About Collection Development at Cornell University
Collection Development, the shaping and management of library materials within the confines of available resources, is a recently-evolved specialization in libraries. The comprehensive Encyclopedia of Library and Information (1968-1984) does not list the term within its thirty-five volumes. Yet in the past two decades most research libraries have identified staff to carry out the collection development canon: budgeting, selection (and withdrawal), collection evaluation, and policy formation.
At Cornell the formal establishment of collection development dates from 1977 when the Library began a Project for Collection Development and Management, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Project's impetus resulted in the appointment of a senior administrator charged specifically with setting policy within the endowed library units and a department of specialists, bibliographers, who, with their colleagues in the college and department libraries and curators in the Special Collections, make day-to-day decisions on the composition of the collections. With modifications, that model remains in place today.
Currently an Associate University Librarian administers collection development while the day-to-day decisions are made by the bibliographers, curators, and selectors listed at another location within this document. [To view the list, select the underlined area.] To enhance coordination, librarians with collection development responsibilities are grouped into four teams: area, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. One member of each team joins a representative of the statutory libraries, the Acquisitions Librarian, and the Head Bibliographer to consult with and advise the Associate University Librarian on the Collection Development Executive Committee.
Records of the Project appear in two documents: Edleman, Hendrik and Dan C. Hazen, Collection Development and Management at Cornell: an Interim Report on Activities of the Cornell University Libraries' Project for Collection Development and Management July 1977-June 1979 (Ithaca: Cornell University Libraries, 1979) and Miller, J. Gormly, Collection Development and Management at Cornell(Ithaca: Cornell University Libraries, 1981).