Annual Report, 1997–1998

Janet Swan Hill, ALCTSPresident


The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) exists to provide leadership, services, information and programs in the areas of its functional responsibility, which are the acquisition, identification, cataloging, classification and preservation of library materials and other information resources, and the development and management of collections. ALCTS addresses its mission through the work of committees, task forces and discussion groups both at the Division level, in the five sections, Acquisitions, Collection Management and Development, Cataloging and Classification, Preservation and Reformatting, and Serials, and in the Council of Regional Groups. In addition, ALCTS coordinates its activities with those of the American Library Association, and actively cooperates with ALA and its various organizational units, and with other professional bodies in the areas of ALCTS concern. In all of these endeavors, ALCTS is assisted by its Executive Director and an expert office staff.

Goals & Achievements

ALCTS has strongly endorsed the goals of the association as a whole, as expressed in ALA's Goal 2000, and ALCTS' own goals and activities are closely related to those of Goal 2000, as outlined in the ALCTS Annual reports for 1995/96 and 1996/97, both of which can be accessed through the ALCTS web site.

As I took office, my personal goals involved assisting the organization to function as effectively as possible in support of member interests and initiatives. Activities and accomplishments along these lines fell into three somewhat overlapping areas of concentration, with the following highlights:

Coming to grips with economic realities

The ALCTS Newsletter was begun in 1976 as a member service and was never intended to make money or to break even, but in recent years, with competing needs for Divisional support, the cost of producing it has become harder to defend. A plan for replacement of the paper version of the Newsletter with an electronic one was developed, and a Web-based version will be launched in 1998. A major focus of ALCTS activity is in its programs, workshops and regional institutes, for which it has increasingly become necessary to try to defray some costs through outside funding. Because event organizing committees often do not include individuals with interest, experience, or talent in soliciting funds, a Fundraising Committee was established to assist in these endeavors. Every decade the ALCTS/AAP Joint Committee conducts a survey of the library marketplace. Both the cost of conducting and tabulating the survey has increased dramatically since the last survey was done, and is now beyond the budgets of both ALCTS and the AAP Libraries Committee. The survey originally scheduled for Spring, 1998 has been deferred until adequate funding can be secured. ALCTS is engaged in a variety of efforts to exercise economy through utilization of electronic capabilities, with one example being that in order to cut back on costs for printing and mailing announcements for regional institutes and similar events, the ALCTS staff has begun to send announcements via e-mail to members with e-mail addresses.

Making use of technology to conduct organizational business

ALCTS' involvement with electronic communications for its members and others is longstanding. The electronic newsletter, ALCTS Network News ( AN2) continues to be published, the ALCTS website is undergoing continual development and expansion to reflect Divisional events, policies, and procedures, as well as committee reports and information resources. Electronic lists are maintained for numerous committees, enabling discussion of committee business between meetings, and in some cases, allowing action to be taken. Recommendations from the Task Force on the Use of Electronic Communications concerning continued and strengthened use of the Internet and the World Wide Web to enhance user services and facilitate committee work were accepted. Implementation is underway, including formation of a special Electronic Communications Committee to address issues of publishing and disseminating electronic documents, and to assist in the continued development of the ALCTS website.

Membership and organizational issues

ALCTS membership continues to decline at a rate slightly higher than the decline in ALA membership overall. Current membership stands at 5,072. Various promotion activities have been undertaken, including letters of welcome, letters urging lapsed members to rejoin, and questionnaires to dropped members. Discussion of a general membership survey continues. With the conversion of the ALCTS Newsletter to a Web-based publication, conducting a survey as a Newsletter tear-out is no longer an option. ALCTS is a complex organization with five sections plus CRG and the Division itself, with committees, task forces, discussion groups, members, officers, liaisons, consultants, and representatives. The relationships among all these groups and their members can be confusing, the task of making committee appointments can be daunting, and navigating organizational channels can be bewildering. The Organization and Bylaws committee has begun the process of clarifying liaison relationships, and the Board has begun discussion of issues of committee overlap and streamlining. The Leadership Development Committee continues to experiment with various mechanisms for familiarizing committee members and officers with the workings, requirements, structure, and resources of the Division, and of its sections.

Other activities

Highlights of other activities and accomplishments include:

  • ALCTS provided financial assistance to eight individuals attending international conferences as official or unofficial representatives of ALCTS, and nominated six individuals for membership to IFLA committees.
  • The wide-ranging set of recommendations made by the Task Force on Meta Access led to ALCTS directing various committees to examine their charges and names, to incorporate metadata issues into their work, to create Web tutorials on metadata related topics, and to monitor developments in the field of metadata and meta access.

Programs, Institutes, Preconferences, Workshops

ALCTS has presented regional institutes on Electronic Serials, Virtually yours: Models for Managing Electronic Resources and Services (co-sponsored by RUSA) and Managing Metadata for the Digital Library (co-sponsored by LITA). A teleconference on The Fundamentals of Acquisitions, was broadcast to more than fifty downlink sites. Other institutes are in the planning stages, including Cataloging Now, to be offered as a preconference at the American Association of Law Libraries conference, with investigations underway for additional venues. The Basic Collection Management and Development Institute is projected for spring, 1999. Preconferences are being offered on international developments in cataloging, preservation of recorded sound, and cataloging electronic serials. Some of the programs offered address the topics of subject access systems, serials management, the impact of new technologies on collection development, international book fairs, vernacular scripts in authority records, user needs, offsite storage, and the human side of outsourcing.


ALCTS has an active publications program, including the publication of three serials: Library Resources & Technical Services, is the official quarterly journal of ALCTS. It is edited by Jennifer A. Younger, and this year welcomed Margaret Rohdy as its book review editor The ALCTS Newsletter is edited by Dale R. Swenson, and the electronic newsletter ALCTS Network News ( AN2) is produced by the ALCTS Office. During the past year, ALCTS appointed Brad Eden as series editor for its ALCTS Papers on Library Technical Services and Collections, and has also published or has seen published the following items that represent work undertaken by or under the auspices of the Division:

  • Audio Preservation: A Selective Annotated Bibliography and Brief Summary of Current Practices, edited by Robin Dale, Janet Gertz, Richard Peek, and Mark Roosa (publication imminent)
  • Book and Serial Vendors for Africa and the Middle East, edited by Karl Debus
  • Cataloging Correctly for Kids: An Introduction to the Tools, 3rd ed., edited by Sharon Zuiderveld (includes Guidelines for Standardized Dataloging of Children's Materials)
  • The Future of Descriptive Cataloging Rules, edited by Brian Schottlaender
  • Guide to Managing Approval Plans, edited by Susan Flood (publication imminent)
  • Outsourcing Library Technical Services Operations: Practices in Public, Academic, and Special Libraries, edited by Karen A. Wilson and Marylou Colver
  • A Selected Bibliography for Library Acquisitions, 4th ed.
  • Vendor Research and Development Survey (Web publication imminent)


ALCTS honored eight of its colleagues for special achievements or contributions to the profession and the division:

Best of LRTS Award: Samuel G. Demas and Jennie L. Brogdon
Blackwell's Scholarship Award: David F. Kohl and William Gray Potter
Esther J. Piercy Award: Judith R. Ahronheim
Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award: Christian M. Boissonas
Margaret Mann Citation: John D. Byrum
Bowker/Ulrich's Serials Librarianship Award: Crystal Graham
First Step Award - Wiley Professional Development Grant: Lauren E. Corbett