VCU Libraries publishes open ebook on health sciences collection development in libraries

February 6, 2023
An exterior shot of the Health Sciences Library.

VCU Libraries and the Medical Library Association (MLA) Collection Development Caucus announce the publication of Health Sciences Collection Development: An Overview of Fundamental Knowledge and Practices (2nd Ed.). This open resource is an updated edition of the caucus’s award-winning Collection Development Best Practices document, published in 2019. 

Health Sciences Collection Development provides an overview of the responsibilities and tasks involved in the development and management of health sciences collections. Readers can explore topics in greater detail through references at the end of each chapter. The second edition has a new section on unique collection genres; addresses diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in collections; incorporates significant updates to and expands on  previous content; and includes a glossary. Each chapter, as applicable, lists key communities and online courses for professional development on that topic. Readers can add comments through Hypothesis (free account sign-up required) via the right-side panel of the ebook platform.

The volume, co-edited by VCU Health Sciences Collections Librarian Karen H. Gau and Iris Kovar-Gough, interim head of health sciences at Michigan State University, was a collaborative effort by librarians nationwide. A full list of contributors is included in the book. A final draft was submitted to the rest of the MLA Collection Development Caucus for review prior to publication. 

"For the second edition, we wanted to continue exploring and take a deeper dive into what we would have wanted to know when we were new and/or inexperienced. What do we wish someone had told us? What information do we use everyday in our profession that we learned on the job?” said Gau. “We drew from the broad and deep expertise of our caucus membership to dive further into those questions for this publication, and we hope it will give our readers an accessible entry point into the collection development and management foundations of our profession.”

VCU librarians are often involved in scholarly activities that contribute to their profession. With this book, VCU Libraries also acted as publisher for the work as a part of the Open and Affordable Course Course Content Initiative. VCU Libraries staff provided assistance with the platform, Pressbooks, as well as formatting, glossary creation, DOI assignment, and general publication guidance. Work was completed with the help of student workers, whose main responsibility is to support the publication of Open Educational Resources (OER) through VCU Libraries. 

“We are excited to be able to support the publication of this open-access library professional development resource,” said Open Education Resources Librarian Jessica Kirschner. “Our initiative focuses on bringing affordable learning materials to VCU students. Health Sciences Collection Development ensures that all health sciences librarians similarly have access to a high-quality reference to learn how to support faculty and students at their own institutions. We hope that through the publication of open access resources for librarians, we can not only emphasize the importance of sharing materials openly but also help librarians better support faculty creation of free resources.”

The work is published through Pressbooks, an open access book publishing platform. A PDF is also available via Scholars Compass, VCU’s institutional repository.

Learn more about OER in the VCU Community

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to access online and shared with open licenses that allow for unrestricted use, retention, sharing and editing by faculty and students. OER can be any type of teaching or learning materials, including textbooks, images, videos, slide decks, assessments, syllabi, and whole courses. 

VCU Libraries’ Open and Affordable Course Content Initiative provides education, advocacy, and direct support for the adoption, customization and creation of open educational resources. We assist faculty in publishing OER for use in VCU classes, and you can view all of VCU Libraries' published OER on Pressbooks. To learn more or explore the possibility of using or creating OER, visit the initiative’s website.

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