Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Editorial

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Editorial

Article excerpt

I want to draw your attention to an important paper, "Assessing the Cost and Value of Bibliographic Control," by Erin Stalberg and Christopher Cronin, in this issue. Library Resources and Technical Services (LRTS) does not normally publish the work of Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) committees, interest group, and task forces. As a peer-reviewed journal, LRTS publishes papers that take a critical approach to the questions and challenges facing librarians and libraries and publishes both research papers and thoughtful explorations of operational issues that have value and implications for other libraries. "Assessing the Cost and Value of Bibliographic Control," while incorporating a great deal of the final report of the Task Force on Cost/Value Assessment of Bibliographic Control (appointed by the ALCTS Heads of Technical Services in Large Research Libraries Interest Group), is much more than a task force report or a summary of the task force's work. It met LRTS' rigorous requirements and was vetted through our double blind review process. "Assessing the Cost and Value of Bibliographic Control" is a thoughtful analysis of a complex topic and should be required reading for all who care about the future of bibliographic control and technical services.

Stalberg and Cronin's paper takes a critical approach to the questions and challenges facing technical services librarians today. How do we measure costs, benefits, and value of bibliographic control? How can we document the value of investment in bibliographic control, which is a central function of technical services operations? How do we communicate this value to library administrators? The authors place these questions in a historical context through their literature review, noting that answering the key questions about cost/benefit have been hampered by the absence of definitions of value as well as methods for assessing both cost and value.

The Task Force on Cost/Value Assessment of Bibliographic Control initially set out to develop and articulate metrics for evaluating the cost and value of cataloging activities, but it realized that a common vocabulary for what constitutes value and an understanding of how value is attained are needed first. …

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