August 03, 2006

Figuring out what you need

I've blogged previously (albeit breifly) about WorldCat Collection Analysis (WCA). When it came out a year ago, I was excited. I needed something to help weed our collection and appreciated the fact that WCA would sort holdings by publication date. For many subject areas this isn't really an issue, but for those that out date fast, it is. It's also proved helpful when running reports for departments seeking accreditation for new or existing programs.

WCA recently added the ability to compare your holdings to title lists. I was very pleased to see that and excited to give it a go. Well, it does tell me what titles I have that are on the title lists. I believe it also tells me what I don't have. Problem is, I'm having a hard time interpreting the data as WCA is presenting it. This just makes me more anxious to get a peek at Bowker's Book Analysis System for Academic Libraries.

The more I use, the more I realize that WCA does not present results in a intuitive fashion. They do provide documentation, but the examples are of comparisions between peer institutions and not those that are comparisons of title lists. They say it works the same. Then I view the results and, sadly, I'm not sure what I'm looking at.

In talking with another Collection Development Librarian, we discussed it a bit and why some other institutions have chosen not to go with WorldCat Collection Analysis. They weren't sure that the peer comparison was all that beneficial to them, which is a big piece of WCA. I tend to agree. So, now I start to wonder if WCA is redundent. I've been very successful at pulling holdings for my reports from my ILS system. It's a bit more tedious, but I also have the added ability to determine what fields I include in the exported Excel report. It's all standard with WCA.

I'd really like to use the same system to determine what I weed and what recommended titles I'm lacking. The goal is to beef up areas that aren't quite up to par. I'm still not sure WCA won't do this; I'm going to keep plugging away and see what I can come up with.

technorati tags: