Understanding the Nature of Design and Its Implications for Design Collection Development

Understanding the Nature of Design and Its Implications for Design Collection Development

Amauri R. Serrano (Appalachian State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1897-8.ch005
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This chapter is meant as an overview of collection development for design disciplines in higher education including selection, planning and assessment, budgetary issues, and marketing the collection. It addresses the specific challenges of design collection development to meet the technical, theoretical, and research components of the design curriculum. These challenges include its cross-disciplinarity, transition within the fields from technical know-how to whole system thinking, the selection of trade and academic materials, and format and access issues.
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Design Collection Development And The Library Literature

Much of the collection development literature focuses on art history, architecture, and the fine arts. There is very little written specifically on design. Even the recent publication, The Handbook of Art and Design Librarianship (Gluibizzi & Glassman, 2010) does not effectively deal with issues in design collection development. It consists of a collection of essays useful for some aspects of design collection development, in particular Tomlin’s (2010) chapter on transformations in scholarly communication in art librarianship and King’s (2010) chapter on collection management. However, it does not address the professional and technical components of the design curriculum. Information Sources in Art, Art History and Design (Ford, 2001) attempts to bring together both art and design resources and issues, but chapters cover broad topics like collection development, cataloging and classification, and general reference sources that fail to address design specifically. The publication The Art Librarian (Wilson, 2003) also treats art and design librarianship as basically the same. Although there are commonalities between art and design disciplines, they are also fundamentally different. The purpose of design is utilitarian and is meant to serve the client’s interests, whereas art subordinates usefulness for the sake of its own purposes in that aesthetics supersedes function. This differentiation is important for the collection, because it means that design students and faculty are interested in a host of technical, professional, and research materials that are alien to art research. Creating a product for a market means that designers, unlike artists, must take into account a variety of factors such as: federal and state government requirements, business and marketing practices, or technology.

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