LES Collections Discussion Group – Save the date!

Please join the ACRL LES Collections Discussion Group for a virtual discussion on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 11:00am PST/12:00pm MST/1:00pm CST/2:00pm EST! Discussion topics will include working with LES faculty to develop collections, collecting for recreational reading, and how we define textbooks. For Zoom information, see the post on ALA Connect!

Evaluating Digital Scholarship [PMLA]

About Aaron McCollough

English Literature Librarian, University of Michigan

All of us are faced with new questions about collections in the massively-networked digital age. The Modern Language Association has commissioned a special batch of articles on the subject of “Evaluating Digital Scholarship,” which is freely accessible on the PMLA site.


Susan Schreibman, the editor of the section, has this to say:

The series is introduced by Susan Schreibman, Laura Mandell, and Stephen Olsen, with contributions by  Steve Anderson and Tara McPherson (‘Engaging Digital Scholarship: Thoughts on Evaluating Multimedia Scholarship’), Geoffrey Rockwell  (‘Engaging Digital Scholarship: Thoughts on Evaluating Multimedia Scholarship’), Bethany Nowviskie (‘Where Credit Is Due: Preconditions for the Evaluation of Collaborative Digital Scholarship’), Jerome McGann (‘On Creating a Usable Future’), and Katheleen Fitzpatrick (‘Peer Review, Judgment, and Reading’).

These articles provide an important intervention as digital scholarship and digital scholarly methods and practices are becoming more mainstreamed into traditional academic work

For the most part, these pieces are not directly addressed to the questions and concerns of library collections, but the entire conversation is highly relevant for us, and I hope we might begin some conversation here regarding that relevance.



Small Press Publications

About Aaron McCollough

English Literature Librarian, University of Michigan

It’s fairly redundant to say we are often faced with tough choices in our collections duties, but small press publications present special challenges. New production methods (especially print-on-demand technologies), combined with trade presses’ shrinking interest in literary publications (and their low profitability margins), has led to a small press boom in recent years.

It can be hard for librarians to keep up and hard, too, to sort the wheat from the chaff.

I’ve just come across a nice website that might be of use (at least as part of our selection toolbox). It’s called Hey Small Press!, and it’s designed by Public Library employees for the purpose of getting good small press publication into the stacks. The Public Library focus seems more circumstantial than essential to me, and I plan to use it to help inform my small press buying.

Do you have other recommendations for this kind of selection tool?


Collections Discussion Group at Annual

The Collections Discussion Group will be meeting on Sunday, June 27, 10:00am-12:00pm in Washington Plaza, Washington Room.  Some of the topics to be discussed include:

  • Getting to know / Re-assessing your users’ needs — Whether beginning a new position or receiving a new liaison area, understanding the collection needs of our users is critical. What are some best practices in discovering and prioritizing our users’ immediate and evolving needs?
  • e-books and e-journals and e-readers, oh my! — Electronic collections are now a core element of library holdings, yet the business models and management of these collections — and now devices — make selection, payment, cataloging, searching, and reviewing extremely complex. How have our collection policies adapted? How do we reconcile changing purchase options (e.g. consortial arrangements, bundle packages, patron-driven, multi-user charges, platform fees, etc.) with access issues (e.g. convenience, searchability, duplication, embargoes, etc.)? What kinds of assessment are needed?
  • Defining “standard” editions

Hope to see you there!

Collections Discussion Group at Midwinter

About Timothy Hackman

Librarian for English & Linguistics, University of Maryland Libraries. Member of LES since 2006.

The always lively Collections Discussion Group will be meeting after the Reference Discussion Group:

Sunday, January 17, 2010  10:30 a.m.- noon

Hilton Boston Financial District (HIL): Kellogg B/C

Please help us form an agenda for this meeting. What issues would you like to discuss?
Anyone interested in these suggested topics?

  • digital preferred collection policy statements
  • interdisciplinarity of research: how to fund research needs when library budgets/assignments are often based on traditional disciplines
  • selecting fiction/poetry/drama through vendor author lists

Past discussion topics have included:

  • Project Muse journals
  • e-book collections and licenses
  • institutional repositories and humanities
  • coping with less collections monies and more demands: building a collection on nothing a year
  • selection tools
  • gift collections/titles/subscriptions
  • graphic novels
  • leisure reading
  • weeding
  • collecting contemporary fiction
  • Google Books Settlement
  • e-resources

Please contact either Kristina DeVoe or Michaelyn Burnette or leave a comment on the blog!

Question Concerning Writing, Composition and Rhetoric

This fall, our English Department split into two departments: English literature and Writing & Composition Studies. In addition to being the home for the required introductory English courses, the WSC Department has its own faculty (cannibalized from the former English Department), and it  will have majors and and an MA program. It also hosts the university writing center.  My problem is that there are lots of sources for resources in literature, but I’m having trouble finding sources for resources in writing, composition and rhetoric. Does anyone know of any useful blogs or listservs, in this area, similar perhaps to LES for literature?

I very much appreciate any input you have.


HarnerIt has arrived from Amazon (on pre-order since February)! The fifth edition of James Harner’s Literary Research Guide. Woot! I should have shot an unboxing video! Sure, get one for your reference collection, but you gotta have one sitting on your desk too! Essentially brain food for librarians of literatures in English (LLE).

Digital, Virtual, Irish


Last week I was flying to a state consortial meeting–a puddle-jumper kind of flight–no more than an hour or so. Perfect time to break out the new Kindle and do some reading. One of the books I bought for the Kindle was Ulysses. I got it for next to nothing. How is it I managed to get two degrees in English, studying primarily the authors of high modernism, without having read Ulysses? A puzzle indeed. But the Kindle to the rescue. Continue reading Digital, Virtual, Irish

Getting Up to Speed

I’ve been thumbing my way through a couple different volumes in the Oxford “Very Short Introduction” series. (I only thumb these days, no actual reading!) They are quite attractive and useful works. We’ve bought quite a few volumes in the series. In fact, our head of reference has been keen for us to get the entire series. I’m not sure they warrant that much devotion, but it does strike me that they are a pretty good resource for librarians to learn more about literary genres and critical practices that they may not be familiar with. Brief, [fairly] authoritative, entertaining. Increase your reference skills and your collection development acumen at the same time. I am also a fan of Routledge’s “New Critical Idiom” series. I am less familiar with “Edinburgh Critical Guides,” but they look pretty good too.

PostmodernismOxford Very Short Introductions

ModernismRoutledge New Critical Idiom

GothicEdinburgh Critical Guides

Review of C19

About Timothy Hackman

Librarian for English & Linguistics, University of Maryland Libraries. Member of LES since 2006.

By hook or by crook, I convinced the other humanities selectors at Hopkins that purchasing access to ProQuest’s C19 Index was an imperative. And it was. The academic strength of Hopkins’ English faculty lies in the period from the 1750 to 1920, although that is shifting with a few new hires, and I am fielding an increasing array of questions from graduate students interested in online resources from the long nineteenth century.

C19 Index
certainly does that job and does it well. ProQuest calls C19 “the bibliographic spine of 19th century research, providing integrated access to the most important finding aids for books, periodicals, official publications, newspapers and archives.” Users of C19 Index can simultaneously query the Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue, Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature, and The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, and others. Certainly, my patrons are appreciating improved access to these resources, in one, easy to navigate location. And they no longer have to use that notoriously clunky Nineteenth Century Masterfile.

Continue reading Review of C19