Thursday, February 01, 2007

Connie's Method of Collection Development

A question went out recently on one of the listservs about our favourite and least favourite ways of learning about new publications. This is adapted from my response:

I prefer to see new titles as they come out from major publishers via RSS feeds. If I keep up to date this way I don't need to spend time going through catalogues later or having sales reps sit down and go through titles with me on a quarterly basis as is the traditional practice. I have therefore tried to take my name off distribution lists of catalogues or have returned them to the publishers; I prefer to refer to on-line catalogues rather than paper if I am looking for titles on specific subjects later since they often have more information and more current information with regard to pricing, etc.

I don't like receiving direct mail advertising. I receive stacks and stacks of direct mail, including several copies of everything addressed to all current and past library staff. I have tried to get off a number of these mailing lists, at times without success. Now I have the person who opens our mail discard everything outright except for one copy of mailings from small publishers and vendors. This has taken a huge burden off me. Almost equally, I don't like to receive notice about new titles via email. Either they come one at a time on a continual basis, or are gathered together in a regular newsletter and may as well be a catalogue since I'm not going to spend time going through it.

I don't know if this method (using RSS and discarding the direct mail) would work for every type of library, but it has certainly saved me a lot of time. I have little advertising to deal with, don't have to spend time meeting with sales reps unless I have the time and inclination (unfortunately I generally don't have the time). I read the feeds as I have time, not as the paper pile forces me to do so. I have been urging Canadian legal publishers to implement RSS feeds for their new titles. At some point I hope our association CALL can then merge all the feeds together into one feed from our website for everyone's use.

Adapted from a post I made to the NEXGENLIB (next generation librarian) listserv.


Unknown said...

Hi Connie,

I also use RSS where possible to monitor publications for collection development. Except for CCH and LexisNexis/Butterworths, I am not aware of other Canadian legal print publishers who offer new titles/releases monitoring with RSS.

Do you have a list of publishers RSS feeds available?


Heather said...

I agree with you 100%, Connie! I, too, MUCH prefer having RSS feeds from publishers alerting me to new titles and editions. It works so slick. I make sure I tell my reps when I'm ordering a title that our firm would not likely have noticed the new title and, therefore, would not have placed the order if not for the convenience of the RSS feeds.

I check my feeds when I have time to devote. If something interests me, I can order immediately with a copy and paste or I can forward the info with a couple of clicks to lawyers who might be interested. They email me back with a "yay or nay". It's as simple as that!

I don't know what's taking the other publishers so long to get on the RSS bandwagon. I bug them, too, about this.

Ditto on the email. I almost never get to the lists of titles sent to me by publishers via email. Who has time? The RSS feeds come at a pace that I can manage ... as new titles are published ... and when the time is right for me.

I'm going to steal your idea of having the mailouts tossed in the recycling bin before I even see them.

By the way, I'm sure this happens to you, too. You get a copy of a mailout addressed to you and then some copies addressed to librarians from years gone by and then a few more that lawyers received and forward to you. Right? Sometimes that amounts to 5 copies of the same mailout and they're all tossed with little more than a cursory look. *shed some tears for the trees*

Connie Crosby said...

Shaunna: Irwin Law was one of the first to adopt RSS! I have also been bugging Canada Law Book and Thomson Carswell. I told my Carswell rep it would be *very nice* to have this announced at CALL in May.

I haven't surveyed U.S. publishers yet but intend to do so before my talk in NYC since it is one of the topics I want to cover (more on that talk shortly in this blog for those who don't know what I'm talking about!).

Heather, yes, it is largely the amount of paper wasted that upsets me in all of this. I remember lobbying my first office building to put recycling into place, but that isn't a long-term solution for this. The publishers should also be thinking about how many $$ they are throwing out the window if they don't care about the environment.