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The following is the list of collecting levels and their definitions used by libraries in the Australian Libraries Gateway to assess their collection against the ALG subjects. The definitions are broadly based on those developed by Australian libraries for use with the Conspectus assessment process. After consultation with a wide range of libraries and users, the National Library has replaced the numerical values with text headings to more clearly indicate collection depth in Australian libraries for users.
These collecting levels aim to provide a uniform way of describing the collections of Australian libraries. They provide a continuum from 'Minimal' through to the 'Research' level. These are not equal incremental steps, however, since the difference from one level to the next may be measured both in terms of quantity and quality and the amount of materials necessary to move from one level to the next greatly increases as one moves up the scale. In most instances, each successive level includes the elements, formats and characteristics of the previous levels.
The collecting levels are designed to apply uniformly to all subjects and reflect the changing nature of collection development in an electronic environment in which libraries are providing access to information through a range of sources covering their physical collection, commercial databases as well as access to Internet resources.
Electronic resources are equivalent to print materials at any level as long as the policies and procedures for their use permit at least an equivalent information-gathering experience. Electronic journals, whether remotely or locally stored, are at least equivalent to print journals if:
Similarly, a full text electronic archive of monographs, periodicals, images etc., whether loaded locally or accessed via the Internet, is also equal to the original format if patron access and cost are equal or superior to the print format for the same information or item.
The term defined access is used within collection strength indicators to mean more than simply providing library users with access to the Internet and one or more Internet browsers. Defined access refers to menu options on the library's or institution's Web interface, which link the user to owned or remotely accessed electronic resources selected by the library with the needs of its users in mind. The level of defined access changes according to the level of the collection, ie from limited to extensive to very extensive access to collections of electronic information.
Document delivery services that are not instantaneous are not the same as those providing immediate availability on site or electronically. The primary aim of the Australian Libraries Gateway is to collect information on resources owned by a library and those resources that are immediately accessible to the library user. Libraries should not include information in the assessments about resources that can be obtained on a delayed basis from another collection, library, or vendor, whether the delay is 10 hours or 10 days.
Some topics require information on visual, audio and other non-print formats, whether at the basic level or beyond. Such topics include, but are not limited to, dance, music and the other performing arts. to determine the appropriate collection strength indicator to use for topics in which non-print resources are essential, add the phrase appropriate non-print media to the line detailing the collecting of monographs and reference works. For example, the 'Basic' level for a music collection would include "a limited collection of monographs, reference works and appropriate non-print media".
|No details provided||The default value of the subject strengths update form - where no selection is made, this option will be displayed. When no details are provided, users will not find your Library when they 'Search collections by subject'.|
|Nothing in this category||Out of scope. The library does not intentionally collect materials in any format for this subject.|
|Minimal||Collections that support minimal
inquiries about the subject and include a very limited collection of general
resources, including monographs and reference works. Periodicals directly
dealing with this topic and in-depth electronic information resources are not
The collection should be frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information should be withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained.
|Basic||Collections that introduces and
defines a subject, indicates the varieties of information available elsewhere,
and supports the needs of general library users, school, introductory level
courses and some undergraduate instruction and information, but is not
sufficiently intensive to support advanced undergraduate courses. Should
As well as limited collections of introductory monographs and reference tools that include:
This collection is sufficient to support the inquiries attempting to locate general information about a subject.
|Advanced basic||Collections of general periodicals and
a broader and more in-depth array of introductory monographs and reference
tools that include:
This collection is sufficient to support students in basic courses as well as supporting the basic information needs of clients in public and special libraries.
|Study - Basic||Resources adequate for imparting and
maintaining knowledge about the primary topics of a subject area that include:
This collection will support undergraduate instruction, as well as some independent study and work-based needs of the clientele of public and special libraries. It is not adequate to support postgraduate courses.
|Study - Intermediate||Resources adequate for
imparting and maintaining knowledge about most topics in the subject area and
providing more extensive coverage of the subject with a broader range of
materials including some specialised materials. That is:
This collection is adequate to support all undergraduate and most graduate course work, as well as more advanced independent study and the work based needs of the clients of public and special libraries.
|Study - Advanced||Resources adequate for imparting and
maintaining knowledge about all aspects of the topic including specialised
subject areas. These are more extensive than the intermediate level but less
than those needed for doctoral level research. They include:
This collection supports master's degree and doctoral level programs as well as other specialised inquiries.
|Research||Collections that contain the major
published source materials required for doctoral study and independent research
Older material is retained and systematically preserved to serve the needs of historical research.
The collection supports postgraduate and independent research and includes all major published source materials required.
Last modified: April 30 2009.
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