Dissertation Information for Stanley James Slote
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: THE PREDICTIVE VALUE OF PAST-USE PATTERNS OF ADULT FICTION IN PUBLIC LIBRARIES FOR IDENTIFYING CORE COLLECTIONS
Abstract: Objectives: The more important objectives of this exploratory study were: 1. To explore the possible bases for objective weeding criteria for adult fiction collections in public libraries utilizing past-use patterns. 2. To determine if the “shelf-time period” of a book (the time a book remains on the shelf unused) is a better predictor of future use than “the most recent imprint date.” By “better” is meant that the criterion would yield a core collection containing fewer volumes and still satisfy a given level of future use. 3. To develop a model for the core collection of each library in the sample. 4. To determine if the pattern of current use of books circulating is as valid a predictor of future use as are historic reconstructions of circulation over longer periods of time. Methodology: Five public libraries, having segregated adult fiction collections and using book cards which recorded previous use, were selected. An attempt was made to find libraries differing in size of the populations served, the size of the collections, the rates of circulation, the types of communities served, the amounts of their budgets, and the hours of service. A sample was taken of the books circulating, representing the complete circulation for several days. The usage was related to cells refining shelf-time periods and latest imprint date. The distributions of the use-patterns indicated by the samples were used to predict patterns of future use. Systematic samples, likely to approximate random samples, were made of the total fiction collections, in relationship to the above variables. These were used to predict the percentage of the present collection which would be represented in the new core collection. Finally, a use prediction was made in one library, based upon shelf-time period. Seven weeks later, a new circulation sample was taken and compared with the prediction. The Findings: 1. That past-use patterns are highly predictive of the future use of fiction volumes. The validation study corroborated this finding. 2. That the “shelf-time period” was a predictor of a “better” core collection than “the most recent imprint data.” However, it was found that the imprint data was a meaningful predictor of future use. 3. That an individual model of a core collection is required for each individual library, and that it can be constructed from the circulation pattern. Such a model assumes that the “likelihood of usage” is an acceptable standard for defining a core collection. 4. That the pattern of use of the current circulation creates use-patterns which are as valid for predicting use as any method of historic reconstruction tried. 5. That the serious studies in this field, working with other types of collections, reinforce the major findings of this study.
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