Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
A Creative Endeavor
Section 1 of 4:
An Introduction to What Competency F Means to Me and to Library and Information Science
Collection Management: “...the area of librarianship that deals with collections. Collection management incorporates the variety of functions involved in selecting, acquiring, storing and maintaining collections in a cost-effective manner” (Genoni, 2007, p. 123).
-Creation: Relevant and important collections, especially library collections, can be effectively created by examining and understanding circulation data, collection diversity audits, patron or audience feedback, and sourcing collection items intelligently (Mabee, 2021).
-Evaluation: “The collection manager should evaluate the collection on a regular basis and add or remove items as necessary. One of the most important parts of maintaining the collection is weeding. Weeding keeps a collection current, attractive, makes way for new material, and provides ongoing evaluation of the library’s material and its use” (SLI, n.d.b, para. 1).
-Selection/Acquisition: “A transaction whereby one or more objects and (or) specimens is or are acquired in the same manner from one source at one time for a particular collection” (USGS, 2019, Glossary section).
-Preservation: “This is a categorical variable that describes the different forms of preservation used by each collection record within an institution” (USGS, 2019, Glossary section).
-Organization: The purpose of efficient organization in a collection “...is to locate items within the library’s collection [usually via a catalog]. The catalog is used to find materials based on author, title, subject, or format. A high quality catalog makes the library collection easier to use and more accessible...The catalog should be accessible to all of the library’s customers. It is important for customers to have the ability to search for and find items on their own. This affords the customers a certain level of confidentiality, as there may be times when your users do not want others to know the subject of their search” (SLI, n.d.a, para. 1).
These collection concepts can be applied to Physical Collections, such as library books or delicate archival documents, as well as to Digital Collections. It is important to note that digital collections may include a variety of formats such as text, images, audio, and video (Boss, 2006). A digital “collection is not static but rather adaptable in response to past, current, and future needs” (University of Virginia, n.d. para. 1).
Why Competency F is Important to Me as a Professional:
Not being able to locate something because it is not where it should be is a frustrating experience for me. I feel that all of the work that goes into creating, developing, maintaining, and preserving a collection of items is rendered null and void if those items cannot be found when they are needed, or if they have been damaged and rendered unusable because they were not properly cared for. A well-managed collection will not only provide easily navigable access to the sought resources, but it can even be used to discover new and relevant items. This discoverability factor increases the relevance and usefulness of a collection, which is generally the overall goal of any collection. If I am managing a collection of information, be it picture books, a series of webpages, or an archive of storytime videos or prepared documents, I judge my collection’s effectiveness on the relevancy of the information, its navigability, and on the ability of the resources to be found and used.
Why Competency F is Important to the Profession as a Whole:
The information professions orbit around the concept of providing accurate, relevant, and useful information to their users. This can manifest as children’s book collections that have ample positive representation of queer peoples, People of Color, and people of varying geographic origins, or it can manifest as a researcher’s collection of reports that contain working links, videos, or digital content. To ensure that we as professionals have access to the best resources for our patrons, we must have collections that are curated, maintained, accessible, accurate, and relevant.
What Competency F Looks Like to Me:
When I see effective selection of physical information items, I see multiple copies of the top 10 most frequently checked out items in every library department, as obtained by circulation data and diversity audits. When I see effective evaluation of physical information items, I see the least-checked out picture books being removed from a collection to make room for more of what the patrons would like, as ascertained by statistics, feedback, and communication with patrons. When I see effective organization of physical information items, I see a student going into the non-fiction section to find a book on folklore and emerging with the title they wanted, as well as several others they found relevant or interesting. When I see effective preservation of physical information items, I see climate control in a library, I see collections being safely evacuated if possible during natural disasters.
When I see effective selection of digital information items, I see researchers choosing sources based on reliability, accuracy, and fact-based information. When I see effective evaluation of digital information items, I see researchers removing sources from their collection based on infrequent use or bias. When I see effective organization of digital information items, I see a website about representation that provides a curated collection of relevant components in video, audio, picture, and text formats. When I see effective preservation of digital information items, I see links, video files, or audio files that are formatted correctly, tested, and working.
Section 2 of 4:
The Discussion of My Evidence
As my “Evidence A”, I am presenting a digital collection that I created as a website, “Cultural Awareness and Exploration Text Set for: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal”, as well as a self-evaluation rubric I used to evaluate all aspects of my digital collection.
How and Why I Created Evidence A:
For my “Information 237: School Library Media Materials” course, I was tasked with ascertaining an essential question to address, selecting a theme, an anchor text, and creating a digital collection of supporting items that related to the anchor text. I needed to incorporate multimedia formats and a video with a transcript where I presented a book talk on the anchor text. I also needed to complete a self-evaluation rubric to evaluate all elements of the assignment.
The Process of Creating Evidence A:
When looking at the large breadth of this assignment, I started by outlining the initial decisions I had to make:
-What theme will I center the assignment around? I wanted to focus on issues relating to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
-What essential question do I want to address? I chose to examine issues of representation by asking the question, “What happens when people do (and don’t) see themselves positively represented in the media that they enjoy?”
-What will my anchor text be? I chose to use a comic book I was familiar with and enjoyed, Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by Wilson and Alphona, as it provides positive representation for a Muslim, Pakistani-American teenage girl, which is a demographic that is underrepresented in media, especially with positive portrayals.
-What items do I want to include in the digital collection? This part I found exciting, as I knew of so many amazing resources and media options to bring into this discussion. I had to sift through many great options. I decided to include items such as a video of pizza analogies that examine issues of representation and intersectionality with Akilah Obviously, a podcast episode where LeVar Burton performs an amazing short story by Rebecca Roanhorse, an interview with Kamala Harris, now Vice President of the United States of America, Peggy McIntosh’s seminal academic article unpacking white privilege, and a short film of Ms. Marvel, as each of these resources examine why representation and intersectionality are so important across age ranges, media outlets, entertainment and academia. I also wanted to make sure that the collection featured and lifted up the voices of creators who belonged to historically excluded groups.
-What multimedia formats will I use? Part of my “weeding” process when creating this collection was the media format each resource was in. I wanted to include lots of different options. I have videos, audio only options, academic papers, films, and interviews, not to mention the anchor text being a comic book. I wanted the digital collection to appeal to many different viewers with different learning preferences.
-How will I incorporate my book talk video and transcript into the collection? I put my book talk video underneath the information on the anchor text, so as to have a different media format towards the beginning of the site, and to grab attention and draw the viewer in before I moved on to more technical data (like the audience and standards information). I also made sure to link the transcript of my book talk in a highly visible spot above the video. I wanted viewers who did not want to watch a video to have access to the same information as those who did.
-What medium will I use to present all of this information? I decided to use Google Sites to present my digital collection. Google Sites has a simple, straightforward, presentation style that I wanted to use to showcase all of the different elements of the digital collection. I was able to incorporate the cover art for the anchor text, use a color scheme throughout the site that correlated with that cover art, and have designed sections that were easy to navigate for audience information, essential question, book talk and transcript, lexile standards, references, and each of the eight digital items in the supporting text set. I also was able to incorporate links and photos, which I triple tested to make sure they all worked in the final product.
Why I Chose to Feature Evidence A and How Evidence A Shows Competency:
Evidence A showcases my ability to create a digital collection, from start to finish. I ascertained a need for a collection (the importance of discussing EDI and representation), chose a relevant anchor text, curated a collection of supporting digital items, chose a digital platform to build the collection in based on appropriateness of formatting (Google Sites), and built the entire collection and supporting information into that platform. I selected the anchor text as it is an important work that breaks down walls in issues of representation for women, teenagers, Pakistanis, and Muslims, as well as in comic books. I also selected the supporting items because they each provide representation in their content, but also in their creators. I evaluated the supporting items for important factors such as media format and creator voices. I organized and evaluated the placement of each item on the Google Site in order to achieve the best presentation for information absorption. I ensured that the site functioned properly, and that all of the links, photos, and separate working elements I had incorporated into the digital collection had been inputted correctly, so that the links and multimedia formats would be preserved for future use.
As my “Evidence B”, I am presenting a book promotion that I created, “Children's Books with AMAZING illustrations!”. I also completed a self-evaluation rubric to evaluate all aspects of the collection I created.
How and Why I Created Evidence B:
For my “Information 237: School Library Media Materials” course, I was tasked with creating a collection of books with a centralized theme, and with promoting that collection through a display strategy. In addition, I needed to provide an annotated bibliography of all of the titles selected and evaluate all elements of the collection with a self-evaluation rubric.
The Process of Creating Evidence B:
There were several immediate decisions I needed to make when beginning this assignment. I could choose to make a physical book display (at home or at work) and submit a photo of it, then complete a word document with annotations for each title in the display, as well as a statement on what the theme was. The assignment was given during the pandemic, when many libraries were closed to the public. I don’t have a wide selection of children’s books at home. I thus decided to complete the book display as a website, but I wanted to focus on physical aspects of the items and the collection. With this in mind, I decided to use the theme of “children’s books with great illustrations''. I really wanted my book promotion to be a concept that would draw the eye if done as a physical book display, like in a library. Doing the display as a website also allowed me to stay home and remain safe during peak Covid-19 transmission rates.
Doing the book display as a website allowed me to incorporate my annotated bibliography into the site, instead of as a separate (and not publicly viewable) document. I also considered the fact that, much like libraries were closed to me, they were closed to children. A display of great art in picture books that was locked inside an inaccessible library would do no one any good. Creating my book display as a website allowed the titles I selected to be recognized as having great art, allowed their art to be displayed, and provided lots of information on the books, all in a way that kids could access during the pandemic. To further this train of thought, I made the site publicly accessible. I also built in digital collection elements that supported accessibility, such as videos of myself reading some of the titles for virtual storytimes, and infographics I designed that tied into the artistic styles of the titles and provided information on them. I also made sure to mention that these are all titles that are able to be checked out from local libraries.
Working with the theme of great illustration, I wanted my display to support important elements in art, such as color, correlating color schemes, representation, joy, and the ability to draw a viewer in visually. I used bright colors that would pop throughout the display. I also correlated the color schemes with the artistic themes and styles of the individual titles, to make the displays more visually appealing and to highlight the illustrator’s work. I made sure to create an age-appropriate homepage for the website, much like I would gear any physical display towards an age-appropriate audience. I also wanted the items I selected to provide representation for creators and characters that belonged to historically excluded groups.
Why I Chose to Feature Evidence B and How Evidence B Shows Competency:
I chose to feature Evidence B as it demonstrates my ability to critically think about the elements involved in managing a collection of physical items. To create a collection, I was able to analyze environmental factors such as access to buildings and health risks during a pandemic. I was able to create a display so that it was accessible and safe. This demonstrates my creativity and adaptability, as well as an awareness and understanding of physical environmental factors. I selected titles that I knew most libraries would have, as many of the items in the collection are award winning picture books and very popular with young readers. I also made sure to select items for the collection that featured the voices of diverse characters and creators, and that focused on messages of diversity, inclusivity, and acceptance. I made sure to select some items from lesser-known illustrators, like Sarah Gibb or Ana Juan, because I wanted to provide exposure to new and exciting art for the display’s viewers. I point out that viewers of the display can check these books out at their local library, even if they can’t go inside the building. The books are there and are being taken care of and preserved by the librarians.
Evidence B organized the collection of display items in accessible ways. The viewer can see all items at once on the “See The Books Here” page and on the “Annotated Bibliography” page. The viewer can also do the equivalent of picking a book up off of a physical display and looking inside, by clicking on the individual item pages for each of the titles in the display collection website. I made sure to evaluate all items in the collection for age-appropriateness, wonderful art, and inclusivity. I also evaluated all elements of the display (such as links, pictures, infographics, videos, and text) to make sure they were inputted correctly and in working order for the final display and future use.
Section 3 of 4:
How Creating the Evidence Helped Me Gain Expertise in Competency F
How Creating Evidence A Helped Me Gain Competency in the Area of F:
Creating Evidence A allowed me to explore a wide range of resources that are important in furthering the discussion of representation in media. I was also able to hone my selection skills to ascertain which of these many wonderful resources were best suited to this particular digital collection. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of narrowing down my options to find the best eight contenders. I was very proud of this collection and the high level of relevance to the topic each item demonstrated. When creating Evidence A, I was also able to put into practice my ability to design a collection of items in an aesthetically pleasing format, and to order them with a logical flow of information. I also was able to evaluate the collection to ensure that the items I selected were enjoyable, relevant, and diverse.
How Creating Evidence A Changed My Way of Thinking on Competency F:
I think that, on its own, the idea of “Collection Management” can seem dry and tedious. Yet in creating Evidence A, I was able to immerse myself in content that was important to me. I was able to curate and present a collection of digital items that I felt held great meaning and that further an important conversation in an enjoyable way. I was also able to have fun with the aesthetic and presentation aspects of the collection by building them into a website. I loved making design choices and organizing the collection’s presentation. Creating Evidence A helped me to see “Collection Management” as a beneficial, creative, endeavor that could be highly customized.
How Creating Evidence B Helped Me Gain Competency in the Area of F:
I enjoyed the challenge of focusing on the important elements of a physical collection and display design, and incorporating those elements into a digital presentation. I chose a theme that really emphasized the visual elements of a display (great illustrations) and I made my digital display build on those elements (such as designing infographics that correlated to different illustrators styles in order to present information on that title, and designing each item’s individual page to mimic the experience of picking a physical book up and looking through it). Putting so much effort into ensuring that my digital presentation method paid homage to physical presentation methods really helped me to hone my physical collection management skills.
How Creating Evidence B Changed My Way of Thinking on Competency F:
Before I started on the process of creating Evidence B, there was a clear distinction in my head between what “physical collections” were and what “digital collections” were. One was physical, tangible, items and one was digital, more intangible, items. Creating Evidence B helped me to evolve that binary way of thinking. There is often overlap between the two, the two can be combined to support each other, and the line between physical and digital collections can be blurred at times.
Coursework That Has Prepared Me for Competency F:
In my “Information 263: Materials for Children” course, I designed a website that presented my study on different illustrators. This project really laid the groundwork for the creation of Evidence B. In my “Information 230: Issues in Academic Libraries” course, I designed a website that allowed me to curate a collection of my own academic and personal work in regards to diversifying the library sciences. In my “Information 237: School Library Media Materials” course, I had practice evaluating collections I had created through completing additional self-evaluation rubrics. In my “Information 200: Information Communities” course, I completed an Information Sources Survey to help me learn to identify and evaluate sources as well as their users and functions.
How I Have Changed From the Person I Was Before These Courses, to the Person After, to the Person I Am Now:
Before taking these courses and completing these assignments, I had a good understanding of collection management concepts such as weeding and content relevance. Now, I have a better understanding of additional factors such as diversity audits, incorporating patrons feedback into collections, and the nuances between physical and digital collections. I am now able to better create and manage collections of all types and to incorporate more flexibility and creativity into the collections which I have influence on.
What I Have Learned:
I have learned that collection management can be a creative and malleable undertaking through designing websites to showcase my own curated collections and by blurring the lines between physical and digital collections with these sites. I have learned that I thoroughly enjoy designing the aesthetics of collections to make them visually appealing by creating Evidence A and B. I have learned that a collection can be built not only by using dry data (such as circulation reports) but by speaking with patrons and clients on what they want to see in the collections.
Section 4 of 4:
How the Knowledge I Have Gained Will Influence Me in the Future, as an Information Professional
What I Bring to the Position, in Terms of Competency F:
I bring with me an ever-evolving understanding of the nuances relating to collection management. I bring the ability to select and acquire relevant, interesting, and important items for both physical and digital collections of information. I bring my ability to evaluate information items for effectiveness, appropriateness, and value during the creation stages of a collection, and as the collection evolves over time. I bring with me impeccable organizational skills which I can mold and adapt to specific collections and what they are best suited to. I bring a working knowledge of the importance of preservation elements for both physical and digital collections of information items. I also bring creativity, adaptability, and enthusiasm with me, to better inspire joy with the collections I work with.
How My Learning in Competency F Will Contribute to My Professional Competence in the Future:
I would be an excellent asset in the creation and management of any collection of physical or digital information items because I can apply and adapt multiple collection management strategies to unique situations. I have learned how to recognize and utilize these strategies by creating a digital collection designed to further the discussion of representation issues in media called, “Cultural Awareness and Exploration Text Set for: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal”. I have learned how to adapt digital strategies to accommodate and highlight the value of physical collections through creating a book display called, “Children's Books with AMAZING illustrations!”. Creating these collections taught me to assess what needs the collection would fill, how to design and present a collection to a specific audience, and how to create collections that were highly relevant and accessible. My understanding of Competency F, including my knowledge gained regarding the importance of visual appeal and accessibility of a collection during stressful pandemic times, make me an outstanding candidate for positions in collection creation, development, and management.
Boss, R. W. (2006, August 18). Digital collections management. American Library Association. https://alair.ala.org/bitstream/handle/11213/258/digital%20collections%20management.pdf
Genoni, P. (2007). Current issues in library collecting. In S. Ferguson (Ed), Libraries in the twenty-first century (pp. 123-143). Chandos Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-1-876938-43-7.50008-9
Mabee, M. (2021, February 1). Tips and tricks on building your library collection. Book Riot. https://bookriot.com/build-your-library-collection/
State Library of Iowa (SLI). (n.d.-a). Cataloging. Retrieved on September 9, 2021 from https://www.iowadatacenter.org/statelib/ld/k-p/new-lib-dir-man/coll-mgmt/cataloging
State Library of Iowa (SLI). (n.d.-b). Weeding and maintenance. Retrieved on September 9, 2021 from https://www.iowadatacenter.org/statelib/ld/k-p/new-lib-dir-man/coll-mgmt/weeding
United States Geological Survey (USGS). (2019, September 10). Glossary of terms. https://www.usgs.gov/products/scientific-collections/glossary-terms
University of Virginia. (n.d.). University of Virginia library - digital collections strategy. Retrieved on September 12, 2021 from https://www.library.virginia.edu/policies/digital-collections-strategy/