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Bibliographer's Manual

Table of Contents | I. Introduction | II. Collection Development at UCB | III. Bibliographers | IV. Functions & Activities | V. Appendix



IV. Functions & Activities

Approval Plan



The UCB 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. 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. Foreign language and other approval plans also exist within the Libraries, according to needs of the discipline.


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. Shipments are color coded to aid in tracking the approval process. Bibliographers are expected to come to Acquisitions within the allotted time — approximately a week — to review the books, indicating acceptance with an approval slip giving fund name and bibliographer initials. No approval slip in the book indicates that the book is not wanted and should be returned to the vendor. Books may also be suggested for other funds by means of a yellow slip provided. The Faculty Director, Collection Development, reviews all rejects before they are returned. At this time, bibliographers in most of the science, technology, and business disciplines are on a Virtual Approval Plan trial. Further information regarding the Virtual Approval process and workflow can be found here.


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 Faculty Director, Collection Development, 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.


According to discipline profile, some books are not sent for review but will be described in printed or email forms. Examples of materials described on forms are: textbooks, reprints, added editions, and 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 judgement 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 enhance our research collections.


As was mentioned under the discussion of liaison duties, bibliographers must be aware of programs, areas of excellence, and degrees granted in departments for which resources are intended. These factors will determine purchases and profiles. Sources of this information may be a departmental program review or web site.