Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Security and Access to CD-ROMs Accompanying Books: Data and Recommendations

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Security and Access to CD-ROMs Accompanying Books: Data and Recommendations

Article excerpt

The holdings of the Texas A&M University Libraries contain approximately 1,800 CD-ROMs that accompany books. Most are computer programming manuals or materials about the Internet. Given the increasing publication and acquisition of books with accompanying CD-ROMs, we saw a need to review the libraries' policy of separating CD-ROMs from their books and securing them behind a service desk. We believed that CD-ROMs shelved in the open stacks with their books would circulate more than when the CD-ROMs were housed separately. Further, we believed that books and their accompanying CD-ROMs, if lost or stolen, would be easily replaced. Data were gathered on the circulation rates of these materials when they were separated, the loss rates in the open stacks when they were shelved together, and the availability of replacements. Based upon the data gathered as well as other considerations, we recommend that for items with accompanying CD-ROMs, the CD-ROM should reside with its book, with no additional security beyond th e book's sensitized strip.

The development of new technologies has contributed to the proliferation of media used for the dissemination of information. For many years, libraries have collected books with accompanying maps, cassettes or paper supplements. The mid-1980s saw the emergence of books with accompanying floppy disks. In just the past few years, there has been a deluge of books with accompanying CD-ROMs, particularly on technical subjects such as computing and the Internet. The prevalence of these accompanying materials amplifies the age-old dichotomy of collection goals: how to both provide convenient access to the collection, while at the same time securing and preserving the collection.

We conducted this study at the Texas A&M University Libraries, exploring two basic alternatives for housing CD-ROMs that accompany books: on the open shelves with the items they accompany; or in a restricted location, separate from the items they accompany. Other matters were raised as well. We wondered what impact separating the accompanying material might have on the circulation of each item, whether separation affects the loss rate, and the factors that might adversely affect convenient access to these materials for patrons.


The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2d ed. (1998) defines accompanying material as "material issued with, and intended to he used with, the item being catalogued" (615). Olson (1988) elaborates: "a complementary part of a work, physically separate from the predominant part of the work and frequently in a different medium, such as a sound disc in a pocket inside a book cover, an answer book accompanying a textbook, a libretto accompanying a sound disc, or a teacher's guide and script accompanying a videorecording" (1).

Libraries state their purpose in a mission statement that in a university library usually includes collections support for curriculum and research. More specific goals and objectives for developing the collections are usually found in a collections management policy that includes considerations of access and preservation. Driessen and Smyth (1995) explain that a library whose goals include convenient access to the collection would logically follow with an objective that accompanying material would always be kept packaged together with its primary parts. On the other hand, they point out that a library that places great importance on preserving the collection would have goals that emphasize security, and objectives such as a secured environment for accompanying materials. A middle-ground approach might call for a library to provide easy access to most materials, but restrict access for selected materials to provide increased security. The middle ground is what many libraries choose to do with accompanying CD-R OMs. The book or serial is shelved in the stacks while the accompanying disk or CD-ROM is placed in a secure location, most often behind a service desk. …

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