The Janus Conference resulted in the formation of six groups working
on the "Key Challenges in Collection Development." Please see the
Key Challenges Activity Summary page. Other post conference activity is on the Weblog.
On October 9-11 2005 Cornell University Library will host The Janus Conference on Research Library Collections: Managing the Shifting Ground Between Writers and Readers, a forum devoted to re-envisioning collection development in research libraries. The Janus Conference is partially supported by a generous grant from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
Janus, the Roman god of doors and gates, is depicted with twin faces, gazing in opposite directions. This image serves as an all-purpose metaphor for duality: old and new, war and peace, advance and retreat, the digital on and off. Invoking Janus, participants in this conference will look behind us and look ahead, and assess the library's role as interface between reader and writer in the first decades of the 21st century.
It has now been twenty-five years since Hendrik Edelman, Dan Hazen and J. Gormly Miller completed their work on The Andrew W. Mellon-funded plan for reconceptualizing collection development at Cornell. At about the same time, the now famous Resources and Technical Services Division (RTSD) Preconference on collection development was held in Detroit. In many ways, these two events shaped the vision and set the standards for the then newly evolving field of research library collection development. Since that time, much has changed in the way scholarly information is produced, distributed, and used for teaching and research—and yet many of the objectives and values that inform and drive collection development remain largely the same as they were a quarter of a century ago.Now is an opportune time to challenge and perhaps change those objectives and values—to re-envisage and redefine collection development, so that it is able to respond effectively to the needs of scholarship and higher education in the early 21st century. At this conference, we will review the prevalent rationale and understanding of collection development. What is collection development today, and what is its purpose in the rapidly changing information environment? How do our original perceptions of collection development need to be adjusted, and what steps should we take in order to implement such adjustments?