Germanists Discussion Group Minutes – 2016 Midwinter

ALA Midwinter Meeting, Boston

Germanists Discussion Group and Romance Languages Discussion Group Joint Meeting
Sunday, January 10, 2016
1:00 – 2:30pm


  • Michael Printy, Germanists Discussion Group
  • Brian Vetruba, Germanists Discussion Group
  • Heidi Madden Romance Languages Discussion Group
  • Kristen Totleben, Romance Lanugages Discussion Group


  • AIan Beilin, Columbia University
  • Patricia O’Loughlin, Casalini
  • Patrick Daemen, Brepols
  • Jill Baron, Dartmouth University
  • Manuel Ostos, Penn State University
  • Dirk Raes, Erasmus
  • Emily Farrell, De Gruyter
  • Deb Raftus, University of Washington
  • Lucia Wolf, Library of Congress
  • Katherine Leach, Harvard University
  • Katie Gibson, Miami University
  • Tim Shipe, University of Iowa
  • Jeff Staiger, University of Oregon
  • Sarah Sussman, Stanford University
  • Gordon Anderson, University of Minnesota
  • Regina Lichti, Harrassowitz
  • Jim Niessen, Rutgers University
  • Judy Alspach, CRL
  • Heidi Madden, Duke University
  • Jérémie Roche,
  • Jon Marner, Texas A&M University
  • Ann Snoeyenbos, Project MUSE
  • Caitlin M. Mannion, NYU Shanghai
  • Agnes Widder, Michigan State University
  • Brian Vetruba, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Michael Printy, Yale University
  • Sarah Tudesco, Yale University
  • Kristen Totleben, University of Rochester


I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Discussion: Use of German, French and Italian Language Collections at Yale University Library – A Deep Dive into the Data, by Sarah Tudesco (Assessment Librarian, Yale University)

  • Assessment Librarian Sarah Tudesco ( presented results of a collections assessment project.
  • French, German and Italian collection data was shown.
  • At Yale, librarians have been examining their collections strategy for the past 2 years, examining collections and the ways patrons use them.
  • They used the collections and circulation data from their Voyager system and build a collections dashboard in Tableau for their French, German, Italian and other collections.
  • Some questions considered in this collections assessment project:
    • What do the collections look like?
    • How are they growing?
    • Who is using them?
    • How much are they being used?
    • Are usage patterns changing?
    • See Sarah Tudesco’s slides and detailed notes for more information.
  • Circulation is dropping across the board. Foreign language collections are not unusual in this case. Data includes only print-based holdings, anything in these languages in several formats, i.e. serials, monographs, scores, audio, maps, etc.
    • See Yale’s Collections Dashboards:
      • French:
      • German:
      • Italian:
    • Item circulation differs by subjects, different libraries have different circulation policies (or none at all)
    • Graduate students are the biggest users, then faculty.
    • Something has to be on the shelf for around 6-7 years before it hits its circulation peak.
    • Highest circulation rate is 23% – items acquired in 1990-1999.
  • Question: How do you present data like this to administrators who see that 77% of what you bought 20 years ago hasn’t circulated?
    • Use it to make bigger and/or stronger, concentrated collections
    • Strategically re-write collection priorities.
    • Resource sharing is still growing.
    • Some considerations need to be made as to what a research library looks like. Example- build a collection to attract star scholars. Bigger issues outside the library are going to start changing this- open access, digital scholarship, eBooks, publication trends in other countries, what is valued for tenure, changing research behaviors, etc.
  • Are the differences in scholarship patterns in different disciplines such as contrasts between Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences accounted for in collections assessment?

III. Future Topics for ALA Annual, 2016

  • More discussion on collections assessment, communication and marketing strategies related to conveying collections assessment information.
  • How do we advocate for our collections using this kind of data to different audiences? Administrators, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, donors, etc.?