Acquisitions: Core Concepts and Practices, Second Edition

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  • About the Author
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As a discipline, acquisitions encompasses everything from purchasing and budgeting to enabling access to materials; and every format from books, monographs, and serials to e-books, subscription-based electronic resources, and beyond. In this guide, Holden boils it to down to its essentials while providing a strategic framework that introduces and integrates all aspects of acquisitions. Using a holistic, hands-on approach that's as useful for working librarians as for those studying the profession, this book

  • provides an overview of acquisitions as a library profession, with a discussion of basic competencies, notions of ethics, and the organizing principle of "assemblage";
  • lays out a robust conceptual framework that unifies disparate aspects of acquisitions work and synthesizes its practical aspects;
  • thoroughly examines content acquisitions in all formats, with an in-depth look at digital materials;
  • covers such important trends as the rise of e-books, the ramifications of mobile devices as a mode of content access and interaction, demand-driven  acquisition, and shifting expectations regarding paid-for content;
  • tracks advancements in technology, including the widespread implementation of discovery services for content searching;
  • underscores the responsive service component of acquisitions as informed by user expectations, community feedback, and usage standards such as COUNTER and SUSHI;
  • addresses budgetary issues such as changes in services offered by vendors and subscription agents, and the emergence of a "new normal" for budget constraints and expectations resulting from the recession; and
  • looks ahead to what anticipated changes to acquisitions means for the future

Presenting a model that's both comprehensive and flexible, Holden demonstrates how technical competencies and ethical imperatives can inform the day-to-day workflow of acquisition librarians.

Preface to the Second Edition    

Chapter 1    Acquisitions: An Overview


  • Information Paradigm    
  • What Is a Collection?    
  • What Is Acquisitions?
  • Why Theory?
  • Why Ethics?
  • Applying Ethics
  • Conclusion: A Call for Radicalization

Chapter 2    Assemblages of Access



  • The Information Ecosystem
  • Working with Vendors
  • Orders
  • Strategic Assemblages of Access
  • Conclusion: Strategic Access

Chapter 3    Assemblages of Discovery



  • Discovery
  • Content Objects
  • eBooks as Assemblages
  • Online Ordering
  • Conclusion: Ensuring Connectivity

Chapter 4    Assemblages of Feedback and Service



  • Service Role of Acquisitions
  • Aspects of Service
  • Integrating Assemblages
  • Staffing
  • Technology
  • Content Acquisition Plans
  • Mechanisms of Feedback
  • Conclusion: Cycles of Feedback and Service

Chapter 5    The Acquisitions Assemblage: Putting It All Together



  • Managing Acquisitions
  • Alternate Strategies of Access
  • Archives: Present and Future
  • "Free"—Costs and Considerations
  • Managing eBooks
  • Diminishing Boundaries: The Case of Interlibrary Loan
  • Radical Strategies: Strategic Assemblages

Conclusion: Rhizomatic Acquisitions    

Appendix: Code of Ethics of the American Library Association


Jesse Holden

Jesse Holden is an Account Services Manager for EBSCO Information Services and the former Head of Acquisitions at the University of Southern California. He is an instructor for the ALCTS “Fundamentals of Electronic Resource Acquisitions” online course, a previous instructor for the “Fundamentals of Acquisitions” course, and has been editor of the column “Acquisitions Archaeology” in the journal Against the Grain. He earned his MLIS at San Jose State University.

”The author encourages a radicalization of acquisitions in which delivery of content is multidimensional and user-based, with service as an integral component. VERDICT: A deep dive into library acquisitions recommended for both students and seasoned acquisitions professionals."
— Library Journal

”Suited for library administrators, acquisition librarians, and other library staff considering modification of systems and the potential for internal and external library assemblages. Recommended."

”Anyone learning about, working in, or managing acquisitions will find this text meaningful ... [Holden] succinctly provides a framework to better understand and foster innovation in acquisitions."
— Journal of Hospital Librarianship

”Having had the pleasure of reviewing the first edition about six years ago, I also was quite glad to return for the updated version ... The book remains clear, streamlined, and accessible."
— Technicalities