Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Cost of Deselection (7): Staged Review

Although the comic possibilities are rich, "staged" review, as used here, does not imply a tableaux arranged for an audience. (Cf. the staged meeting, such as Big Heads, or deselection as spectator sport). Alas, the term is used here in the materials-handling sense, as in "moved to a temporary location."  Before all else, this requires finding a temporary location, itself not the easiest of tasks on most campuses. Locating the necessary "swing space" within the conveniently-located main library is even less likely.

1. Finding Swing Space: To accommodate the 10,000 withdrawal candidates in our example will require substantial space, especially if they are to be handled all at once. The standard library cantilever-style steel shelf unit is 36" wide, and contains either 6 or 7 shelves, depending on whether the top shelf is used.

At full capacity, each shelf holds approximately 30 books. Each bay, then, holds 180-210 books. In order to avoid required hard-hat use, let's stick with 6 shelves and 180 books.
  • 10,000 books will require 56 shelving bays for staging. That equates to 168 linear feet, or 84 feet if units are placed back-to-back in the common shelving configuration. That's more space than most libraries will have available, except possibly in a storage facility.
  • If instead we break the 10,000 books into five more digestible chunks of 2,000 each, the space needs become more manageable: 12 shelving bays, 36 linear feet, or a double-facing row of 18 feet. To give some idea of scale, the shelves pictured to the right will accommodate roughly 1,440 books, if all four bays both back and front are used. 
  • But while smaller sequential batches alleviates the space problem, it also creates five separate review cycles instead of one. Each cycle must be managed, and unless two such spaces can be found, each review cycle must be completed before the next can be started. If the space is in a remote location, it is conceivable that an individual deselector might need to make five separate trips to that facility. This could be known as "breaking their will", but will more likely become "ticking them off."
2. Picking Withdrawal Candidates: "Picking" books is also used in the materials-handling sense--finding the volume and removing it from the shelf--rather than "choosing" it, since that has already been done via our candidate list. Once swing space is available (we'll ignore those costs for the time being), picking (and grinning) can begin. In a recent project conducted in a well-run storage facility with the collection recently inventoried, managers estimated a picking capacity of 500 books/day, using 2 students with light supervision. This includes finding books from a picklist, dealing with missing books and other errors, loading to carts, moving the carts to the swing space, and arranging books in call number order. At 500/day, it would require 20 person-days to move all 10,000 books. Each day's labor would cost $200, at $10/hour for each student, plus some allocation for supervision -- a total of $4,000 to pick the books and stage them for review.

3. Librarian/Faculty Review: This process is very similar to the in-stack review described in the last post, except it is more convenient for the selector--and subsequently for record maintenance and final disposition. The actual review is similar enough to use the same numbers. Selectors can review 250/day. For 10,000 books, that equates to 40 selector-days. Selector days cost $280 each at the median rate of $35/hour. Total for selector review: $11,200. The total cost for staged review:
  • $4,000 for picking
  • $11,200 for deselection decisions
  • $15,200 total
  • $1.52/volume

Additional considerations which apply to both in-stacks and staged review:
  • Review space will need to be equipped with a workstation, wireless access, or mobile capability to facilitate look-up of some titles.
  • Review "windows" will need to be enforced, especially if the process is broken into multiple parts. Vacations and schedule conflicts might force longer review periods. 
  • A default decision should be applied to all unreviewed titles after the specified date.
Selector review--A Rough Comparison:  Remember, the costs here include only selector review. The books are still sitting on a shelf.  We have not yet integrated the previously calculated project management and data comparison costs. We'll save that for the grand total!
  • Review from list: $.56/volume
  • Review in stacks: $1.28/volume
  • Staged review: $1.52/volume
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