Collection Development Policy
Quick links: Resources Collected | Selection Criteria for Ebooks | Selection Criteria for Journal Subscriptions | Evaluation Criteria for Electronic Databases | Gifts and Donations | Collection Management
The collection development policy is intended to communicate the library’s collection goals and policies for the collection to the library community. Policies for the primary collection, archives, and special collections are available separately. The library serves the students, professors and staff of a teaching university. The guiding principle of the library’s collection is the support of the academic curriculum. Collection development – providing the best, most relevant information – is part of that mission.
The primary goal of the resources to be collected is to support the curriculum. Other resources may be added to the collection after this goal has been met. The library currently collects electronic copies of books and journals depending upon availability and cost. When possible, the library selects concurrent, multi user licenses for ebooks. Some items may be purchased as single user ebooks due to publisher availability, cost, and currency of the content to meet curricular needs. The resources that the library collects are complementary to the resources used for classroom instruction. Textbooks, instructional non-book media, workbooks, and consumable materials are outside the scope of the library’s collection. The library cannot assume administrative or departmental responsibilities for providing classroom instructional resources for the teaching faculty because such demands would preempt funds meant to develop the library’s collection. Such equipment and resources are most appropriately requested of department chairs, academic dean, or campus administrators.
Selection Criteria for Ebooks
Selection criteria vary across disciplines. Subject-specific criteria can be found in the collection development policy statement by discipline. General considerations for the selection of ebooks include:
- Appropriateness – Should support the curricular needs of the students and faculty
- Level – Should be written primarily for an undergraduate community and additional resources written to support graduate programs
- Currency and accuracy of the information
- Scope and depth of coverage
- Availability of other resources on the subject in the library and in other area libraries
- Suitability of content to form
- Critical Reviews – Choice, Chronicle of Higher Education, Library Journal, and Books in Print among others are consulted when considering new library materials for the collection.
- Language – English will predominate within nearly all areas except where foreign language instruction is part of the curriculum. Resources in languages currently taught at the University will be considered; resources collected in these languages will be at a basic reading level.
Selection Criteria for Journal Subscriptions
As costs associated with journal subscriptions rise every year, all electronic journal subscriptions that are not part of aggregated databases are subject to annual review. A limited number of general interest and popular magazines and newspapers are purchased for recreational reading while in the library. All scholarly journals are provided electronically.
Factors used to determine the selection, continuation, or cancellation of journal titles include:
- Importance of the title to the discipline, as determined by metrics like the number of times a journal is cited and requirements for accreditation
- Relevance of the content to the library’s collection and university’s curriculum
- Accessibility of the content via indexing
- Cost and cost-history of a title
Journals are available electronically through aggregated databases, which is subject to change according to the terms governing the library’s access to the content licenses. Access to some individual journal titles may change depending on the contractual agreements between the publishers and aggregators, thus individual libraries do not always have control over access to some electronic publications. If a journal title becomes unavailable through an aggregated database, the library will consider purchasing online access directly from the publisher. New journal titles are considered ‘on probation’ for a period of two subscription years. At the end of that time the title will be evaluated and either continued or cancelled on the basis of use.
Evaluation Criteria for Electronic Databases
Access to databases may be leased on an individual basis by the library, received as part of state grants or funding, or arranged through a consortial agreement.
Criteria used to determine the library’s licensing, continuation, or cancellation of a database include:
- scope of the library’s collection
- type and method of access to the intellectual content of the database
- reliability and usability of the database’s functionality
- cost to the library for access
- availability of usage statistics for evaluation purposes
Gifts and Donations
Since the primary collection consists of all electronic resources, gifts of physical items are currently not accepted. Gifts of rare or valuable materials or special collections of scholarly importance that are in keeping with the scope of the library’s special collections are welcomed. If physical items are appropriate for donation to the University Archives and Special Collections, please consult with the archivist. The archives donation policy can be found here.The acceptance of such special gifts is at the discretion of the archivist and the library director.
Gifts of money to be used for the purchase of library resources are welcomed. Donors considering such gifts should consult with the library director.
As a small college library, it is not part of our mission to keep resources in perpetuity. Instead, we support current curriculum and limited research needs. As part of this mission, the library staff engages in collection management. This includes the withdrawal of outdated or infrequently used resources, and the addition of additional copies or expanded licensing of highly-used resources.
General Criteria for De-Selection
In order to maintain a relevant and useful collection, resources will be reviewed annually for possible withdrawal from the collection. If an item is 20 years old or older and has not been used in the past 5 years, it may be removed from the collection unless a compelling reason to keep it is presented. Additionally, items may be removed from the collection for one or more of the following reasons:
Titles outside the collecting scope of the library
Titles no longer relevant to current curricular or research needs and therefore not within the scope of the library’s current collection development policies may be removed from the collections or (in the case of subscriptions) canceled.
Copies or editions of titles may be deselected to minimize redundancy of holdings. Individual titles containing information found elsewhere in the collection may also be deselected for this purpose.
Considerations for Journals
Incomplete and short runs of a title will be withdrawn, unless the title is received currently. A title may also be withdrawn if its low use warrants it, even with a current subscription. Factors to consider prior to withdrawal include sources of online access (publisher or database vendor), perpetuity rights, and/or extent of online holdings. Access via database vendor alone does not ensure access.
Review Process for Items Proposed for De-Selection
Except for resources superseded by later editions, all items chosen for deselection will be reviewed by library staff and the relevant faculty members. Lists of resources identified for possible removal from the collection will be made available electronically to the faculty. Faculty and staff will be asked to comment within a set period of time on the items chosen for deselection. The Collection Management Librarian will compile the responses and make final decisions on the disposition of items.