Establishing the Impact of Area Studies Collections and Exploring Opportunities for Collaborative Collecting

Mara L. Thacker, Thomas H. Teper, Joseph Lenkart, Esra Coskun


This study examines the use of area studies materials by assessing five years of Interlibrary Loan (ILL) lending data and local circulation data from a single research library. It seeks to lay groundwork for future explorations into the implementation of a robust cooperative collection development model for area studies at the national level, with analysis demonstrating that existing ILL programs support scholars from research institutions far beyond their owning institution. They can do so with minimal adverse impact on the local community of scholars at a typical top-tier research library. This case study also investigates the similarities and differences between lending patterns of Less Commonly Taught Language (LCTL) materials and non-domestic area studies titles that are authored in commonly taught languages. The authors conclude with an argument that communities of institutions could develop highly structured cooperative collection building efforts in the area studies that would permit them to redirect resources strategically, collecting area studies materials both more deeply across the community and with a greater emphasis on primary source materials.


area studies, interlibrary loan, assessment, collection development

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