Geospatial data collection development policies’ characteristics
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In days of global economic distress, libraries implementing a GIS service, must ensure that users will be able to make the greatest possible use of its capabilities and functions. Based on the above framework, the goal of this study is to broadly explore the collection development policies of libraries with geographical collections and GIS services worldwide, outlining the main characteristics of the geospatial collection policies and providing some examples of how these characteristics are reflected in available to users, services. The research questions formed in this context are: 1) What are the main features of geospatial collection development policies? 2) Do geospatial collection development policies include features that reflect the adjustment of libraries to the rapid growth of open geospatial data? 3) Do the existence geospatial collection policies reflect the adjustment of libraries to limited financial means the last few years? To achieve this, we relied on a survey we undertook from May to August 2011 and in which we searched websites of academic libraries in Universities which inter alia operate those departments whose curricula are based in the use of geospatial information and GIS. Out of 331 academic libraries investigated worldwide, 136 libraries were detected with GIS services as indicated on their websites. Out of these, only 24 worldwide had on their website information regarding geospatial collection development policies. Thus, we focused our research on policies provided by these 24 libraries on their websites, listed the characteristics mentioned by each of these policies and group them together so to isolate what was common to all and highlight those referred to specific cases. Our survey revealed that many libraries include geospatial data to the same written policies as those of map collections while other university libraries facing geospatial data as a unique collection.Information relating to format, metadata, and originality are some of those that have been included in many libraries’ policies and are related to the specification of the open data that will be incorporated into the local collection. Libraries seem to participate in collaborative schemes to proceed to advantageous agreements. Given the increasing demand for GIS services and collections in libraries, librarians should use every outreach tool available to reach potential audiences, and the collection development policy is one of this.