Digital Suggestion Box Responses

Help Improve Your Libraries

Library Collections

New Book Lists

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Why aren’t there more new books in my area, library science? When I looked in the new book list, I only saw eight titles listed. I’m sure there are many more than eight books on library science that have been published recently.

I know you have been looking at the new book list in you discipline available through the “New Books” link in the catalog or by going directly to


Books that appear on the new books lists are those for which catalog records have been received and posted within the time period of the search and are in the LC Classification range for the subject area. To use your discipline, library science, as an example, this means only books with numbers from Z or ZA are listed in the list of new library science books. Books appear on the list when they have catalog dates more recent than the last time the updates were run and when they have item records and order records attached.

The list gets updated about once a week.

Books on the lists can still be “In Process” and may not yet have got to the shelves. The books on the lists have, however, been received in cataloging. Books with the status “In Process” can be requested by clicking on the “Get It” button. They will be rush processed and brought to a circulation desk to be picked up.

Often books relevant to a discipline fall outside the designated LC Classification range for a subject area. Library science materials, for example, often fall into such subject areas as education, technology, computer science, law, the social sciences and business. When this happens, the books are found in the new book lists for the subject areas associated with their LC Classifications. It is always a good idea to browse the new books lists for related disciplines.

I should also point out that electronic books are not listed in the new book lists by discipline. They appear only on the New Ebooks list, which you can locate by clicking on the “Electronic Resources” link in the catalog.


Each discipline/selection area has a budget for new books for a budget year. In each area, we spend the allotted funds based on the curriculum(s) in the discipline, faculty requests, other patron requests, suggestions from librarian colleagues, and, of course, the judgment of the librarian building the collection in that area.

Differing numbers of new books will appear on the lists at different points during the year. Publishers have varying publishing cycles; orders are often grouped to allow more efficient processing; some orders are placed for books which have not yet been published; and some orders are submitted to coincide with curricular developments in a program. Again to use the example of library science, we have recently purchased a number of items for the new Records Management certificate program. All of these factors, as well as the exigencies of the budget process, contribute to a continual, if uneven flow of books into our collection.

DVD Collection

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

How are DVDs chosen for the Undergraduate Library? Does the librarian doing this look at lists of award winning films? How do you pick documentaries? Why don’t you have more DVDs that we actually want to watch?

In choosing items for the video/DVD collection, we focus on these factors:

  • Requests from faculty for materials that support their teaching and/or research. This includes materials that support all curricular areas across the university.
  • Requests from Film Studies and Media Arts and Studies faculty for materials that support their curricula and research. This includes titles released as part of the Criterion Collection; titles important to the history of film; the works of selected independent film directors; popular titles for classes offered in special topics such as Blockbuster films, Bollywood films, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Blaxploitation, etc.
  • Requests from staff, students and library patrons for materials that are appropriate for an academic library collection. The focus is on adding films with educational value, and not developing a collection of popular films purely for entertainment purposes.
  • Annual reviews of awards lists including academy awards; “Notable Videos for Adults” of the American Library Association (primarily documentaries); recommended titles in the periodical “Video Librarian”
  • Reviews of best-of lists including those from the American Film Institute, BBC, British Film Institute, National Film Review, etc.
  • Recommending Books and Journals

    Monday, May 19th, 2008

    The most common use of our Digital Suggestion Box is to recommend a title for the collections. Most often, books are suggested, but from time to time we also hear about journals and magazines. We are always glad to receive such suggestions and would be happy to see the number of suggestion grow.

    Typically, we forward each such message to the librarian responsible for developing the part of our collection in which we would place the recommended item. These subject specialist librarians are called liaisons. Each liaison librarian is in charge of developing one or more subject areas within our collections. These subject areas cover the full range of what is studied, taught, and researched at the University.

    After forwarding a recommendation to a liaison librarian, we also let the person who made the recommendation know the name and email address of that librarian and make clear that future suggestions can be made either through the Suggestion Box or by contacting the liaison librarian directly.

    If you would like to cut out the middleman and recommend books and serials directly to a liaison librarian, you can identify the librarian you want by going to the directory of Librarian Liaisons at

    It is also possible to recommend books for purchase directly through our catalog. When you first open the catalog, just under the search box you will find the link “Suggest a Title.” When you click on that link, a form will open allowing you to make your recommendation. You can go directly to this form now by clicking on this link: