Evaluating your reference collection

Question: Due to budget cuts, my library is looking closely at the reference collection.  Are there any policies or guidelines for evaluating reference collections, especially in light of print and paid database resources?

Answer: While ALA does not have a collection development (or evaluation) policy for the reference collection, we do have various guidelines to help you create your own policy.  The ALA Library has gathered some resources on our Professional Tips Wiki:

Collection Development -on this page you will find some of the more recent articles concerning reference collections

Electronic Collection Development- this focuses specifically on non-print collections and how to best develop them

Collection Evaluation - includes information about evaluating your collection, how to choose what to keep 9and discard), and some resources on deteriming which copy (print or electronic) to maintain



Seems to me this is something for which the ALA should specifically develop a coll. dev./eval. policy!  In this era of shrinking budgets, reference books are more expensive than ever.  The availibility of electronic resources can help save a lot of money.  Suggestions from the ALA would be welcome about now!

Guidance would be a great help on collection of statistics on E resource use. I’m attempting a per use evaluation of resources - sessions vs searches vs full text retrievals.  With no feedback on ‘Did this resoruce adequeately answer your inquiry". Online is expensive and I have to see some ROI or I’m reallocating my money to other vendors.  Are they search friendly, are the connections stable also figure in to my evaluation.  I’d like to see some Public Library cost ratios that others are using. Any help out there?