Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

Microlog and the "Canadian Public Policy Collection" - A Comparison

Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

Microlog and the "Canadian Public Policy Collection" - A Comparison

Article excerpt

Abstract

There has been some discussion of late, in academic library circles, surrounding the relative merits of Microlog (Micromedia-ProQuest) versus the Canadian Public Policy Collection (CPPC - Gibson Library Connections). Microlog is a long-standing resource, with over 200,000 titles, that provides fiche copies of Canadian government documents (federal, provincial, and municipal) to subscribers. Microlog also creates the MARC records and makes them available for uploading into library catalogues. CPPC is an online collection of over 22,000 think tank and policy institute reports, along with a selection of federal and provincial government documents. This paper provides a comparative analysis of Microlog and CPPC to help clarify their roles in academic library collections. This analysis considers measures of growth, coverage, and content, as well as additional features associated with each of these collections. The analysis concludes that these collections are largely distinct and tend to be more complementary than competitive.

Keywords

microfiche collections; online access; government documents; public policy reports; preservation; collection development; Microlog; Canadian Public Policy Collection

Introduction

Microlog is a longstanding government documents resource in Canada (1972 to present). It is a collection of over 200,000 Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal government documents on microfiche dating back to 1972 (as Microlog, and its predecessors: Urban Canada and ProFile). Microlog "covers English and French publications from federal, provincial, and municipal government agencies and departments. It includes research, scientific, technical and annual reports, policy papers and statistical materials." As well, Microlog is available through various "subscription plans ranging from the complete collection to subsets by level of government (jurisdiction), geographic area, subject, or special collections".i MARC records are available from 1982 forward.

The Canadian Public Policy Collection (CPPC - Gibson Library Connections) is a newer entry in this arena (2005 to present). CPPC is an online collection of over 22,000 reports from policy, social, economic and political institutes and think tanks, along with a selection of federal and provincial government documents. A related product, the Canadian Health Research Collection (CHRC)ii, is often also subscribed to with CPPC.

CHRC is a collection of current, health-related monograph publications from Canadian research institutes, government agencies, and universities. Currently, the collection consists of approximately 7,000 titles, with about 1,600 new titles added each year.

Recent comments on the Canadian "GOVINFO" Listserv (GOVINFO@YORKU.CA) have raised questions about the relative merits of the Microlog fiche/MARC record service versus products such as the Canadian Public Policy Collection (CPPC). These are legitimate questions in tight budgetary times. Some libraries have cancelled Microlog and are relying on the CPPC. The purpose of this paper is to compare these two collections in terms of collection size, content, and access and to discuss their importance in academic library collections.

Methodology

Collection Size

Two kinds of statistics on collection size were collected. The first was collection growth, as measured by annual additions to each collection. The second was collection coverage, as measured by the number of items published in a particular year that are found in each collection, regardless of when they were added.

Microlog statistics were gathered for the years 1999 to 2010 using the Queen's University Library (QUL) catalogue (QCAT); searches were conducted between April 29 and May 10, 2011. Annual growth data were collected using call number searches in QCAT. Coverage data were collected using advanced QCAT searches as shown below (Figure 1), illustrating the limits used to extract these data: specifically, the word 'Microlog' was searched as a 'keyword anywhere'; the date range was limited to individual years; and the location was limited to 'Government Documents'. …

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