetration of the texts” (de Stefano, 2000, p. 11). Additionally, they must contend with the complexities of copyright permissions. Selection for digitization may also be based on preservation concerns. A surrogate copy of the original is created to reduce handling of the original or to replace fragile or damaged materials. Digitization projects must create the highest possible quality surrogates to meet the needs of users (de Stefano, 2000, p. 22).
Collections are completely useless unless users can find the materials they need. Metadata, or structured information about information, “facilitates the management and use of other information” (Lagoze & Payette, 2000, p. 84). Record fields include information that describes and identifies items, facilitates discovery, and supports archiving and preservation. Basic descriptive metadata includes 15 basic elements established by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (2016). Technical and administrative metadata aid with management and preservation. An understanding of the basic concepts of metadata and the standards used in the field are necessary for information professionals to ensure access to materials and collections.
The following evidence is submitted to satisfy Competency 6:
- School library satisfaction survey, a professional tool
- Digital collection of historical documents, a group project for INFO 284 Digitization and Digital Preservation
- Copyright analyses, an assignment for INFO 284 Digitization and Digital Preservation
- Benchmarking for digital capture, an assignment for INFO 284 Digitization and Digital Preservation
Professional tool: School library satisfaction survey
I created this survey within weeks of beginning my job as a school librarian in April 2017. To increase the value of the school library, I needed essential information concerning student and teacher perceptions of library materials, programs, and services. This type of survey provides information professionals with a user-based collection evaluation. I paired this with circulation data that gave objective information about how materials are used. This information formed the basis of a collection development plan guided by the school mission and designed to address user feedback and usage statistics. I am now incorporating into my plan information from a collection-based evaluation. This entails comparing our library’s materials with lists of standard titles, scanning shelves, compiling and interpreting statistics, and applying standards (Disher, 2014, chap. 3).
The George M. Aldridge Memorial Collection is a group digitization project. A team of four students created a digital collection of documents signed by Secretaries of the Treasury of the United States from the 18th and 19th centuries. The project involved selecting materials, benchmarking for digital capture, a copyright analysis, scanning the documents, creating metadata, and using CONTENTdm software to organize and present the collection.
In this paper, I was responsible for the sections on copyright, metadata, preservation, other issues, and the conclusion. (Although the work was meant to be divided evenly between all of us, the contributions of two group members were unfortunately negligible. The entire project was essentially done by myself and one other student.) The analysis of copyright and preservation considerations demonstrate my understanding of the issues involved. The metadata created for our documents is evidence of my mastery of the concepts of organization and management of items in a collection. I feel that my work and the work of one other group member is of a very high quality. The digital collection is valuable, unique, useful, and interesting. It was also one of the most difficult assignments of all my classes. This project fostered in me a deep respect for the information professionals who pioneered the field of digital collections. I am proud of the collection, and hope that the classmate with whom I collaborated finds a home for this important collection. I regret that we only had time to digitize 35 objects in this collection.
INFO 284 Copyright analyses
This was an individual assignment designed to give students insight into copyright issues when selecting materials for digital reproduction. Several collections being considered for digitization are analyzed in terms of copyright permissions. The range of items include personal letters from 1900, public reports, a book published in 1929, photographs from the 1800s, and oral histories. This assignment demonstrates my familiarity with copyright law, and how to determine whether and how permissions need to be secured for various materials. My work shows that I am able to identify key features of a range of materials that help to determine copyright status. It also shows that I am familiar with resources available for guidance on copyright issues.
INFO 284 Benchmarking for digital capture
This assignment was an exercise in analyzing various materials for digital capture. Six documents are examined in terms of type, date, production process, color, detail, finish, dynamic range, characterization, and physical size, type, presentation, and condition. Objects include a 1920s photo, a text and photo image, a manuscript page, color targets, and a black and white image in GIG, TIFF, and JPEG formats. I have identified important characteristics to capture, and recommended technical requirements for digital reproduction, including scanning system, bit-depth, dpi, and file size and type. This assignment is evidence that I understand the principles of benchmarking for digital capture, and am able to analyze documents and make recommendations for digital reproduction.
The assignments from the SJSU MLIS course and the item from my professional practice are evidence that I have mastered Competency 6. I understand the principles guiding professional selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of information objects. I have demonstrated how these concepts apply to collection development in a school or public library, which are mainly focused on assembling and making available physical items and electronic databases for the library community, and to a digitization project, which revolves around creating digital reproductions and making them available to users. I am clearly able to put my knowledge into practice in a professional setting.
de Stefano, P. (2000). Selection for digital conversion. In Kenney, A.R. & Rieger, O.Y. (Eds.) Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives. Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group.
Disher, W. (2014). Crash Course in Collection Development, 2nd Ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (2016, June 14). “Dublin core Metadata Element Set.” Retrieved from http://dublincore.org/documents/dces/
Lagoze, C. & Payette, S. (2000). Metadata: Principles, practices, and challenges. In Kenney, A.R. & Rieger, O.Y. (Eds.) Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives. Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group.