Network Bulletin No. 00-37

Date: July 28, 2000

Subject: Collection Development

Index term: National Advisory Group on Collection Building
Ativities--2000 recommendations and NLS responses

Enclosed is a copy of the responses to the recommendations
made by the National Advisory Group on Collection Building
Activities at the meeting May 24-26, 2000.


For further information contact:

James Herndon
Collection Development Section


National Advisory Group on Collection Building Activities,
May 24-26, 2000.

1.  The Committee recommends NLS provide background and
statistical information, in appropriate formats, to the
National Advisory Group prior to the annual meeting,
including readership by age and disability, collection
distribution by genre, and magazine subscription statistics.

Response: NLS will provide this information beginning with
the 2001 meeting.

2.  The Committee recommends NLS give priority to
identifying and deleting obsolete, dated materials, and to
encourage network librarians to assist in the identification
process.  The Committee further recommends that NLS archive
and maintain a master collection of these materials for
patrons needing them for reference/research.

Response: This will be done as part of NLS's effort to
determine which titles are to be converted to a digital
format.  NLS is currently looking at ways to involve the
network of cooperating libraries in this process.

3.  The Committee recommends that random tests be performed
on the finished cassettes to determine their sound quality
as played on an NLS player including higher volume levels.

Response: Currently every cassette soundtrack is reviewed
for sound quality by playing each control copy cassette on a
C-1 unit at normal listening levels.  Increasing playback
levels will only exceed the C-1 player's capability of
providing undistorted sound.  We will continue to test
cassettes to specified requirements at normal volumes.  Any
change in machine and cassette design to play with
consistent undistorted quality at high volumes is beyond the
resources of NLS and would significantly increase the cost
of the program.

4. The Committee recommends NLS develop and conduct a study
to quantify the changing composition of the patron
population and potential population served by NLS and its
impact on network services.

Response: NLS is currently working with the North American
Region of the World Blind Union, the Bureau of the Census,
and other organizations to identify a process by which
population numbers can be estimated accurately.

5.  The Committee recommends NLS continue to work with the
Library of Congress administration to develop a mechanism
for purchasing materials from out-of-print book vendors to
fill in collection gaps.

Response: NLS will continue its efforts to acquire out-of-
print books in the most timely manner.

6.  The Committee strongly recommends NLS Specification 300
be amended to include the spelling of the authors' full
name(s) at the beginning of each recorded book.  This would
provide consumer parity, clarification, and facilitation of
additional bibliographic exploration.

Response: This recommendation was submitted and discussed at
the June 16, 2000, meeting of the NLS Engineering Change
Control Board.  After significant discussion, the consensus
of the Board was that although the spelling of the authors'
names at the beginning of each recorded book would be
helpful for some readers, it would probably be considered an
intrusion by other readers who expect an uninterrupted flow
of narration.  For example, patrons who read only authors
they are familiar with could well consider the spelling of
the author's name at the beginning of every title a
condescending intrusion, and they would probably complain
about this change.  Thus, based on the recommendation of the
National Advisory Group, NLS will change specification 300
to spell the authors' names as part of the closing
announcement.  By placing the spelling at the end of the
book, beginning announcements will continue to be narrated
without interruption, while the spelling of authors' names
will be available for interested readers.

7.  The Committee recommends subject bibliographies be
compiled with an eye to currency and relevance of materials.

Response: New titles are listed in Talking Book Topics and
Braille Book Review and then in the annual cumulations of
these publications.  Older titles are included in subject
bibliographies in an attempt to bring them to the attention
of readers who might not have been using the service when
the titles were listed originally.  Given the limited number
of titles available in this program it is not perceived as
reasonable to deny readers access to information about all
titles available in any given subject area.

8.  The Committee recommends that the subject/major catalogs
produced by NLS be provided on computer disk in addition to
the current formats.

Response: At the present time available funds will not
permit such an action.  However, this will be considered,
when funds are available.

9.  The Committee recommends NLS give priority to producing
new subject catalogs for bestsellers and biographies.

Response: The priority for subjects of bibliographies is
determined through a network survey.  When the next survey
is conducted, the Committee's recommendation will be cited.

10.  The Committee recommends NLS develop and conduct a
survey for patrons regarding magazine selection for the NLS
program which will determine consumer needs.

Response: In 1996 NLS conducted an extensive survey of
patrons' reading interests in the magazine area through a
nationally known public opinion research firm.  Surveys were
sent to  3,500 users of the NLS program.  Responses to the
survey indicated patron magazine preferences in various
subject areas.  NLS then assembled a magazine advisory
committee of users and network librarians to select specific
magazines in each of the subject areas chosen.  Changes in
the magazine list were made in 1998.  Given the cost and
complexity of the survey, NLS cannot repeat it frequently.
We do, however, periodically review the selection of
magazine titles to insure that the magazine list remains up
to date.

11.  Since the primary focus of Stereo Review has shifted to
items of a more technical nature, the Committee recommends
NLS continue to search for a magazine that contains more
reviews and articles about classical, popular, and country

Response: Replacing an existing magazine with another
magazine is a change of sufficient consequence as to require
a magazine survey, similar to the one conducted in 1996.
(See response to #10 above).  Since that time, the NLS
magazine committee conducted an interim review of possible
replacements for Stereo Review, and turned up no magazine of
sufficient scope that could be offered as its replacement.
Although the NLS magazine committee identified magazines of
specific music types (classical, country and western, rock
and roll, opera, etc), there was no all-round, general-
interest music magazine that we found acceptable.  At this
time NLS plans no changes in the magazine list, but will
continue to share the recommendations and concerns of the
National Advisory Group in future meetings of the NLS
magazine committee.

12.  The Committee recommends NLS add the magazine Teen
People to bridge the gap between Stone Soup and Seventeenwhich will
provide current information not typically available in book format.

Response: NLS is now producing as many magazines as the
magazine budget allows.  The addition of a new magazine can
be effected only by dropping some other magazine currently
on the NLS magazine list.  Changes of this magnitude require
a survey of the subscribers affected, especially the
subscribers of any magazine that NLS wants to cancel.  The
current magazine list was finalized as a result of the 1996
magazine survey (see response to #10 above); we believe it
represents a consensus and that the majority of magazine
subscribers are satisfied.  However, because of the apparent
popularity of Teen People as a new magazine, it will be kept
in mind as a possible candidate for the magazine program and
will figure in future meetings and surveys of the magazine

13.  The Committee recommends that the copy allotment screen
be redesigned to put juvenile and YA materials together and
to include the modified Dewey code for juvenile materials.

Response: NLS is now looking into this change as a future
enhancement to the Production Information Control System
(PICS) copy allotment screen.  The change will include the
addition of more subject categories for both juvenile and
adult titles as well as enhancements to the bibliographic
information made available for download.

14.  The Committee encourages network libraries and radio
reading services to work collaboratively to provide local
materials to registered readers.

Response: As this service is not part of NLS, network
participation cannot be required.  However, radio reading
services do complement talking-book services, and NLS does
encourage network library cooperation.

The Committee commends the Head of the Collection
Development Section, Jim Herndon, and the staff for their
excellent facilitation of this meeting, including travel
arrangements, hotel accommodations, arranging for food and

Response: Thank you.

The Committee commends NLS on providing access to the
collection through Web-BLND and Web-Braille.

Response: Thank you.

The Committee commends NLS on the availability and
usefulness of the copy allotment process on the World Wide

Response: Thank you.

The Committee commends NLS for its excellent work in
building its collection of classics and contemporary
literary work and continuing to develop the breadth and
depth of these collections.

Response: Thank you.

The Committee commends NLS for the increase in production of
Spanish titles from 25 to 50, and on the production of
bilingual materials.

Response: Thank you.

The Committee commends the Collection Development Section
for achieving diversity and balance in its holdings while
working within the constraints of the program budget.

Response: Thank you.

The Committee commends the Collection Development Section
for its restrained selection in recent years of debut or
experimental fiction.

Response: Thank you.

The Committee commends NLS for adopting the new, beautiful,
artistic, and durable book covers for print braille

Response: Thank you.

The Committee thanks chairman, Mike Duke, and secretary,
Maggie Bacon, for their leadership and hard work on this

Response: NLS also thanks Chairman Mike Duke, Secretary
Maggie Bacon, and the rest of the National Advisory Group
for their work, thoughtfulness, and cooperation.