The pre-acquisition process: A strategy for locating and acquiring machine-readable data

Robbin, Alice The pre-acquisition process: A strategy for locating and acquiring machine-readable data. Drexel Library Quarterly, 1977, vol. 13, n. 1, pp. 21-42. [Journal article (Paginated)]


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English abstract

The intent of this article is to describe how the social science data library responds to requests for particular data when the data are not cataloged in the data library's collection. The author defines those activities undertaken to locate a potential resource as the pre-acquisition process. The pre-acquisition process begins when the library staff and client have been unable to locate relevant data in the library. Depending upon the nature of the request, time constraints imposed on the client (to produce an analysis based upon these data), and status of the client in the university setting, both staff and client undertake a search to locate the data the client needs. Together they examine the library's reference collection and literature in the field, seek information from experts in the field, and correspond with libraries and institutions which might potentially hold the data or be able to provide assistance in locating the data. The decision to undertake these activities during the pre-acquisition process depends upon a number of factors. They include the library's mandate regarding the nature of the collection and of its clientele, the level of flexibility in its policies, the quality of the staff, the degree to which the staff is committed to providing user services. the quality of its reference collection and services, and constraints on library resources. Although constraints on the library's resources may indeed be a major factor in determining whether to undertake a search and at what level and to what extent the services shall be provided, the first part of this article presents a brief description of only five factors: the nature of the collection, the impact of an acquisitions policy upon the pre-acquisition process, staff, the interaction between staff and client, and reference services." The second part describes the pre-acquisition process carried out at the Social Science Data and Program Library Service (DPLS) at the University of Wisconsin Madison as an illustration of locating data to meet a special client request. The author believes that a description of these activities should have utility not only for data libraries, but for other libraries for formalizing the process of meeting special requests.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Pre-acquisition; Acquisitions policy; Collection Development; Special Libraries; Data Libraries
Subjects: D. Libraries as physical collections. > DD. Academic libraries.
J. Technical services in libraries, archives, museum. > JA. Acquisitions.
D. Libraries as physical collections. > DH. Special libraries.
F. Management.
Depositing user: Alice Robbin
Date deposited: 12 Apr 2008
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:11


A. J. Walford and W. E. Batten, "Selection and Acquisition of Library Materials," in Handbook of Special Librarianship and Information Work, 4th ed., ed. W. E. Batten (London: Aslib, 1975), p. 72.

Paul Peters, "Describing a Social Science Data Information System, Networks and Components," in The Data Library: Systematic, Structural and Process Problems of Data Access, ed. Alice Robbin. SIGSOC Bulletin 6 (numbers 2 & 3): 11.

David Nasatir to IASSIST Data Archive Registry Group members in a memo dated 2 June, 1976. The Pre-Acquisition Process.

E. M. Grieder, ed., "Stanford University Libraries Book Selection Policies," mimeographed (Stanford: Stanford Libraries, December 1970).

Lucinda D. Conger, "Data Reference Work with Machine Readable Data Files in the Social Sciences," The Journal of Academic Librarianship 2 (number 2): 64.

David Nasatir, "Social Science Data ArChives: An International Perspective," pp. 3-4. Paper presented at the 1973 Congress of the World Association for Public Opinion Research (Budapest, September 1973).


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