Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Format Proliferation in Public Libraries

Format Proliferation in Public Libraries This article deals with how the publication of items in multiple formats (a book that is turned into a movie which is then issued in both VHS and DVD for example) is causing public libraries difficulty in deciding what to acquire and how to then manage the collection. This is an important issue. I see it often in academic libraries in a different sense when a professor tells her students that they have to use the PRINT journal and that they are not allowed to use the ONLINE version. Of course, in this case, there is no difference. I even had a faculty member insist that his students had to use microfilm. We had ample print and electronic alternatives to the microfilm. We really need to educate patrons on the different types of format and when they are essentially the same teach them to treat them same.

From the article:

"Libraries are all about choice. That is why there is more than one book in a library, more than one point of view, genre, subject, age level, edition, and format. At the core of their work, librarians may have to choose among the tens of thousands of new works published every year. Making those kinds of choices under the constraint of limited finances is not new to librarians. What is unprecedented is the number and kinds of choices librarians must make in response to the greater number of formats demanded by their customers. A list of the available formats for a particular work might include hardcover, paperback, large print, foreign language edition, audiocassette tape, book on CD, eBook, videocassette, and DVD." Full article at