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Library Collection Management Bibliography Examples

  • Weeding by Committee: Involving Faculty in the Deselection Process

    J. Michael DeMars and Roll, Ann
    IFLA Conference 2016. (2/9/2016)

    At California State University, Fullerton’s (CSUF) Pollak Library, library staff developed a web-based tool to allow teaching faculty to provide feedback on deselection candidates on a title by-title basis. This paper discusses the creation and evolution of this tool and how it was used in both a small scale pilot and a second larger effort and how it impacted the project and faculty involvement.

  • High-Yield, Low-Risk Deselection in an Academic Library

    Griffin, Meredith
    IFLA Conference 2016. (2/9/2016))

    A renovation-driven deselection project at Concordia University in Montreal is discussed. Here, the pursuit of reducing duplication turned out to be a successful strategy for meeting their space reduction goals.

  • A Scalable Model for Monograph Assessment: A Case Study at Musselman Library

    Ward, Amy E.
    Musselman Library Staff Publications. Paper 52. (2016)

    This presentation outlines the design of the 2012 assessment model that has become the foundation for assessing [Gettysburg College's] circulating monograph collection, along with how the original model has been adjusted to assess more focused targets and larger initiatives, each with rapidly approaching deadlines. Finally, this presentation summarizes the workflows needed to support continuous decision making and provides a sample of the results from the assessment initiatives described.

  • Slimming Down: Why not feed your need to weed?

    Boulos, Valerie L.; Born, Judy; Long, Alicia K.; and Zhang, Ying
    Works of the FIU Libraries. Paper 40. (2016)

    The presentation on multiple weeding efforts at Florida International Universities libraries looks at shelving capacity, project drivers, workflows, and numerous project details.

  • Deselection of Print Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the Digital Age

    Oliva, Victor T.
    Collection Building, Vol. 35 Iss: 2.  2016.

    A brief overview is provided to delineate why deselection is important,and how it can be accomplished. A literature review was prepared. It included a review of deselection at small, medium sized and large college and university libraries. The pros and cons of print versus e-books for collection development were reviewed, including four case studies. The feasibility of replacing print reference titles with e-books is also covered. A review of the monograph weeding project at Adelphi University Library in the humanities and social sciences is provided. Conclusions and a projection of next steps are also included.

  • Next-generation collection management: A case study of quality control and weeding e-books in an academic library

    Waugh, M., Donlin, M., & Braunstein, S.
    Collection Management, 40(1), 17-26.  2015.

    Collection managers should analyze and control the quality of digital collections by active weeding of e-books. Certain print weeding strategies apply to digital material even though digital material does not take up physical space. One such strategy is the removal of outdated content, especially in the subjects of health and technology, in order to maintain updated and accurate collections. However, the e-book format presents some additional and different quality control challenges. In this article, the authors describe an e-book weeding project at the Louisiana State University Libraries that addresses and demonstrates these challenges.

  • The New Role of Librarians and Libraries: Removing the Silence Signs

    Carriuolo, Nancy and Tovah Reis
    The New England Journal of Higher Education, August 10, 2015

    The president and library dean at Rhode Island College describe the planning and communication process that was used in a deselection project aimed at freeing up space on campus. This is a good account of how different stakeholders were engaged in the process, paving the way for a successful project.

  • Facilitating the Serendipitous Discovery of Information: Planning and Weeding the Fine Art Collection

    Zanin-Yost, Alessia and Katy Ginanni
    Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal), Paper 1132 2014

    This article explains the collaborative undertaking of the arts liaison and the collection development librarian in weeding the fine art print collection at Western Carolina University.

  • Data-Driven Deselection: Multiple Point Data Using a Decision Support Tool in an Academic Library

    Snyder, Cynthia Ehret
    Collection Management, V39, Issue 1. p17-31. 2014

    Rules-based weeding, based on multipoint data, enables librarians to make better-informed choices about the collection. Using a decision support tool forced Olin librarians to make weeding decisions based on multiple data points such as rarity, statewide repository candidates, or inclusion on recommended lists for college libraries.

  • WesWeeding - Wesleyan University Library's weeding project

    Wesleyan University Library, Last Updated: July 31, 2014
    Wesleyan University Library's weeding project blog. Updates and more on the project.

  • Assessing University Library Print Book Collections and Deselection: A Case Study at The National University of Ireland Maynooth

    Murphy, Elizabeth
    New Review of Academic Librarianship, V19, Issue 3. p256-273. 2013

    This article discusses an assessment and deselection project of the modern print book collections in the John Paul II Library, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

  • Developing and Implementing a Disapproval Plan: One University Library's Experience

    Way, Doug and Julie Garrison
    College & Research Libraries News, V74, N6. p284-287. June 2013

    This article discusses a project at Grand Valley State University to implement a "Disapproval Plan."

  • Three Libraries, Three Weeding Projects: Collaborative Weeding Projects Within a Shared Print Repository

    Gillies, Scott and Carol Stephenson
    Collection Management 37 (3-4) (2012): 205-222 2012

    This article outlines three specific collaborative weeding projects: monographs, science/technology/medical journals, and a JSTOR journals last copy project.

  • Collier Library Weeding

    University of North Alabama Last Updated: August 22, 2012

    University of North Alabama weeding project blog. Updates and more on the project.

  • Space Space Space: Weeding and What Remains

    UCI Libraries
    University of California Irvine Web Site Last Updated: Apr 27, 2012

    A LibGuide with information about UCI's "year-round" weeding program. Contains explanations and detailed procedural and policy information.

  • Charles V. Park Library spends $4 million yearly updating book collection

    Hicks, Justin
    Central Michigan Life January 19, 2012

    Campus paper interviews library dean, who focuses on all the new materials acquired to explain the need to weed.

  • More than just low-hanging fruit: A collaborative approach to weeding in academic libraries

    Soma, Amy K. and Lisa M. Sjober
    Collection Management 36(1) (2010): 17-28 2010

    This article focuses on using collaboration to develop and implement a comprehensive and systematic approach to weeding in a small academic library.

  • When Worlds Collide: Dismantling the science fiction and fantasy collection at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John

    Nikkel, T. and L. Belway
    Collection Management 34(3) (2009): 194-208 2009

  • A Dental Library Book Collection Intervention: From Diagnosis to Cure

    Cox, Janice. E. and Barbara A. Gushrowski
    Journal of Hospital Librarianship 8(3) (2008): 352-357 2008

    This article summarizes the rationale, resources, and process used by Indiana University School of Dentistry Library (IUSDL) staff to undertake a comprehensive book collection intervention (a.k.a. book weeding project).

  • Moving from good effort to best practice--refining a weeding process in a dental school library

    Gushrowski, B. A.
    Against the Grain 19(3) (2007): 26, 28, 30, 32 2007

  • Science Library Weeding Update (Blog)

    Washington and Lee University Web Site Last Updated: February 26, 2007

  • I've deaccessioned and lived to tell about it: Confessions of an unrepentant reappraiser

    Greene, M.A.
    Archival Issues 30(1) (2006): 7-22 2006

    This article postulates that our profession's reluctance to confront reappraisal and deaccessioning is both theoretical and practical, but that on both counts, we have inadvertently weakened our repositories and our professional standing by our unwillingness and lack of action.

  • The Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library: the Howard University Move Experience

    Bryant, Darcel A.
    Journal of the Medical Library Association. 92(2)(2004):251-256 2004

    Note the section on "Deciding what to move".

  • Collection management: Assessing and weeding the foreign language collection

    Williams, Pauline C. and Brent N. Halvonik
    College & Undergraduate Libraries 11(2) (2004): 103-127 2004

  • Comprehensive weeding of an academic health sciences collection: The Briscoe Library experience

    Tobia, Rajia C.
    Journal of the Medical Library Association 90(1) (2002): 94-98

    This article describes the experiences of one academic health sciences library and its comprehensive weeding project.

  • Alameda County Trashes Library Books

    Levin, Sam
    East Bay Express March 12, 2014

    "Library administrators are discarding older books in bulk, prompting a backlash from longtime staff members."

  • Art Library Closing/Consolidation Meeting

    Batte, A.
    Wesleying April 2, 2012

    Wesleyan University

  • 6 Reasons We're In Another 'Book-Burning' Period in History

    Davis, S. Peter
    Cracked.com October 11, 2011

  • The Great Purge of Our Libraries

    Wilding, Michael
    Quadrant Online LV (7-8) July–August 2011

  • On Mistakenly Shredding a Prized Collection

    Tracy, Carla
    The Chronicle of Higher Education July 25, 2011

    Augustana College, Illinois

  • The curious case of shrinking libraries coffee carts and 'the dust test'

    Pearce, Gary
    The DRUM May 25, 2011

  • You can judge a book by its 'dust test' as university library cuts its staff and stocks

    Narushima, Yuko
    The Sidney Morning Herald May 12, 2011

    Focused on the Fischer Library at Sydney University.

  • Books get the shove as university students prefer to do research online

    Narushima, Yuko
    The Sydney Morning Herald March 8, 2011

    This article begins, "The University of New South Wales is throwing away thousands of books and scholarly journals as part of a policy that critics say is turning its library into a Starbucks."

  • Half the books are checking out permanently

    Yonkof, Frank
    Kentwired.com at Kent State University September 22, 2010

    Neutral campus newspaper article about library renovations and the need to move books to storage.

  • In Face of Professors' Fury', Syracuse University Will Keep Books on Shelves

    Howard, Jennifer
    The Chronicle of Higher Education November 12, 2009

  • Library Renovation Leads to Soul Searching at Cal Poly

    Carlson, Scott
    The Chronicle of Higher Education September 1, 2006

  • Collection Development in the Humanities and Social Sciences in a Transitional Age: Deaccession of Print Items

    Woolwine, David E.
    Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal) Paper 1173 (2014)

    A literature review of user preferences, research habits and needs, and citation studies are used to argue that de-accession of print titles in the humanities and social sciences in academic libraries should occur in a conservative fashion as libraries transition to greater digital holdings.

  • Library Booksavers Facebook Page

    Facebook September 22, 2014

    This Facebook page was created to "save the books of Albany Library and other Alameda County Library branches from reckless weeding." It includes links to resources and news regarding community opposition to weeding activities within this system.

  • Secrets of the Stacks: How libraries decide which books to keep--and which don't stand the test of the time

    Rose, Phyllis
    Medium.com May 13, 2014

    A Wesleyan english professor looks at the thorny problem of determining merit when it comes to weeding literature. This is an excerpt from her book that chronicles her "adventures in extreme reading."

  • Why People Hate Weeding Books

    Annoyed Librarian (blog)
    Library Journal March 13, 2014

    Reflections on "what it is about book weeding that gets library patrons so panicked?

  • Killing Sir Walter Scott: A Philosophical Exploration of Weeding

    Raphael, Laura
    In the Library with the Leadpipe (blog) July 24, 2013

    Weeding a library collection, while an absolutely essential part of collection management, is a much more complex issue than library literature—and library practitioners—would like to admit. It is not just an intellectual and physical process but an emotional one, wedded to deep psychological, cultural, and even metaphysical issues. This article explores some of the reasons why weeding can be so heartbreaking, difficult, and miserable.

  • Hard Choices: Do Libraries Really Destroy Books?

    Holmes, Linda
    National Public Radio October 12, 2011

    Responds to S. Peter Davis' article "6 Reasons We're in Another Book Burning Period in History."

  • I Can't Believe You're Throwing Out Books!

    Goldberg, Julie
    Perfect Whole (blog) May 16, 2011

    "I am a librarian but no longer a bibliophile."

  • State of the Stacks 2011 - Wardman Library, Whittier College (YouTube Video)

    Garabedian, Mike (narrator)
    Whittier College, Whittier, CA. March 25, 2011

    A description of the current state of the book collection at Wardman Library, Whittier College; and the plan to rebuild subject area collections in the stacks over the next several years.

  • Collaborative print repositories: A case study of library directors' views

    Maskell, Cathy et al.
    The Journal of Academic Librarianship 36 (2010): 242–249 2010

    Surveys library directors in the Ontario Council of University Libraries consortium regarding weeding, last copy print archiving, and the role of the consortium. Responses reveal divergent opinions but an answer lies in partnerships. Cost remains an over-riding factor and the uncertainty of future budgets make commitment to long-term planning difficult.

  • Fahrenheit 451?: A ‘burning question’ on the evidence for book withdrawal

    Booth, Andrew
    Health Information & Libraries Journal 26(2) (2009): 161–165 2009

  • The Art of Weeding (San Diego Mesa College Librarian - YouTube Video)

    Gast, Michael
    San Diego Mesa College 2009

    San Diego Mesa College Librarian Devin Milner shares his thoughts on weeding. (Humor)

  • Double fold or double take? Book memory and the administration of knowledge

    Brabazon, T.
    Libri 52(1) (2002): 28-35 2002

    This paper investigates the debates encircling Nicholson Baker's "Double Fold: libraries and the assault on paper."

  • Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper

    Baker, Nicholson
    New York: Random House 2001

    Pleads the case for saving newspapers and books so they can continue to be read in their original forms.

  • Weeding naturally

    Engeldinger, Eugene A.
    College & Undergraduate Libraries 6(1): 46-51.1999

    College libraries are not research libraries; hence, college librarians would do well to abandon the notion that size has some relationship to value, to see decay in the stacks as a useful ally, and to use it to weed and improve overall collection quality.

  • Weeding the Collection—Painful But Necessary

    Farber, Evan
    Library Issues: Briefings for Faculty and Administrators 19(2) (1998): 1-31998

  • Weeding Library Collections: Library Weeding Methods. 4th ed.

    Slote, Stanley J.
    Englewood: Libraries Unlimited 1997

  • Weeding academic libraries: theory into practice

    Bushing, M. and E. Peterson
    Advances in Collection Development and Resource Management 1
    Greenwich: JAI Press, p. 61-78 1995

  • Weeding: A quantitative and qualitative approach

    Reed, Lawrence L., and Rodney Erickson.
    Library Acquisitions 17, (1993): 175-181 1993

    This approach to weeding an academic library collection combines recorded use, checking of lists and bibliographies, the expertise of librarians and faculty members, and accessibility to develop a model weeding procedure.

  • Stock Revision, Retention and Relegation in US Academic Libraries

    Bonk, Sharon and Sara Williams
    Collection Management in Academic Libraries
    Aldershot, England: Gower, p. 213-234 1991

  • Weeding collections in an academic library system: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Lucker, J.K.
    Science and Technology Libraries 6(3) (1986): 11-23 1986

  • Weeding of Library Materials – Politics and Policies

    Stueart, Robert D.
    Collection Management VII (1985): 49 1985

    An overview of the weeding process is presented along with a review of its nature, purpose, and proper functioning in a variety of environments.

  • Implementation and Evaluation of a Weeding Program

    Reed-Scott, Jutta
    Collection Management 7(2) (1985): 59-67 1985

  • Research Library Deaccessioning: Practical Considerations

    Streit, Samuel
    Wilson Library Bulletin 56(9) (1982): 658-62 1982

    Considers some important questions surrounding the deaccessioning of books and other materials from library collections: Should deaccessioned items be sold? How should materials for deaccessioning be selected? What are the channels for the sale of deaccessioned library materials?

  • Managing Library collections: the process of review and pruning

    Mosher, P.H.
    Collection Development in Libraries: a Treatise, Part A.
    Greenwich: JAI Press, (1980): 160-161 1980

  • Trueswell's Weeding Technique: The Facts

    Turner, Stephen J.
    College and Research Libraries 41(2) (1980): 134-138 1980
    Reviews Trueswell's weeding technique, introduces possible application areas, and addresses a number of popular misconceptions

  • Yale's Selective Book Retirement Program

    Ash, Lee
    Hamden: Archon Books 1963

    Report of a three year project directed by John H. Ottemiller, associate university librarian, under a grant from the Council on Library Resources.

  • Weeding a Law Collection

    Surrency, Erwin C.
    Law Library Journal 50(6) 1957

    Temple University Law Librarian wrote that "most libraries have reached 95% or more of their total shelf capacity. … a solution to the problem must be sought by the library profession."

  • How weeding adds value to library collections: Weighing the cost of weeding and the cost of keeping books

    Chrzastowski,Tina, Harris, Jessica
    Santa Clara University Scholar Commons: University Library, Paper 40, 2015

    Librarians at the Santa Clara University library have created a cost model for a weeding project that projects: "by 2018, we will have recovered the cost of our weeding project." The cost of their weeding project is compared to the cost of keeping the weeded books using figures from the research "On the Cost of Keep a Book" by Paul Courant and Matthew Nielsen.

  • The Cost of Deselection (1-10)

    Lugg, Rick
    Sample and Hold (blog) March–May 2011

    This series of 10 blog posts takes a detailed look at activities that drive the cost of deselection. These include handling deselection metadata, reviewing candidate titles, and handling and processing withdrawn titles. In several cases, the cost impact of differing approaches is assessed.

  • The $4.26 Problem

    Lugg, Rick
    Sample and Hold (blog) November 2010

  • On the Cost of Keeping a Book (report chapter)

    Courant, Paul N. and Mathew "Buzzy" Nielson
    Council of Library and Information Resources

  • The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for the 21st Century, p. 91. 2010

    CLIR Publication 147 2010

    The authors conclude that a library bears an annual cost of $4.26 for each volume held in open stacks, and $1.99 per volume if that book spends part of its life in a high-density storage facility.

  • Books as inventory: Suggested lessons from business

    Marcum, J. W.
    The Bottom Line 21(1) (2008): 14-16 2008

    New books get most of their use in the first two years on the shelf, as a rule. A book that is unused is “dead inventory” from the perspective of this argument.

  • Life Cycle Costs of Library Collections: Creation of Effective Performance and Cost Metrics for Library Resources

    Lawrence, Stephen R. et al.
    College & Research Libraries News 62(6) (2001): 541-53 2001

    While purchase costs are easy to identify, associated acquisition, cataloging, circulation, and maintenance expenses are difficult to measure and attribute to specific collections. Includes 23 references.

  • The Economics of Book Storage in College and University Libraries

    Ellsworth, Ralph E.
    Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries and Scarecrow Press 1969

  • Weeding gone wild: Planning and implementing a review of the reference collection

    Singer, C.A.
    Reference & User Services Quarterly 47(3) (2008): 256-264 2008

  • Reference collection management policies: Lessons from Kansas

    Liestman, Daniel
    College & Undergraduate Libraries 8(1), (2001): 85

  • Reference collection maintenance: Theory and (mal)practice

    Majka, David R.
    Reference Services Review 24(4) (1996): 67-75 1996

  • Systematic reference weeding: A workable model

    Joswick, Kathleen E. and John P. Stierman
    Collection Management 18(1-2) (1993): 103-115 1993

  • Managing the Reference Collection: The Practice of Pruning

    Harloe, Bart and H.M. Barber
    The Reference Librarian 29 (1990): 159-173 1990

  • ‘Use’ as a criterion for the weeding of reference collections: a review and case study

    Engeldinger, Eugene A.
    Reference Librarian 29 (1990): 119-128 1990

    The University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire Library has collected data for five years; this data is used to show that even in well weeded collections, which previously depended upon subjective methods, empirical data will prove beneficial.

  • Let’s get rid of it: a reference librarian’s battle cry

    Vincent, S.F.
    The Reference Librarian 29 (1990): 145-157 1990

    Experiences at Georgia State University.

  • A program for the systematic weeding of the reference collection

    Mathews, Eleanor and David A. Tyckoson
    The Reference Librarian 29 (1990): 129-143 1990

    The authors believe weeding to be an integral part of the collection development program.

  • Weeding and Maintenance of Reference Collections

    Pierce, S.J. (ed.)
    New York: Haworth Press, 1995

  • Weeding of Academic Library Reference Collections: A Survey of Current Practice

    Engeldinger, Eugene A.
    RQ, Journal of the Research and Adult Services Division, 25(3) (1986): 366-711986

    Reports results of survey investigating aspects of weeding of materials in reference collections at 377 U.S. colleges and universities: existence of written policy or unwritten weeding practice; extent of weeding; frequency; what happens to discards; effect of shelf space, staff time, and use of materials on weeding decisions.

  • Automated Classification to Improve the Efficiency of Weeding Library Collections

    Wagstaff, Kiri L.
    Master's Theses. San Jose State University. May 2017.

    "In this study, we empirically evaluated methods for automatically classifying weeding candidates. A data set containing 80,346 items from a large-scale academic library weeding project by Wesleyan University from 2011 to 2014 was used to train six machine learning classifiers to predict “Keep” or “Weed” for each candidate. We found statistically significant agreement (p = 0.001) between classifier predictions and librarian judgments for all classifier types. "

  • Weeding Your Depository Collection (Webinar)

    Dahlen, Ashley
    Federal Depository Library Program October 6, 2014

    "Topics addressed are the “5-year rule,” supersession, and substitution. Also covered is what steps your regional may take to authorize the discards, such as a “needs and offers” or withdrawal list, “eyeballing” the material, and so on. Learn why contacting your regional before starting a weeding project may save you time!"

  • The Library De-Supply Chain

    Lugg, Rick

    SCS Insight October 22, 2013

    "Because academic libraries have for decades not prioritized deselection and related tasks, work processes tend to be underdeveloped and are only partially supported by vendors. This is beginning to change. Out of necessity, we are inventing what I will call the 'library de-supply chain."

  • Data-driven deselection for monographs: a rules-based approach to weeding, storage, and shared print decisions

    Lugg, Rick
    Insights: the UKSG journal, V25, N2. p198-204. July 2012

    This article describes the characteristics of a decision-support system that assembles deselection metadata and enables library-defined rules to generate lists of titles eligible for withdrawal, storage, or inclusion in shared print programs.

  • Weeding the Collection: an analysis of motivations, methods, and metrics

    Zuber, Peter
    American Society for Engineering Education / Engineering Libraries Division Annual Conference 2012

    PDF notes from the presentation are also available.

  • We are what we own: Deselection strategies for our profession's viability (slides)

    St. Petersburg College - Florida Library Association Conference 2011

  • A Survey of Weeding Practices in New Zealand Academic Libraries

    Johnston, Angus
    School of Information Management · Te Kura Tiaki, Whakawhiti Korero: MLIS Research Papers 2011

  • Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. 2nd Edition.

    Johnson, Peggy
    Chicago: American Library Association 2009

  • The Disapproval Plan: Rules-Based Weeding and Storage Decisions

    Lugg, Rick and Ruth Fischer
    Against the Grain 20(6) 2009

  • Doing What's Obvious: Library Space and the Fat Smoker

    Lugg, Rick and Ruth Fischer
    Against the Grain 21 (1) 2009

  • CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries

    Larson, Jeanette
    Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, TX Last Revised: 2008

  • Weeding: facing the fears

    Dubicki, E.
    Collection Building 27(4): p. 132-135 2008

    The purpose of this paper is to provide librarians with an approach to weeding, which reduces librarians' fears and concerns of withdrawing books from an academic collection.

  • Weeding: The Time is Now

    Lugg, Rick and Ruth Fischer
    Against the Grain 20 (4) 2008

  • Practical advice for weeding in small academic libraries

    Handis, Michael
    Collection Building 26 (3) (2007): 84-87 2007

    Argues that weeding is appropriate in small, academic non-research libraries and discusses a methodology for approaching it.

  • Weeding library collections: Conundrums and contradictions

    Williams, R.
    Collection Management, Edited by G. E. Gorman, 339-361
    International Yearbook of Library and Information Management, 2000-2001

  • When creating and maintaining a bibliography for a digital project, there are four very important principles to keep in mind while choosing a bibliographic management software.  Paying attention to these principles from the beginning will help your project's bibliography to remain internally consistent, to inter-operate with the other data comprising the project, and to be maximally useful for search, browsing, display, and export.

    What are some of the options?
    The Stanford University Libraries support and can assist with several different bibliographic management programs through subscription, instruction, and technical support.  These are EndNote, Mendeley, RefWorks and Zotero.  If you are planning to use a different tool, be sure support is available from the developer. Using one of the tools supported by the Stanford University Libraries goes a long way toward abiding by the following principles.  But the principles themselves are important to understand and to keep in mind.

    Principle 1: Data structure is essential
    Bibliographic data is highly structured: titles, authors, dates, pages, places of publication, etc., are all distinct structures of standard bibliographic citations.  In order to do something with a citation, its information must be maintained in a structured format (as opposed to, say, unstructured text): each element of a bibliography should be clearly identified in some standard, persistent way so that an automated program can act on it -- whether to display it in a particular way (e.g., in italics if it's a book title), to sort it (e.g., by publication year), to display or hide it (e.g., an annotation or an internal note), etc. Library catalogs and the bibliographic management programs mentioned above do all of this internally.

    It is also possible to structure data in a simple spreadsheet, in which structure comes in the form of rows and columns.  (This not a great choice, but not terrible.)  The worst choice is to use something like a word processing program, which generally lacks options for structured data altogether.

    Principle 2: Mind how the data gets in
    Whether your citations are entered by hand or automatically downloaded from some catalog or database, all of the tools cited above can help. Consider whether a single person or multiple people will be gathering data and maintaining the collection of citations.  Using stand-alone tools (i.e., those that store data on an individual's computer) for a jointly-curated bibliography will likely lead to duplication, or gaps, or both.  Merging bibliographies (which requires de-duping and possibly re-formatting) is generally a nightmare!

    If the principal source of your project's citations is one or two known databases, then it's worth taking the time to experiment with the tools available to see which ones work best with those particular sources: which are simplest to use, which capture and display the citations in the most straightforward and "clean" way, etc.  Beware of tools that take structured data (for example, edition statements, multiple authors, etc.), and lump them into a single, unstructured field – for example, a generic note field.

    Principle 3: Mind how the data gets out
    At some point, your bibliography will need to be transformed into part of something larger like a digital collection or a database.  The individual citations, and each of their individual parts, will be transformed to some other format appropriate for display (e.g., HTML) or for searching, sorting and browsing.  Digital library workers can often do such transformations in reasonably straightforward ways, as long as the export format is also structured rather than plain text.  Experiment with a few sample records to see whether they travel the complete import – export – import cycle without losing any data or structure.

    Principle 4: Standardization is the key to interoperability
    Not only is it important to use standard bibliographic fields in a structured way. It is also extremely useful to include standard numbers or other identifiers when they are available.  ISBNs, ISSNs, DOIs (“Digital Object Identifiers”), and PURLs (“Persistent URLs”) can often be turned automatically into links – a simple, straightforward way to turn your bibliography into an interactive, interoperable part of the digital project.


    Likewise, with subject headings, author names, uniform titles, etc., it is wise to rely on well-known standards like the Library of Congress authority headings that at least contain the possibility of being automatically linked to other catalogs or resources.  You may prefer the spelling “Tolstoï” on linguistic or esthetic grounds, but if the Library of Congress prefers “Tolstoy,” then your Russian novelist will have a hard time being properly identified. Emerging standards such as VIAF (the Virtual International Authority File) may make such cross-linking more automatic in the future.  The more your project is able to include identifiers from standard, authoritative sources, the better it will be able to integrate with the rest of the information world and other digital projects.