Don't allow academics to add/delete items from reading lists whilst the list is being reviewed by acquisitions
Items appearing and disappearing on lists... we could easily end up buying things that are no longer required or missing essential items.
University of Brighton commented
Just to add, we are finding that when people are in the middle of reviewing a LOOOONG list (humanities for example), if another review is requested before the review is complete, the details are lost and they have to start all over again. Refinements in this area would be very welcome
University of Brighton
Annette Moore commented
We have experienced similar at Sussex, where tutors have requested a review of a list, clearly before they have finalised their decisions of material that will make up the reading list. Feedback from library staff reviewing such lists is that it is taking a lot longing and there is additional communication required with the academic to be certain that items that were under review that have subsequently been removed are definitely no longer required. In some instances, we may have already ordered the item and it is not possible to cancel.
I think that the action of 'Requesting a Review' needs to be seen by both academics and library staff as a definite step in the acquisitions workflow. It should be clear from this action that an academic has finished creating the reading list and library staff can progress with confidence to the next step on the workflow of deciding how many copies to acquire.
I can also so see some benefits for both academics and library staff for a greater degree of flexibility. If an academic is working week-by week through a list that is structured by sections, could a review be requested on one SECTION of the list rather than the complete list? Then the SECTION under review could be suspended for editing, but would allow the academic to continue working on additional weeks/sections.
This would serve two purposes; allow academics to continue working on a list over a period of time, whilst allowing the library staff to start ordering for stock as earlier as possible.
University of Sussex
Richard Cross commented
Filtering - yes, this is pretty much the manual method that we use at present to distinguish items in this way; but that doesn't help with service/workflow expectation on the academic side.
What would you expect the service expectations of the library to be when an academic keeps on updating a list that s/he's asked the library to review? We have academics who add a couple of items to a list and then submit it for review. Then they add three more. Then, two days later, another six. The following day the take off two items and add four more. If the act of submitting a list for library review temporarily closed the list to editing wouldn't that clarify absolutely the place of library review in the resource list workflow? It would make it clear that the academic has reached the point where (at this moment in the academic cycle) the list is student-ready and good for the library to resource. Leaving lists open to additional editing makes the library's attempts to resource the list all the more difficult, and - I think - confuses the academic about the nature of the resource list work that the library can do. I'm also not sure that it's good customer service to be forced to say "Well, you may have changed the list since you submitted it for review, but we in the library we've ignored the most recent stuff that you've done."
Deletions - because submitting to library review is (quite rightly) cost free to the academic, the fact that lists continue to be editable whilst under review actually makes it more likely that things that we're trying to acquire will be deleted by an academic having second thoughts (and finding something better) when, actually, in truth, their list is not really ready for library review.... The prefered solution is surely not to try to hope to catch those deletions during the a review process in which the goalposts keep moving (messy to say the least) but to invest the act of submitting to the library with that little bit of signficance?
Of course, this would require the library to turn the lists round sufficiently quickly to avoid any academic frustation at not being able to update the list.
Adminchrisc (Admin, Talis) commented
Maybe a simple way to deal with this is to add a filter to the review screen that just shows the items on the list at point of review, hiding further items added after the review request?
Then essentially what you are agreeing to do as a library service is review items added up to that point and not beyond. A simple wording change on the request review form would reaffirm that for academics.
That covers addition of new items whilst a review is in process. On deletes, surely blocking deletes until a review cycle is a bit counter productive?
Imagine going to all the work and cost of acquiring items, only for when the edit "block" is removed, that the academic then removes it from the list. Although removal of items whilst a review is going on might be disruptive to the acqu. process, at least there is a chance of catching the mis-purchase of items sooner rather than later?