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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Collection Development and Access Plan:
Anthropology

Prepared by Peter Allison, DATE: August, 2003
DRAFT for review by the Anthropology Department

Purpose:

This Collection Development and Access Plan has a threefold purpose. It is a tool for the Library to become better informed of the information and data needs of academic programs on campus. Second, it will outline how existing local collections, networked electronic services, and document delivery services are being utilized to meet the bibliographic needs of these programs. Third, it is hoped that this plan will provide the faculty and the library staff a base for dialog concerning future information needs and areas for cooperation. This plan follows the broad guidelines established in Ownership and Access in a Global Information Market: A Framework for the University of Connecticut Libraries, issued by the Chancellor's Library Advisory Committee in March 1999, and the FY 2003 update, Library Collecting for a Digital Age: An FY 2003 Update to Ownership and Access in a Global Information Market.

Contents:

  1. Characteristics of the Community
  2. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns
  3. Current Patterns of Information Service
  4. Emerging Choices

I. Characteristics of the Community

  • Degrees and concentrations offered; B.A. M.A. Ph.D. with concentrations in one of four areas: Evolution and ecology; archaeology; social/cultural anthropology; medical anthropology.
  • Number of faculty: OIR lists 20 faculty (2001-2002); 15 seems closer (Fall 2003).
  • Numbers of undergraduate majors: 66 in 2002-2003.
  • Graduate students by degree sought: 15 Masters 54 Doctoral (2001-2002)
    Anthropology is not currently offered at the regional campuses

II. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns

Anthropology has a budget of $32,000 for fiscal 2004. Serial expenditures, which were $13,720 in 2001, are expected to top $18,000 in 2004. Social Science and Medicine, which cost $3,890 in 2003, and the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, which cost $1,584, are the significant cost drivers.

Networked Services: Electronic indexing, abstracting, and full-text services purchased by the Library’s Networked Services budget which primarily or significantly support research in Anthropology include: Anthropological Literature, Web of Science, MedLine, PopLine, PsychInfo, and Anthropological Index Online.

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

  1. Characteristics of the Literature

    Anthropology is published world-wide in English and in French, Spanish, German, and Italian. Significant work is published in all areas of Anthropology in Australia, but much of it is not actively distributed here.

    Because of the international scope of the discipline and an increased interest in sharing their work with indigenous people, anthropologists put more material on the web than comparable disciplines. The anthropological monograph has been declining in parallel to the decline in opportunities for in-depth field work with culturally distinct groups. Although there are still valuable monographs published in anthropology, much of the discipline now follows the scientific pattern under which key work is first published in journal articles and only subsequently summarized in synthetic monographs. Because indigenous languages and cultural practices are vanishing, existing library collections of ethnographic literature are likely to retain their value as snapshots in time, however flawed.

    As a fairly specialized academic field, with a strong presence in only a couple of hundred universities, anthropology has been fortunate in continuing to enjoy fairly strong support from university presses for its monographic publications. Large commercial publishers like Elsevier, Kluwer and Wiley now dominate journal publishing in both physical and medical anthropology and are making inroads in all branches of the discipline. In recent years, several new journals in social anthropology have been issued by Harwood Academic, a subsidiary of the extremely high-priced publisher, Gordon & Breach.

  2. Collection Development
    1. Areas of Focus

      The Department is fairly broadly interested in hunter-gather peoples and their modern day descendents. There is interest in archaeology in the ethno-history of Amerindian populations in eastern North America and Mesoamerica and in the transition to agriculture in the ancient near east and elsewhere. Cultural and Social anthropologists also study contemporary indigenous and marginalized populations and developing societies in Australia, Southwest Africa and the Americas.

      The Department is building strength in psychological or cognitive anthropology. There is growing interest in the use of psychosocial measures and interview techniques developed in other disciplines in contemporary fieldwork.

    2. Acquisition Strategies
      1. Monographs

        Our domestic approval plan
        The University of Connecticut Libraries uses the approval plan services of Yankee Book Peddler to supply the bulk of new monographs. YBP profiles a broad spectrum of publishers and subjects relevant to Anthropology. Although some important publishers and series come directly at book, most of our acquisitions are hand selected from advance notification slips. Yankee covers all but very smallest publishers who actively distribute in this country.

        Other sources of new book information
        The following additional sources are regularly checked for possible acquisitions:

      2. David Brown Books/Oxbow catalogs in archaeology.
      3. The website for British Archaeological Reports, International Series
      4. New Zealand export books for Maori titles.
      5. An annual review of Canadian publishing for titles on indigenous peoples
      6. Clarke’s Bookstore catalogs from South Africa

        We lack a good notification source of Australian publications; periodic subject searches are run in OCLC’s WorldCat, but this is insufficient.

        Sporadic efforts are made to check the reviews in the American Anthropologist against our holdings. The last issues checked as of August 2003 were from 2001.

        Format considerations
        Textbooks, popular reading, guide books, examinations, laboratory manuals, software and hardware manuals are generally not collected. Dissertations will be purchased in response to specific recommendations. Specific suggestions from library users, including students and faculty, are always given full consideration.

        Subject emphases
        Old world archaeology focuses on the Paleolithic and the Neolithic. Synthetic works are generally favored over site-specific studies, especially if the publication is in French, German or Spanish rather than English. Work on pre-agricultural occupation and early agriculture is collected fairly intensively, with special emphasis on the ancient Near East, Madagascar and South and Southeast Asia.

        Titles on American Indians are collected for both history and anthropology. Emphasis is given to Indians east of the Mississippi and, to a lesser degree, those now resident in the American Southwest. Archaeological material from California and the Mountain West is generally not collected.

        Medical anthropology is strongly collected in so far as we can identify it.

        Work on early human evolution is strongly collected. Studies in hominid behavior are selectively acquired, often in the interest of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

        Scholarly monographs in social anthropology are still fairly broadly collected; but greater selectivity is exercised in evaluating titles costing $50 or more. Emphasis is placed on contemporary Amerindian peoples, Australian Aborigines, New Zealand Maori, and cultural interaction throughout the Americas. Topical considerations and the reputation of particular authors, publishers and publisher series strongly influence our more selective acquisitions of contemporary ethnography from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Middle East.

        Work on methodology in both archaeology and field research is strongly collected.

        Subjects sparingly collected
        Only a small number of synthetic works are acquired in anthropological linguistics. Folklore is very selectively collected. The grey literature generated by the “development” activities of U.N. agencies and N.G.O.’s is not actively collected. A sizeable amount of this literature is, however, being made available on the web.

      7. Journals

        New journal subscriptions in Anthropology will be considered in response to a student or faculty request. The Library requires special justification, or evidence of demand from our document delivery statistics, to consider titles from commercial publishers known for rapidly increasing the subscription costs of their titles. Depending on its cost and the current state of the Anthropology budget, addition of a new title may require the cancellation of one or more existing subscriptions. In those instances where we have both the option and an economic incentive, it is currently library policy to prefer electronic to print subscriptions.

      8. Other Media

        Video, is acquired in DVD, VHS, NTSC and PAL formats, but generally only in response to a specific faculty requests for use with a particular class. Collections are not proactively developed in video because of the relatively short expected life and the high cost of migrating or reformatting such media.

        CD-ROMs exhibit similar problems of compatibility with upgraded workstation configurations.

  3. Access Development

    In order to enable students and faculty in Anthropology to locate and utilize the research materials they need, the Library offers a combination of local collections, licensed electronic products, subject and program-based web links, current awareness services, document delivery and interlibrary loan. Our goal is to help you succeed.

    1. Relevant Indexes, Abstracts, Library Catalogs and Bibliographic Utilities

      The current compliment of general electronic indexing, abstracting, and current awareness services, combined with those specific to Anthropology, seems adequate to support resource discovery in all areas except perhaps archaeology and the development literature, neither of which is adequately covered by available services.

    2. Electronic Journals, Books and Data

      User enthusiasm and economic incentives have caused the library to embrace electronic only access to commercial as well as non-profit journal packages. With the subscription year that begins in January 2004, if a cost savings is available, the libraries are generally converting journal subscriptions that currently bring us both print and electronic copies to electronic-only provision.

      We are making this change on a publisher-by-publisher basis. Many of our electronic journals do not come directly by license from the publisher, but instead through aggregator products such as Lexis-Nexis Academic, Dow-Jones, InfoTrak and Wilson Web. The arrangements between aggregators and publishers are constantly in flux. Only when titles are available through multiple aggregators, in a complete and reasonably current version will the cancellation of print be considered.

      We have resisted going electronic-only up to now because of concerns about long-term, archival access. Commercial publishers cannot be relied upon to archive their content once the prospect of additional sales approaches nil. Although a solution is far from in place, we believe that technologies now under examination, with funding from the National Science Foundation among others, will yield solutions whereby the largest research libraries will undertake the distributed archiving of digital content in all our interest. We expect that even the largest commercial publishers will, ultimately, cooperate with such an arrangement.

      One of the primary goals in the immediate future will be to identify the journals for which we have a subscription but not electronic access, and attempt to add said access. Often the stumbling block for doing so is the license agreement. Additionally, many of the society journals are only now being made available electronically. Often, online access to these titles is free with a print subscription. Retaining access to the already respectable menu of online journals provided by the Library is an ongoing library goal although this effort is becoming increasingly difficult. Because of unsustainable inflation of scholarly journals, electronic only access may be increasingly viewed as a viable option. The question of permanent access to reliable archives of this material is not yet resolved, making such a switch a risky venture.

      Furthermore, electronic journals can be hot linked to web based indexes like Web of Science, and the electronic resources listed above. Additionally, the Library’s electronic journal locator, eCompass, facilitates the identification of specific e-journal titles "owned" by the Library (i.e., accessible via the University internet domain, ".uconn.edu".)

    3. Other Internet-based resources

      The Anthropology Library Liaison maintains a web page that organizes and promotes a wide range of electronic resources for Anthropology including locally licensed indexing/abstracting services and full-text resources located at: /research/bysubject/anthro.htm
      The liaison welcomes comments on improvements to the page and recommendations for additional sites, which might be listed. His general strategy has been to “stand on the shoulders of giants,” by linking wherever possible to specialist pages maintained by full-time specialists, who have a better chance than your humble liaison in keeping up with the rapidly changing world of web offerings.

    4. Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan

      DD/ILL is an integral part of all our collection development and access plans. DD/ILL data is actively considered in relation to both journal purchase decisions and collection budget planning. The liaison periodically reviews both the monographs and journals being borrowed by students and faculty affiliated with the Anthropology Department to see if patterns of new research interests or subjects not well-covered by our existing collections emerge.

    5. Significant Campus or External Resources

      In early 2004, the library hopes to implement access to the shared catalog of the Boston Library consortium. By searching this catalog, researchers will be able to identify monographs that we don’t own and directly request them from the owning institution. Boston University’s Africana collection is one example of the kinds of resources students and faculty will be able to draw upon through the BLC shared catalog.


IV. Emerging Choices

Year to year inflation in the cost of Anthropology journals and a more gradual but inexorable rise in the cost of academic monographs have already begun to affect the quantity of monographic acquisitions. We are hopeful that improved consortia cooperation through initiatives like the BLC shared catalog and conversations about cooperative collection development that are just beginning will mitigate some of the impact of this decline in local collecting.

Obviously collective action by anthropologists to take back their intellectual property from commercial publishers would have the most profound impact.

The future of collecting to support Anthropology in a changing information economy

Both continuing inflation in the unit cost of print and electronic publications, and expanding demand for new products and services are anticipated. The Libraries do not expect the University to solve this problem by increasing the Libraries' share of limited University resources. The Libraries hope for a continuation of the current level of support, but cannot regard it as guaranteed. Increasingly though, measures of user behavior: circulation by classification and patron affiliation; database use; and ILL/document delivery activity will play a role in budget decision-making.

The significant evolution in collection development and access patterns requires enhanced communication between library staff and the faculty and students they serve. Ongoing dialogue will help ensure that the best choices are being made and that users are knowledgeable about emerging kinds of library resources in terms of access and intelligent use and the risks involved in some of these choices. The Library Liaison Program will continue to be the primary vehicle for this kind of contact.

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