E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship


Date of this Version

Winter 2006

Document Type



Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship (Winter 2006) 7(3). Also available at http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v07n03/beals_j01.htm.


Copyright 2006, the author. Used by permission.



The brief test methodology was developed by Howard White as an assessment tool to determine or verify the existing strength of a library collection. The relatively quick and inexpensive procedure utilizes the Research Libraries Group’s Conspectus levels, subject expertise, and cataloging records in WorldCat. In support of the University of Tennessee Libraries’ continuing efforts to encourage resource sharing with Information Alliance partners, I developed a project with art counterparts at the University of Kentucky and Vanderbilt University. Using brief tests, I completed an assessment of each institution’s collection in the subject area of African art. The results enabled us to determine existing collection strengths and designate each institution as the resource library for a specific subject area. This article provides an overview of the methodology, difficulties encountered, brief test results and applications of the assessment.