Thoughts on the RRSI STAR Checklist

Though written with the intention of being as clear as possible, we realize that parts of the checklist may lead multiple interpretations or inspire question and confusion.  In order to evolve the STAR Checklist and inspire conversation about innovative ways to rethink resource sharing, we will be posting a blog series, “Thoughts on the RRSI STAR Checklist” to address various pieces of the checklist.  We want to hear from you as we think and brainstorm.

Our first post is from the Chair of the ALA RUSA STARS Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies Committee, LeEtta Schmidt, on questions 16 & 17.

Q16:  Library provides links to locally digitized collections in the online catalog.

Q17:  Library provides links to commercially purchased content in the online catalog.

Questions 16 and 17 of the Rethinking Resource Sharing STAR Checklist, come from the part of the checklist that addresses our Manifesto point #1:  Ease of Resource Sharing. It says that ‘restrictions shall only be imposed as necessary by individual institutions with the goal that the lowest-possible-barriers-to-fulfillment are presented to the user.’   ‘Ease of Resource Sharing’ here also encompasses ease of discovery, since patrons are not likely to seek out material without some hint that the material exists.

A patron should be able to access the library website and make a single search that pulls in multiple types of information.  Searching the library has traditionally meant searching the online catalog, but with library collections and materials existing in many different platforms, created and curated by many different agencies, there may be materials that are not natively included in the library’s catalog.  Locally digitized materials are a perfect example of this, and are the subject of Checklist question #16. Library digital collections are often created and managed in systems specifically designed for digital materials. They may have records in the library catalog for their physical counterparts (should the library have both physical and digital versions), but perhaps the online version is not linked in a way that patrons would discover it without making a specific search of the digital collections system.  The lowest-possible-barrier-to-fulfillment here would be if the library’s digital collections were connected with the online catalog in a way that library users could immediately be linked to the content.

Libraries also purchase access to a wide variety of content that is hosted by third party vendors, e.g. journal, e-book, and streaming media collections; these are the concern of checklist question #17.  These collections, mostly digital and bought as packages, do not always go through the same item by item cataloging process as a library’s purchases of physical materials. The lowest-possible-barrier-to-fulfillment here would be if the content of these collections, at the title level, were also connected to the online catalog in such a way that a library user’s search would return journals, books, videos, etc that are available online in multiple different databases.