The EAST collection analysis was formally kicked off at a meeting at Brandeis University in June, 2015, which was attended by representatives of EAST member libraries.  In addition to reviewing the overall goals, expectations and timeline for the project, the meeting included an in-depth review of the collection development work that was being undertaken with the selected vendor, OCLC Sustainable Collection Services® (SCS). SCS was selected by EAST during the planning process based on the depth of their experience in working with groups similar to EAST, albeit much smaller, as well as the availability of an online tool, GreenGlass®, that would greatly faciliate creation and analysis of the large scale collective collection of EAST.

Data Collection and Analysis

The first step in the collection analysis was for each of the participating libraries to provide a data extract that included bibliographic and item data from their local catalogs/integrated library systems as well as circulation and other usage data for the items being extracted.  Since EAST is focused initially on scholarly monographs and the items to be retained will continue to be housed in circulating collections, the collection analysis excluded special collection materials, government documents, serials (which will be analyzed in a future phase of the EAST project) as well as non-circulating monographs in the local collections.

Working with OCLC Sustainable Collection Services® (SCS), the EAST project team provided documentation to the libraries participating in the collection analysis, specific to each local automated system, that detailed the processes to use to extract the data locally and provide it in the correct format to SCS.  A technical contact at each library was determined and the EAST Data Librarian, Sara Amato, worked closely with any library that experienced technical difficulties. As a result, all of the participating libraries had completed their data extracts and made them available to SCS by the agreed upon deadline of October 31, 2015.

In addition to those EAST libraries contributing new data extracts to SCS, there were a small number who had recently completed or were still engaged in individual institutional collection analysis with the vendor.  In most cases, SCS was able to reuse their existing data set thereby reducing the cost of collection analysis for those libraries. 

A final category of EAST libraries included members of the ConnectNY consortium who had already made retention commitments based on an earlier collection analysis with SCS.  These libraries agreed to extend these commitments to EAST as Retention Partners and their data set was loaded into the EAST GreenGlass® database for comparison to other EAST Retention Partners' collections.

Once SCS had data from all of the EAST libraries participating in the collection analysis, it loaded the data, normalizing it,  and created the EAST collective collection which was then loaded into the SCS online tool, GreenGlass™. Each of the EAST libraries participating in the collection analysis was provided a logon to GreenGlass which provided them access to visualizations of and modeling tools for their local monograph collection as well as the full EAST collective collection of over 16 million holdings.

The EAST Collective Collection

Some interesting data points about the EAST collective collection:

  • Total number of holdings: 16,573,071
  • Title sets held by only one library in EAST: 50%
  • Titles sets with more than 10 aggregate uses across the EAST libraries: 20%
  • Title sets represented in HathiTrust: 39%

Beginning in March 2016, the EAST Monographs Working Group, appointed by the Executive Committee, began working with the EAST project team and staff from SCS to analyze the EAST collective collection and begin to build a model for the retention of titles across EAST.  The online tool provided by SCS, GreenGlass®, greatly facilitated this process as it incorporates a model builder that allows users to specify particular characteristics of the collective collection as well as aspects of the comparison of the collection to the collections of other comparator groups and determine, based on these rules, how many titles need to be retained.   GreenGlass provides visualizations and other representations that allowed the EAST libraries to better understand the collective collection, particularly in terms of uniqueness and overlap as well as usage.  The model builder was used by EAST to experiment with various retention modeling scenarios and determine what the impact of any particular model would be on the group as a whole and on each participating library. 

Over the course of about three months the Monographs Working Group (MWG) and the EAST team, working with SCS, developed a number of retention models for EAST using GreenGlass®. As models were iterated, the full EAST membership was surveyed to seek feedback on the appropriateness of the model as well as on details of the definitions of overlap, uniqueness, and usage that the model was utilizing.  Following three such cycles, the MWG recommended a final retention model to the EAST Executive Committee which approved it in June of 2016. 

The EAST Final Retention Model

Throughout the collection analysis, the EAST team, SCS and the Monographs Working Group utilized the model building tools in GreenGlass® to iterate various models for the final retention proposals for the EAST libraries.  First and foremost among the criteria was a desire to be conservation in order to maximize retention across the collections, particularly of uniquely and scarcely held materails.  The retention model that EAST finalized was based on:

  • retaining all copies of titles scarcely held* across the libraries: in order to protect unique and rare materials
  • retaining up to 5 copies of titles that have been frequently used across the libraries: in order to ensure access to adequate copies for future users
  • retaining one copy of all other titles that are defined as in scope: in order to protect the remainder of the collective collection.

This model has identified over 6 million holdings that the EAST libraries are being asked to retain for the minimum 15 year retention period.  Quite an accomplishment!

*Scarcely held is defined in this case by fewer than 40 copies in WorldCat.