Growing Collections: Keep or Discard?

The South Asian and Southeast Asian collections at IU are still in their infancy and growing every day. A deeper interest in South Asian and Southeast Asian is newer to Indiana University, and our library collection works to reflect this shift. So collection development is a big part of our job on the 8th floor of Wells.

How to decide what books, journals, and other materials to keep? With a baby collection still searching for its core items, we’ve been buying up scores of materials from across the world this year. We keep all materials not currently held in the Wells Library Research Collection. Simple as that. Keep it all. The duplicate materials are sent off to faculty members as freebies for their department or personal collection.

After we’ve decided what to keep, how will users find the new South Asian or Southeast Asian books and materials? To decide access permissions, we look at the publisher year. We want the most current materials housed at Wells Library, and everything else is stored at the ALF ready for delivery requests. For the Benson Collection, all materials published after 1995 are available for checkout at Wells Library. Reference, law, and music monographs are the exception; we send these materials to their corresponding library or collection area.

5,000 books and counting down…

Greetings from the South Asian Studies librarian office!

We’ve been busy getting materials on the shelves and out to scholars as we work on processing the Benson Collection. Karen Stoll-Farrell, the librarian for South Asian studies, bought almost 5,000 print materials focusing on Southeast Asia from a retiring vendor. This great deal came with a catch….there was no database or title list with the materials included. Part of my job over the past five months (we started this project in May) has been to create a system for figuring out what we have and what IU should put on the shelves. Also known as collection development. Since May, we’ve unpacked and sorted books by language out at the ALF, input materials into an excel spreadsheet, and shipped over 1,000 books (and counting!) to teach services for cataloging. The Benson Collection is the biggest donation to come through the ALF at once. Stayed tuned for the next post, where you’ll get the very detailed step-by-step process we follow as we add materials to IU’s growing southeast Asian collections!