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Bibliographer's Manual

Table of Contents | I. Introduction | II. Bibliographer | III. Functions | IV. Mission | V. Program | VI. Appendix


III. Functions and Activities


Due to the wide disparity of characteristics between various disciplines, it is not possible to invent "rules" or even priorities for all bibliographers. For instance, close relations with publishers and vendors may be essential for Special Collections but not for many other disciplines. Selection of materials may not be as important as acting as faculty liaison for disciplines with small budgets, whereas selecting materials may be the primary occupation of bibliographers whose disciplines have a heavy volume of publishing. Thus it is essential that the following be considered not as absolute but as general guidelines to be applied in different ways to different disciplines.

If a collection development statement for the subject area does not exist, the bibliographer is encouraged to develop one. The bibliographer is encouraged to include subject departmental input as well as input from the Collection Development Librarian. If a statement does exist, the bibliographer should review and revise as necessary, making sure a copy goes to the Collection Development Librarian.


Bibliographers should keep in mind that the Libraries cannot accept as part of its permanent collection those materials to which it cannot provide physical and intellectual access. If there are questions about the preservation and/or the cataloging of materials under consideration, bibliographers should contact the Preservation Librarian or the Head of Cataloging.


A. Selection of New Materials

Approval Plan
The Libraries subscribe to an approval plan through Blackwell Book Services, (BNA). Books fitting customized discipline profiles are received weekly by the Acquisitions Department. Periodically, bibliographers are offered opportunities to meet with the BNA representative to create or change a profile. See details, Acquisitions in section VI. The Libraries receive a significant discount on approval books that is usually not available for individual orders. Therefore, receiving a large proportion of our materials on approval is an advantage.


Books received on approval are divided by discipline and placed on shelves in the Acquisitions Department. Bibliographers are then notified by email that a new shipment has arrived. Bibliographers are expected to come to Acquisitions within the allotted time to review the books, indicating acceptance with an approval slip giving fund name with suffix bw and bibliographer initials. (See under Fund Management for a listing of fund abbreviations). No approval slip in the book indicates that the book is not wanted and should be returned to the vendor. The Collection Development Librarian reviews all rejects before they are returned.


A carefully designed profile will usually mean that the majority of books sent for that discipline will be kept. However, BNA is not infallible, funds are precious, and storage is expensive. Therefore, each shipment should be carefully perused by the bibliographer to determine the best choices. In case the bibliographer is not able to view the approval books, he or she should designate a colleague to choose approval books during his or her absence. The Collection Development Librarian as well as someone close to the approval process in Acquisitions should be informed of these designations if the absence is to be more than just a few days.


Again, according to discipline profile, some books are not sent for review but rather printed or email forms describing these books are sent from Acquisitions to the respective bibliographers. Enough information is provided to make a decision regarding purchase. Examples of materials described on these forms are: textbooks, reprints, added editions, books pertaining to an area of limited activity within the department. As a general rule, textbooks are usually not purchased for the Libraries' collection although there may be exceptions. Duplicates or reprints also are not purchased unless our copy (copies) is missing or is in poor condition. Added editions are accepted according to the judgment of the bibliographer-how much it is used, how long since the last edition, etc. Bibliographers should always be aware of interdisciplinary offerings and should be willing to make purchases that benefit other disciplines or that would contribute to our standing as a research library.


Bibliographers must be aware of programs, areas of excellence, and degrees granted in departments for which resources are intended. This information is often available in the department's latest program review which should be available in the department or from the Collection Development Librarian. These factors often determine purchases and profiles. For a more detailed discussion of the approval plan, see the Acquisitions section in the Appendix.

Other Monograph Orders

The Approval Plan will fulfill various proportions of needed monographs for different disciplines. To supplement the Approval Plan, bibliographers will need to submit individual orders to the Acquisitions Department. To order additional monographs or other non-serial items, sufficient information in the form of a brochure, an on-line record, or a catalog may be placed in the "New Orders" basket in Acquisitions or sent to Acquisitions. Be sure to indicate the fund code, bibliographer's initials, and whether it is an added copy or an added edition. An on-line record may be emailed to the Assistant to the Head of Acquisitions, with the required information. The bibliographer should encourage purchase suggestions from faculty and students. However, these should be treated as suggestions. The final decision belongs to the bibliographer.

When purchasing unpublished, self-published, or self-produced materials from the author or creator of the work or a representative of the same, the price should be set by a disinterested expert in the field who should provide comparable market value of similar materials. Any costs related to such an appraisal should be paid by the author or representative. Such materials, as with any other, will be purchased at the discretion of the bibliographer.


In general, the University Libraries does not acquire media materials (videotape, dvd, sound recordings, cd-roms, etc.) designed to help individuals learn foreign languages. These materials are provided to the campus community by the Anderson Language Technology Center (ALTEC). Media materials that support research or study of the literature of a foreign language will be considered under the normal selection criteria used by the individual foreign language bibliographers.

 Large Microform Sets

Before ordering large microform sets, bibliographers must consider cataloging and space implications. Lack of cataloging could mean the set would be too difficult to use. Lack of space would mean the set could not be accommodated in our collection. Contact the Head of Cataloging and the Head of Media to discuss these ramifications.

 Web (Auction) Orders

The procedures for purchasing materials through Web auctions such as e-Bay are still under development. To do this, the following procedures are recommended but are incomplete.
1. Study material descriptions very carefully and verify the credibility of the agency offering the purchase. Since these materials may not be examined before purchase, it is easy to see the good without seeing the bad.


2. Discuss the purchase with the Collections Development Librarian or the Associate Director for Public Services. Explain the value of the material to the Libraries and either request funds or specify the funds that will be used. One of these people will have to instruct the bibliographer as to the next step of how to open an account in case the bibliographer does not presently have a personal e-Bay account and does not wish to open one.


3. Notify the Acquisitions Librarian that you are opening negotiations.


4. After a bid is accepted, the Acquisitions Librarian will write a check to cover the expenditure. Currently, a site like e-Bay demands a credit card number to open negotiations.


When purchasing a new journal title, the bibliographer must consider the format to decide what would best suit the department served and fit within the Libraries' guidelines. Sometimes there is a choice between print, electronic, or both. There is a lot of effort and expense on the part of the Libraries' staff in setting up these subscriptions, and much care and thought should go into these purchases. Below are some criteria to consider when purchasing journals, especially those in electronic format:
  • Price, including extra networking or other fees
  • Equipment needed
  • License requirements (ILL, ADA, concurrent users, etc.)
  • Maintenance
  • Upgrade costs
  • Demand
  • Fit with other resources/services
  • Scope
  • Curriculum/research relationship
  • Ease of use
  • Consortial possibilities
  • Archival storage

When there are no funds available for new serial titles, there may be some options for securing needed new journals.

1. Working from a list of serial titles that are paid for by each discipline fund (again, see fund management for a listing of these fund abbreviations), the bibliographer may be able to identify unused or outdated journals that could be cancelled. This will result in a monetary credit which can be used towards the purchase of new serial titles. It is suggested that the bibliographer work closely with the discipline faculty or its faculty liaison before canceling a title. The Collection Development Librarian must approve all titles submitted for cancellation.


2. The bibliographer may request that the Central Reference collection bibliographer either share the cost or purchase a title, especially if it is a bibliographic tool that would be used for access to other materials.


3. If a journal is interdisciplinary, perhaps more than one bibliographer can contribute towards the cost.


4. Sometimes, the Collections Development Librarian or Gifts Librarian may have funds for one-time purchases, such as back files.


5. It is even possible that a requested database could be a consortial purchase. Discuss such a request with the Electronics Resources Librarian.

Gifts (see Gifts-in-Kind Policy in Appendix)

Gifts-in-kind (books, materials) may add substantially to the Libraries' collections or they may add substantially to staff work load without significant benefit to the collections. Remember also, space is at a premium. It is not possible to make rules about gifts, but rather suggestions are offered that must be tempered with common sense. Bibliographers are expected to judge gifts-in-kind and accept them with an eye to public relations as well as collections. Be very careful about special handling or storage requests made by the donors. These may not be in the best interests of the Libraries or its patrons. Check with Acquisitions, the Gifts Librarian, or Collection Development whether it is even possible to honor such a request. If a gift is accepted, a gift form (Appendix ) should be filled out and submitted to Acquisitions. Always make sure the donor understands the conditions under which the gift is accepted. In most cases, gifts are accepted with the understanding by the donor that those materials not put into the Libraries' collection will be disposed of according to our policies.


Large gifts from out of town require more preparation than a couple of boxes of books from a professor. For large gifts, the bibliographer must request a list before accepting the gift. The list may then be checked to determine if the materials are suitable for the Libraries. If not (mostly textbooks or duplicates, for example), then the gift should be politely refused. Small gifts delivered to the library may be used to replace worn materials and the rest placed with surplus books for future sale or disposal. Generally, gifts are delivered to Norlin or to the branches. Periodicals should seldom be accepted. An exception could be a long run of a rare periodical.

When gifts-in-kind come in through the Acquisitions Department, bibliographers will be contacted to decide on acceptance or rejection of materials.


Gifts of money should be referred to the Gifts Librarian. The Special Collections Department and Archives maintain their own gift policies.

B. Collection Management

In this manual, collection management will involve overseeing and/or working with materials after they have been received or added to the collection. Heads of Departments are responsible for collection management in their departments. Collection management may include other topics in this manual as well as those discussed below.

Location - Campus

Unless otherwise instructed, books will be sent to locations in the stacks or in the branches according to call number. Bibliographers may specify the location of approval books on the pink slip. The desired locations of other orders or gifts may be specified at time of ordering or processing. Unless otherwise requested, non-book materials will be sent to Media.


Location of print serials will, in most instances, be in the appropriate branch, department, or Periodicals Room.

Location - Off-site Storage

University Libraries, along with UCD, UCHSC, and University of Denver, share an off-site storage facility in Aurora called Preservation and Access Service Center for Colorado Academic Libraries (PASCAL). In general, our Libraries use it for older materials, back issues of journals, some special materials, etc. Bibliographers may be called upon to choose materials from their discipline for transfer to PASCAL. These transfers will be subject to the PASCAL agreement (see Appendix) between the four schools. Bibliographers should always remember that the space is expensive to maintain and only materials worth keeping should be designated to go there.


Transferring materials from PASCAL to campus: Once serials have been transferred to PASCAL, it is not possible to reinstate them to campus. Monographs may be reinstated if there is a compelling reason. To request the reinstatement of a monograph, the bibliographer should send a memo to the Collection Development Librarian with a copy to the Associate Director for Public Services stating the request and the reason.


In some circumstances it may be desirable to transfer small numbers of books from one department to another. Both the supervisor of the original area and the supervisor of the area to which the book is going must approve the transfer. Usually Cataloging is responsible for changing locations within the bibliographic record as well as remarking the location. This process may be accomplished verbally, by using emails, or by using a transfer form. Make sure all information is included if the book is sent to Cataloging for processing.


Withdrawal may be the best option for some materials rather than sending to PASCAL. Some reasons for withdrawal could be that the materials are too fragile to use, are out of date and not useful for historical purposes, are not appropriate for a university collection, represent too many copies, etc.


Bibliographers must make the withdrawal decision. Preservation personnel can offer advice and alternatives in cases that involve preservation matters. (Note: Be careful when considering the withdrawal of boxed materials. The fact that materials are boxed means that they have been previously reviewed and found worthy of retention. However, PASCAL is a good location for boxed materials.) When books in your subject area must be surveyed for possible transfer to PASCAL, inform the Head of Circulation when you are finished flagging. To request that a small number of items be withdrawn, bring the materials to Cataloging. Withdrawal decisions may be reviewed by the Collections Development Librarian.


Technical Services is unable to notify a bibliographer when the last copy of a title has been withdrawn. Therefore, bibliographers may want to run a periodic list of monographs in their discipline that have been lost or lost and paid. Circulation can aid in this process or will provide a list at regular intervals. The information obtained will enable the bibliographer to determine if any of these materials should be reordered if still available from the publishers.

Preservation (Binding, Rebinding)

An important part of collection management is ascertaining that materials remain in good condition. This responsibility may rest with department heads, as in the branches. In Norlin, the Circulation Department, in checking out and shelving materials, as well as Preservation personnel, will detect materials in need of attention and direct them to the Preservation Department. If there is any question as to the proper disposition of the material, the bibliographer will be called in to make a decision. The Preservation Department evaluates new and damaged books for repair, binding, or special enclosures and can assist bibliographers in collection management.

Preservation (Brittle Books)

Brittle/unbindable books are reviewed by Preservation for replacement options, local, regional and national holdings, etc. (See Brittle Book Analysis Form). When multiple options exist or a book appears to be a candidate for withdrawal, bibliographer review is requested. Bibliographers will be alerted to review brittle books every semester or once 20 or more books for review accumulate. In the absence of a bibliographer, the decisions will be made by the Collection Development Librarian or the Preservation Librarian.


A bibliographer may request that Special Collections consider a book for their collection. The bibliographer should communicate with the Special Collections Department to explain to them why he or she thinks the book is "special." There are many factors involved and just being old is often not enough reason to include in Special Collections.

C. Faculty Liaison

The importance of this role cannot be overstated. Only through a thorough knowledge of the department-its research, its degrees, its faculty, its courses-can the bibliographer anticipate the collection needs of that department. It should always be top priority to establish and maintain good communication with a departmental library committee or library representative and other interested faculty of the teaching departments. The departmental administrative assistant can be very helpful in obtaining the latest program review, names of new faculty, and email list address for the faculty. Through the convenience of email it is possible to maintain contact with the entire faculty as well as the department's graduate students in order to solicit requests as well as gain advice concerning expensive items or important changes related to collection development. Also, information concerning access such as changes in Chinook or materials newly available may be easily distributed in this manner. Distribute library information such as your name and how you can be reached, brochures, instructions for putting materials on reserve, how to request the purchase of new materials, etc., to all new faculty and inform all faculty on possibilities for library use instruction for students. The bibliographer may also offer his or her assistance in planning and coordinating student library assignments. The subject bibliographer's work as liaison is an important component in building academic partnerships with the Libraries as well as building the collection.

D. Fund Management

1. See Appendix for lists of names of both monographic and serial funds according to subject.


2. It is extremely important that funds be expended throughout the fiscal year. While large purchases may be postponed until near the end of the fiscal year, regular purchases should be made throughout the year. Acquisitions staff cannot be expected to process an extraordinary number of orders and to get those orders paid for in time for the closing of the accounts at fiscal year's end.


3. Before the end of the fiscal year, bibliographers use a Materials Request Form (see Appendix) to request funds for materials in each subject. These forms are sent to the Collection Development Librarian with a copy to the Budget Advisory Committee representative by the respective bibliographers. The bibliographer should list justifications for any requested increase from the previous year, such as new fields of research or new degrees added to the department. Due to the Budget process, final amounts for each subject are often not available until after the start of the fall semester. In such a case, operating budgets will be the same as the previous academic year until such time as the new budget has been distributed.


During times of budget shortfalls, submitting requests for increases serves little purpose. Special appeals, however, may be made to a bibliographer's representative on the Bibliographers Budget Advisory Committee, the Associate Director for Public Services, or the Collection Development Librarian for further discussion.


4. Information pertaining to budgets, both allocations and amount remaining, is available online through the Management option in the staff mode of Chinook. To access this information, each bibliographer must be assigned a password through the Systems Department. The bibliographer's supervisor, the Collection Development Librarian, or the bibliographer may request this password. An email to lib-help@colorado.edu announcing a bibliographer's appointment and requesting access to budget information will secure a password.