On 2nd February 2016 Bristol held a conference devoted entirely to the subject of collection management: Collection Management: Share The Experience @ Bristol. It was the second event of its type; the first being held in York last summer. It was generously supported by both Jisc and RLUK. As with the inaugural event in York, it was intended as a forum where practitioners could discuss the challenges facing Collection Managers across the HE sector, share good practice and ideas, and work towards some community actions.
The organising committee included colleagues from Jisc, the Collection Management Advisory board (previously the CCM Board), SCONUL and Bristol University. The intention was to provide continuity between the last event and this, building on the increasing momentum and engagement around collection management issues, the raised profile of this area on the national agenda, and the growing sense of community between library professionals across the sector. The programme drew heavily on the feedback from the last event, and opened with a ‘wash-up session’, in the form of a panel, addressing the issues that delegates from York wished to hear more about last time. Three topics were selected, with a designated panel member (named below) tasked with giving a brief position paper to get the conversation started. The topics selected were: gifts (Jo Aitkin, Leicester); electronic resource management (Anna Grigson, LSE); and collection development policies (Chloe Barnes, Sussex). Ruth Elder, University of York, chaired the session. There was much lively discussion in the room, and some discrete community actions, which will be taken forward on the jiscmail collection management list (the creation of this list was a direct action from the event in York).
The programme featured three presentations. The majority of speakers have made their slides available via the CCM community page. The first paper, by Neil Grindley, described the recent advances made by Jisc in determining the necessary practical direction of travel in the wake of the National Monograph Strategy. He detailed the functions of a national bibliographic Knowledgebase, intended to enable the community to make data-driven collection management decisions, both in terms of print and electronic collections. Potential uses range from gathering usage data to digital document delivery to collaborative legacy print management. Neil was actively seeking community validation and engagement, and to this end, two breakout groups focused on Neil’s paper and raised a range of issues from thinking practically about metadata issues to discovery layers.
Laurence Bebbington talked about the opportunities being missed by the HE sector as regards copyright. He outlined some of the many legal exceptions that libraries should be taking advantage of and were at the risk of losing if the CLA thought they were no longer needed, and led a lively breakout session with practitioners, thinking seriously about the barriers to doing this – from fear of litigation through lack of knowledge, and lack of resources.
Finally Frances Machell gave the aptly-titled paper ‘Eating the elephant: reclassification and preparation for a major library move’, drawing on her experiences of preparing for Birmingham’s new library with lots of excellent practical and logistical know-how. Two discussion groups talked about the twin issues of data management and migration, along with hands-on CM issues such as weeding or how to categorise items as high or low use.
It was a rewarding and lively day. Feedback suggests that these occasions are of enormous benefit to our community, not just as regards essential information-gathering, but as a key way of building the networks that will be integral to developing our shared solutions to these issues. It is very much hoped that it will become a regular feature of our professional calendar and any future hosts would be much welcomed.
Suzy Cheeke, University of Bristol