Monday, April 25, 2011

The Acquisitions Department

The workload is the same in any size and type of library.

Request forms
  • Many libraries have forms for suggested titles
    o Unit libraries will select material, the main library orders.
    o In special and academic libraries, 1 person specialises.
    o Journals are usually a separate department, dealing with vendors plans, developing expertise
  • May be print or online
  • Often includes area for acquisitions staff to fill out where they searched for item
  • Sometimes publishers flyers or catalogues are circulated amongst staff

Sample web-based request forms

Acquisitions work flow
Request forms can be standardized. Staff can write notes all over the form.
During the verification/duplication search, make sure the item exists. Make sure cataloguing records are correct. Check the library’s catalogue to avoid duplication. Will an older version suffice?
Chose a vendor - where will the purchase be from? How quickly is the material needed?
Have a well written electronic/paper form receiving and sending request. Allocate a budget code. Estimate a price.
Email/fax/mail the order form with payment
When the order record is filed, online files are automatically, or the most recent is at the top.
The process then repeats, albeit working it’s way back to the library.
When the order is received, the library should make sure that everything has arrived and deal with any missing items.

Library request form
Check the RRC Library request form
Many libraries’ request forms differs. However, they want the same information. If a book has been advertised, libraries appreciate seeing the advertisement.

Libraries request as much of the following information as possible: the title, author(s), editor(s), publisher, publisher address, series title and number, edition, publication date, ISBN, title of book or journal or newspaper book was seen/reviewed in with the date and page number, number of copies requested, the estimated price per copy, the total cost, an explanation of why more than 3 copies are requested, a reason for multiple copies, a reason for the request, and how the person wishes to be contacted when the book is ready to be circulated. The library will ask for the name of the person requesting the book and where they are located and how they can be contacted. They will also sign and date the form.
The library then searches its catalogue and shelves for the book to see if they have it. They will note on the form if they have it, and its call number. If the item is not in the library, they will verify by a vendor (e.g. BIP, CBIP, BBIP,, Coutts, BNA, Login, or to find it. Whoever verifies the item initials the form. Someone will then authorize the purchase of the book. The form also has room for a fund# the material will be brought from, and a completion date.
In a manual library, more than one copy of a request form is needed.

Other duties
  • Gifts and exchanges
  • Depository program
    o The Canadian federal government insists on sending copies of their publications to certain libraries. Are you getting all the publications?
  • Track vendors’ performance
  • Compile statistics
    o Easy in automatic setting, time consuming in manual setting
  • Measure staff time spent
Acquisitions module
  • Not always available in automated systems
    o School libraries usually don’t have an acquisitions module, especially if they don’t acquire much materials. Excel can do the job, but unfortunately does not collaborate. 
  • Can save a lot of money
  • Average cost in staff time to order a single book is $10.85 with an acquisitions module, think how much it costs without
    o This cost was in the late 1990’s. Without the module, the price at least doubles.
Two major databases
In the acquisitions module
  • Vendor database
    o puts all information about a publisher in once unless contact information changes
    o assigns a code to represent information
    o orders can be sent out automatically
    o sub accounts can be created
  • Funds database
    o created anyway wanted
    o create library’s own codes and funds
    o computer creates eports for library tracking funds
    o good database will have a separate area for taxes
Model of an intergrated library system
Based on Figure 1.2 of Marshall Breeding. PC-Based Integrated Library Systems. (Westport, Conn. : Meckler, 1994)
Criteria for evaluating an acquisitions module
  • Ability to display order status in OPAC
    o can the module and OPAC be linked?
    o can ordered material not be shown to avoid public demand?
  • Generate purchase orders in both print and EDI formats
  • Vendor information database
  • Electronic ordering of materials
    o preference
    • Calculate overdue orders and generate claims
    • Manage funds
    • Produce reports
    • Calculate exchange rates
    • Allow a input of items of interest but not yet ordered
    • Password security

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