Barbara Opar and Barret Havens, column editors
Written by Barbara Opar

Care about which architecture periodicals your library receives? Want to have your say as to which major journals in the field are available to your students? Then please take a few minutes to weigh in on the latest revision of the core periodicals list proposed by the Association of Architecture School Librarians. AASL and your school can benefit by you completing the survey

AASL considers part of its mission to be the creation of best practices for architecture librarianship. At the heart of this concern is the documentation of key resources in the discipline known by AASL as core lists. Core lists enable the new librarian or school administrator to better understand the nature of architectural literature. These lists can also inform students entering the field and serve as guides along the way as they navigate the myriad resources available or as they seek to establish their own private collections. In addition, core lists help academic librarians to assist architecture schools with meeting accreditation standards; librarians use these lists to demonstrate to accreditors that their collection development decisions take into account the collective wisdom of their profession and that their libraries have made the most crucial periodicals available to students and faculty.

To this end, AASL has created two such lists. The recently vetted Core Reference List  outlines major reference works by topic including dictionaries, surveys, bibliographies, building codes and technical standards. The AASL Core List of Periodicals was first developed in 1995 and has been updated occasionally to keep it current. The need for a core list was first suggested by Pat Weisenburger (Kansas State University) at an annual meeting of AASL. She proposed a list of titles “without which we cannot operate.” She and others have held fast to that principle as, over successive years, members of the group have debated which publications to include. As new members saw the list for the first time they too have suggested and advocated for additional titles. Since the list was created, a number of AASL working groups have tried to create a methodology for the selection of titles. Jeanne Brown of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Judy Connorton of The City College of New York spearheaded that work. Updates to the list occurred in 1998 and 2002. The list was again revised in 2009.

One of the chief issues facing each of the working groups is the varying nature of architecture schools. Because the schools that have been surveyed during the process of creating and revising the list have included a range of programs, from the undergraduate to the PhD levels, at times, a consensus has been difficult to achieve. For this reason, in addition to the main core list, an optional but highly recommended “supplementary” list has been added. This model has enabled members to refine their selections to meet the needs of their programs and school’s focus. As more schools have embraced a global approach, more foreign language titles have been added and certain titles have shifted from supplementary to core.

AASL members agreed in 2014 that it was time for yet another revision to the list and again a small working group took on the task and completed a draft.  AASL members have been sent a survey related to this draft to collect their feedback. We are now asking faculty in architecture and related disciplines to complete the same survey in order to gain their insight. Please take a few minutes to vote in order to help AASL create a core list that will benefit all of us. The survey will remain open through May 31.