Collection Assessment Executive Summary

Executive Summary

In 1986, the OHSU Library conducted an in-depth collection assessment of its monograph collection.  Journals, databases, usage, expenditures were all areas missing from the assessment. Librarians could only review print holdings because electronic journals and monographs did not exist. In fact, the assessment called for the librarians to physically assess the collection.  If that approach were taken in 2009, the library would have overlooked almost all of our journal collection and 30% of our monograph collection.  Since the last assessment, our journal collection grew by 2,142 titles and 46,229 monograph titles.  The inclusion of our Science and Engineering collection did not happen for another fifteen years.  A collection assessment was long overdue.

Starting in 2009, members of the Collection Development & Scholarly Communications Department downloaded and packaged 2003-2009 data in many areas of our collection – holdings, usage, expenditures, and citation data.  In the summer of 2009, subject liaisons began examining and analyzing their packaged data.  All of the subject liaisons submitted subject data analyses and department profiles in December 2009.  The following report builds on those analyses and the Collection Data Subgroup's review of all the collection data.

Upon completion of this extensive review, the Collection Data Subgroup wishes to present eleven recommendations to the Collection Development Committee for approval.  These recommendations are based on our data and how we compare to peer institutions.  One major finding is that our monograph and journal collections are in need of updating.  While we rely on Orbis Cascade Alliance (consortia of 36 libraries in Oregon and Washington) to supplement our monograph and serials collection, we discovered that many subjects are no longer current. As we increase our monograph holdings, the library should look more closely at expanding our electronic monograph holdings as most subject liaisons agreed this was a format that would reach more users.  In particular, the library should increase electronic access for continuations (part of an ongoing series on a related topic) and reference works.  Participants in the collection assessment agreed that the Collection Development & Scholarly Communications Department should regularly provide data on what our users request from other libraries and what other libraries request from OHSU.  In turn, subject liaisons should respond quickly to the data and make necessary adjustments in spending patterns when ordering new material for the collection.

Our journal collection also needs to expand to meet the needs of our users. Faculty requests for new subscriptions, journal titles frequently cited by OHSU users and journals covering emerging subject areas all represent opportunities to grow our collection in ways that align with user needs.  At the same time, we need to expand access to electronic backfiles of core journals.  As recently reported by one department, our inability to provide electronic access to earlier issues has impeded progress on several research projects.  In the future, the Collection Development Committee and subject liaisons will prioritize new journal subscriptions taking NIH information, SciVal Spotlight ( and faculty input into consideration.

We hope that the Collection Development Committee accepts our eleven recommendations.  Finally, we propose that the Collection Development & Scholarly Communications Department annually provides collection data to subject liaisons so the library can more quickly respond to user needs.


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