SPEC surveys gather information from ARL member institutions on current research library practices and policies. SPEC Kits combine the survey results and documentation from ARL member institutions to provide resource guides for libraries as they face ever-changing management problems. These guides help libraries learn about current practice in research libraries, implement new practices and technologies, manage change, and improve performance. SPEC Kits comprise four key elements:
- Executive Summary (approximately 1,500 words)
- Survey Results (including a list of responding institutions)
- Supporting Documentation (from the responding institutions)
- Selected Resources (including books, journal articles, and websites)
Librarians work with ARL staff to design the survey, evaluate the responses, write the analysis, and edit the components of the SPEC Kit. Originally established as an information resource for ARL member libraries, the SPEC Kit series has grown to serve the needs of the library community worldwide.
SPEC Kits are available in print form by subscription or by individual title. The annual print subscription rate in 2012 is $225 for ARL member institutions and $300 for nonmembers. The subscription rate includes shipping and handling charges. (Additional postage may be required outside North America.) Individual titles are $35 for ARL members and $45 for nonmembers plus shipping and handling.
SPEC Kits from 2006 to the present (SPEC Kit 292 --) are available in ARL Digital Publications. You may download PDFs of the frontmatter, table of contents, and executive summary of any SPEC Kit for free. You may purchase perpetual online access to a single SPEC Kit ($50.00) or online access to the complete SPEC Kit Collection for one calendar year ($300 for ARL member institutions and $400 for nonmembers). IP access is offered to institutional subscribers.
Beginning with SPEC Kit 200, executive summaries are available at no charge online at http://www.arl.org/resources/pubs/spec/complete.shtml.
Online versions of SPEC Kits from 1973 through 2005 (SPEC Kit 1 - 291) are available through the HathiTrust.