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Dissertation Information for John D. Zimmerman

NAME:
- John D. Zimmerman

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Case Western Reserve University (USA) (1982)

ADVISORS:
- William M. Shaw Jr.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Christinger L. Tomer
- Donald R. Whitman
- Thomas Gleason Morris

MPACT Status: Complete - Except Indecipherables

Title: The Measurement of the Scattering and Obsolescence of Periodicals

Abstract: The exponential growth of periodical literature

has resultsd in demands for more library shelf

space and higher library subscription

expenditures. Shelf space and expenditures have

fallen short of demand. The literature of

librariansh{p reports that the
space problem has been addressed by weeding

less-used titles and volumes from library

shelves. The financial problem has been

addressed by cancelling subscriptionse
Studies of scattering and obsolescence provide
information relevant to weeding and

cancellation decisions. Scattering is the

distribution of uses among titles in a

periodicals collection. In a scattering study,

titles are ranked by the number of uses recived

in a ferquency of use study. Lower ranking

titles are then considered for weeding or

cancellation before higher ranking titles.

'Obsolescence is the decline in use of

periodical volumes with increasing age. In an

obsolescence study, the number of frequency

uses reported for the volumes published in each

year is plotted against the age of the volumes.

A cutoff date is established and volumes older

than the cutoff date are considered for

weeding.
Several questions have been raised concerning
measurement of scattering and obsolescence.

First,
the accuracy, stability, and practicality of

frequency
data have been questioned. The use of 'binary

data has
been proposed as an alternative. Second, the

relevance
of frequency data to problems of shelf space

and,
cancellation has been questioned. As an

alternative,
the use of normalized data has been proposed.'

Third,
assuming that normalized data should be used,

there is the question of which normalization

factor to use. Fourth, researchers have asked

whether liberal arts and science libraries

display different patterns of obsolescence.
The present study investigated all of these
questions. Scattering and obsolescence were

,studied
in two major libraries of Case Western Reserve
University. One of the libraries was a liberal

arts library. The other was a science library.

Each. question was investigated by comparing

appropriate data. In the investigations of both

scattering and obsolescence, volume-normalized,

space-normalized, and page-normalized data were

used. In addition, the scattering studies

employed cost-netmalized data.
The scattering study had several consequences.

Concerning whether frequency and binary data

provide similar information, the study was

inconclusive. However, the study supported the

conclusion that normalized frequency data and

normalized binary data provide different

information. Although it was concluded that

volume-normalization, space-normalization and

page-normalization supply similar information,

volume-normalization was found the most

practical. It was concluded that cost-

normalized data provide different results than

other normalized data. Finally because data

normalized to volumes, space, and pages

produced d.ifferent results than data which had

not been normalized, and normalized data was

more relevant to space decisions, use of data

normalized to one of these factor was

recommended for studies concerned with shelf

space. Regarding whether' cost-normalized data
and data which have not been normalized provide
similar results, the study was inconclusive.
The obsolescence study also had several

consequences. Similarity of information

supplied by' frequency and binary data

supported the conclusion that binary data can

be substituted for frequency data in

obsolescence studies. The results also

supported ) the conclusion that normalized

binary data can be substituted for normalized

frequency data in obsolescence
studies.
In addition, data normalized to volumes, space,

and pages were found to provide
similar information. However, volume-

normalization was form the most practical.

Plots of normalized data were characterized by

regions, knowledge of which was advantageous

for decision-making. This regionalization and

the greater relevance of normalized data to

space distribution contributed to the

conclusion that use of normalized data is

preferable in obsolescence studies. Finally,

the obsolescence patterns of the liberal arts

and science libraries differed substantially.

MPACT Scores for John D. Zimmerman

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:01:21

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Students under John D. Zimmerman

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None