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Accessing Engineering Standards: A Study in ARL Best Practices for Acquiring and Disseminating Standards

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

TS3: Working with Students

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

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Paper Authors


Denise Amanda Wetzel Florida A&M University - Florida State University Orcid 16x16

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Denise A. Wetzel joined Florida State University Libraries in January 2018. She holds a B.H. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Pennsylvania State University and a Masters in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama. Currently, Denise is pursuing a Masters in Aquatic Environmental Science with Florida State University’s Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science. She is a member of Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the American Society of Engineering Education/Engineering Libraries Division (ELD), the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers/SAIL, and the American Library Association (ALA). Before joining FSU, Denise worked for Mississippi State University Libraries, the Alabama Public Library Service, and as an ESL teacher. Her research interests include undergraduate information literacy, patent searching in STEM, terminology usage disparities by researchers across STEM disciplines, and Standards Access.

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Kelly Grove Florida A&M University - Florida State University Orcid 16x16

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Kelly Grove has been with Florida State University Libraries since January 2017. She serves as a subject librarian for multiple departments and colleges at FSU. She holds a B.S. in Geology from the University of Idaho and a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Alabama. Kelly is currently pursuing a Masters in Geographic Information Science from Florida State University. Her research interests include STEM information literacy, information literacy, the cost of doing research, academic librarians and meeting the needs of students on the Autism Spectrum, and open educational resources (OER).

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Jake Adam Flaks Florida State University

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A junior at Florida State University majoring in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences.

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Engineering Standards are seemingly the bane of every engineering librarian's existence. Sometimes it feels like they give collection development a bad name. Librarians want them, researchers want them, students want them, but they are hard to acquire and can cost a fortune. Especially when an institution doesn’t have a specific policy for them. Given these (and other) headaches surrounding Standards, librarians at [redacted] decided to conduct a study of how Association of Research Libraries (ARL) are accessing their standards. Through a mixed-methods approach, the study sought to understand how and why standards are requested, obtained, and accessed for use by Engineering Researchers (faculty, postdocs, students, and staff) at various institutions. The secondary objective of the study was to help [redacted] Libraries develop a Standards acquisition policy as part of their collection development duties.

This study began with the creation of a spreadsheet of academic ARL Libraries and identifying those with Engineering programs and their librarians. The authors explored institutional websites to ascertain if they supported any type of engineering program, only using freely available public information. The [redacted] Institutional Review Board approved this study, with the ID: [redacted], prior to the distribution of a targeted emailed Qualtrics Survey to the identified librarians. Over the course of one month, two emails were sent asking librarians to complete the Qualtrics survey. While emails were targeted, collected responses were anonymized. After the survey closed, the authors did an additional perusal of the collected responses and de-identify any content that may be considered to be identifying information such as school names or acronyms. With a response rate of just over 33%, the variances in responses felt beneficial enough for the authors to extrapolate meaningful analyses of collected responses. Data collected from the survey was analyzed using NVivo, a text analysis software used for identifying trends in qualitative data.

In this paper, the authors share a discussion on the literature review conducted on Standards collection development. There is a focus on STEM and/or engineering libraries for this section. While also discussing the methods for the study itself, the paper evaluates trends and results. The paper concludes with potential next steps in crafting a Standards collection policy and ideas for further Standards acquisition research needs.

Wetzel, D. A., & Grove, K., & Flaks, J. A. (2021, July), Accessing Engineering Standards: A Study in ARL Best Practices for Acquiring and Disseminating Standards Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36638

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