University College London

Deliver more study space and benchmark library stock

Students in a UCL library space

“The unique capabilities of GreenGlass make library collection decision making much easier. We’ve been able to identify areas of strength, improve data quality, and deselect stock across our collections very efficiently. This puts us in a strong position to collaborate on future collective collection initiatives as they emerge to transform our library spaces.”

Rozz Evans
Head of Collection Strategy

Faced with a growing number of students dissatisfied over the amount of study space, library staff at University College London (UCL) recognized that maintaining print collections at their existing levels was becoming untenable. In response, UCL assigned Rozz Evans, Head of Collection Strategy, to deliver a collection strategy covering all 18 libraries. “We wanted to develop a strategic approach to managing our collections as a whole, rather than maintain the differing silos and practices that had evolved over time,” she said.

“I started by identifying a number of risk-free measures we could take, such as de-duplicating and rationalizing editions,” Rozz explained. However, she struggled to get the reports she needed from UCL’s library management system. “Our digital library team could run the reports on request, but we had to combine multiple reports to identify resource overlaps,” she said.

Rozz discovered that GreenGlass® could help her better evaluate the collections through circulation data, helpful visualization and analysis tools, robust matching and comparison capabilities for collaborative work, and logins for all the library staff who need it. She worked with OCLC to implement GreenGlass. “The communication was brilliant,” she said. “They were really organized. We had one central coordinator, who liaised with the technical team on our behalf and ran webinars to get our team going. And the training was really good.”

“GreenGlass brought the data together so I could develop the collection management strategy based on evidence and then look at the best ways of delivering it.”

GreenGlass gave Rozz the data-driven evidence she needed to develop UCL’s long-term collection strategy. UCL then embarked on a large-scale deselection exercise at its off-site storage facility and identified 72,191 duplicate items out of the 488,192 holdings, which freed up valuable space. Extra space in the storage facility has given the library the room it needed to deprioritize other print collections and create more study space in the libraries. UCL also makes significant use of GreenGlass for day-to-day collection work. It supports routine weeding across the service, and staff can easily run their own reports.

So valuable was this data-driven approach that UCL decided on a second data upload of GreenGlass. “We wanted to continue to use it as a management tool on a specific project to rationalize a number of existing dispersed library collections,” Rozz said. But they also wanted to continue to support routine weeding across the library system and “to prepare to participate in national initiatives in collaborative collection management.”

Now, GreenGlass helps UCL analyze collections and improve data quality before the library embarks on future collaborative initiatives that build on the successes of the UK Research Reserve. “Like other libraries, we need to work on our own collections before engaging with national collective collection projects using the group-based functionality of GreenGlass,” Rozz said.

Rozz is confident that data-driven deselection will reassure students and academic faculty as stock disappears from the open shelves. “Trust is key—and robust evidence really helps,” she said. “GreenGlass gives us an opportunity to dig into the data, and comparator groups will give us a clear picture of holdings elsewhere. And I can’t rate highly enough the support we get from OCLC.”

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Library at a glance

  • Supports a world-leading research institution that has more than 13,000 staff and 38,000 students from 150 different countries
  • Offers 18 libraries and learning spaces in London supporting learning, teaching, and research across the institution
  • Dating back to 1827, covers a wide range of specialist subjects,

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