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Collection Development: Analysis

Need help with analysis? Ask us! 


  • Decision Center Recommended Reports (see the Decision Center page for more detailed descriptions of these reports
    • Evaluation>Circulation>Top Titles>Popular Titles
    • Evaluation>Item Trends>Shelf Location – Current Items
    • Evaluation>Turnover>Turnover by Shelf Location (circulation per item)
      Selection>Popular Authors (only shows local demand rather than across the entire consortium)
    • Balancing>Subject Use or Balancing>Collection Use (both very broad overviews of use)
    • Evaluation>Circulation>Owning Location>Shelf Location Trends (find transaction counts by item location – “shelf location”)
    • Evaluation>Collection>Item Trends>Material Type>Current Items-Added Items
  • See webinar recording: Using Decision Center for collection development
  • Sierra’s High Demand Holds funtion shows popularity and demand of items across MORE
  • U.S. Census data to take a closer look at your community’s demographics
  • Collection analysis toolkit from Teaching Books includes collection analysis reports, diversity audit tools, and community needs assessments.


Questions to ask when assessing your collection:

  • Community Needs
    • Is the collection meeting the needs and interests of the community?
    • Are there unmet information needs in the community that the library could provide? For example: health, social services, sexual/reproductive services, employment services, etc.
    • Keep in mind that circulation data may not tell the whole story about community needs.
  • Collection Standards
    • Is the collection meeting the standards outlined in the library’s collection development policy?
    • Is the collection meeting the standards outlined by MORE?
  • Age of Collection
    • How old/current is the collection?
    • How old/current are specific areas of the collection that may age more quickly (for example: non-fiction, Dewey areas)?
    • See shelf-life guidelines in the CREW Manual and compare age of collection statistics to these guidelines.
  • Collection Usage:
    • How is the collection currently being used?
    • How has collection use changed over time?
    • Would the collection benefit from updating/weeding/promotion to increase usage?

Relative Use equation

Relative Use is the ratio of the percentage of a collection’s circulation vs. the percentage of holdings in that particular area.

  • This type of analysis can be broken down into separate library sections or locations
  • Goal is a 1:1 ratio
  • If relative use is greater than 1, it indicates that circulation is higher than holdings, and we should consider increasing the size of the collection
  • If relative use is less than 1, it indicates that circulation is lower than holdings, and we should consider weeding the collection or promoting it to encourage better circulation
  • If relative use is near or exactly 1, this indicates that we are adequately adding to and weeding the collection

Diversity Audits