Collecting Law and Medical Titles for General Academic Collections: What Use Statistics Can Tell Us

Document Type


Publication Date



Collections management, Law, Medicines, Monographs

Organizational Units

University Libraries



In order to better understand how collections are used, this study aims to present a large‐scale analysis of usage patterns for non‐core monographs in the collections of fourteen general academic libraries of varying sizes.


Using Spectra Dimension, a collection analysis tool, this study compares use data from multiple academic libraries.


It appears that general academic libraries are overinvesting in legal materials and perhaps underinvesting in medical materials.

Research Limitations/Implications

This study suggests that analysis of use data from multiple libraries may help individual libraries better understand their own collecting needs. Local issues may, however, override the broad patterns identified here.

Practical Implications

In lean budgetary times, understanding collection use is key to making informed decisions about resource allocation for collection development. Libraries may be able to use these data to better manage their own materials budgets and collecting practices.


Though there have been a number of large‐scale analyses of collections, most have relied on sampling or have compared small portions of collections, and few have compared use across libraries. This study analyzes collection use across many institutions at a level of detail not possible before the introduction of multi‐library collection analysis tools.

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