Collection Development Policy
University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
Collection Development Policy
I. Our Research Mission
The UMass Amherst Libraries mission is to support the teaching and research efforts of the university. Communication between library liaisons and faculty to identify materials to support research and programmatic needs is central to acquiring resources that faculty and students need.
This policy provides a framework for the underlying principles and guidelines in the selection, acquisition, evaluation, and maintenance of library resources. It also helps to communicate the Libraries’ policies concerning goals and methods to faculty, students, staff and users. As academic programs, information needs, and technology change, the Libraries remain committed to meeting new information demands.
II. Balancing the Collections
Until the last decade of the twentieth century, academic library collections primarily comprised print materials. The advent of electronic resources and the rising demand for access to them has shifted the focus of library collections. However, the basic goal remains: to provide the UMass Amherst community with the resources it needs to pursue academic excellence. The Libraries’ collection development program has always strived to provide information in the most appropriate formats. When scholarly materials are available in multiple formats, the Libraries will normally acquire the material in only one format to efficiently steward the University’s resources. There are instances, however, when having resources available in more than one format allows us to make the material accessible to library users when and where they need it.
III. Access Versus Ownership
Understanding that no one library can acquire materials to satisfy all of the needs of its users, the UMass Amherst Libraries are committed to providing access to materials we do not own through resource sharing and cooperative collection development agreements with other libraries. Integrating access to resources that are not part of the Libraries’ collection is a necessity and provides the university community with access to a wider range of materials than the Libraries could ever hope to provide within our materials budget.The UMass Amherst Libraries goal is to continue to integrate an approach to materials that includes a balance of traditional, locally owned materials along with access to materials that are not owned. Cost-efficient and best practice models will be incorporated into the decision-making process regarding access to information in all formats.
IV. Collection Development Guideline
The Libraries adhere to the guidelines below:
Develop high quality, relevant and balanced collections to support and strengthen teaching and research.
Implement collection management policies to build and maintain print, electronic, and media resources to support information needs of the University.
Provide leadership in a team-based environment to plan, manage, and formulate policies, and to prioritize resources to develop balanced collections that meet new demands and evolving technologies.
Communicate with faculty to build on existing collection strengths where those align with current research and curricular needs and to develop awareness of new and evolving areas of scholarship.
Expand access to information through resource sharing and other cooperative agreements with libraries locally, regionally, nationally, and worldwide.
Share with faculty how they can make a difference with new scholarly communication models.
V. General Criteria
The following criteria apply to all materials. Particular criterion may assume greater or lesser importance depending on the type of materials under consideration or the subject matter covered.
- Curriculum and research need.
- Scope and content – comprehensiveness and depth of coverage.
- Scholarly value.
- Currency and timeliness.
- Computer books, especially computer manuals, published 4 years or before are not selected or purchased.
- Selection of older editions would only occur with valid reasons.
- Relevance to existing collections.
- Physical quality and/or special features.
- Availability of materials through Interlibrary Loan or document delivery.
- Inclusion in major indexing and abstracting tools or professional organization indexes.
- User-friendly search interface.
- Suitable for use on available hardware and platforms.
- Consistently reliable response time and overall technical performance.
- Cost – the purchase price as well as any on-going expense of maintaining access. Excessive cost may limit access.
- Mode of access available from the vendor (e.g., Internet, LAN, single workstation)
- Size of the potential audience
VI. Resources Collected
The UMass Amherst Libraries collect all manner of formats and materials which support the University’s teaching and research. These materials may be physical (e.g., books, paper journals, microforms, maps, pamphlets, and music or video recordings) or digital (e.g., online access to citation and full-text databases, e-books, spoken-word, music or moving images).
VII. Resources Not Collected
The UMass Amherst Libraries do not collect materials in certain categories. These include but are not limited to: classroom texts, large-print books, or individual software packages. Ephemera are not acquired for the general circulating collection.
Material in outdated formats (e.g., Betamax tapes, floppy disks) is generally not collected. In limited cases, notably in conjunction with faculty requests, materials are accepted or purchased which require external support not provided by the library (PAL-system audio visual materials, for example).
VIII. Collection Maintenance and Evaluation
The collections of the UMass Amherst Libraries, in addition to their intellectual and aesthetic value, represent a substantial economic investment. The responsibility to build research collections carries with it the obligation to ensure that these collections are permanently accessible. The Libraries are committed to the retention, preservation, and long-term access of the collections they hold in perpetuity, regardless of format.
Active participation and leadership in preserving the Libraries’ collections is the responsibility of Library staff. Decisions on preservation of damaged materials and replacement of lost, stolen or damaged materials are based on use and condition of the materials, availability of the information in the same or other formats, and within the overall context of the Libraries’ Collection Development Policy, balancing the constraints of cost, historical and aesthetic and scholarly value, and user accessibility.
Preservation of library material is accomplished through storage of materials in proper conditions, through careful handling and housing, through use of security systems designed to eliminate mutilation and theft, through commercial binding and rebinding, through commercial microfilming, through refreshment and migration of electronic files, and through repair or replacement of damaged materials. The Libraries’ disaster response plan is reviewed and updated annually and a team of library personnel is trained for disaster response and salvage.
Materials of unique aesthetic or historical value should be preserved in their original form. Where costs, deterioration, or damage prevent the preservation of materials, attempts will be made to replace items valuable to the collection in reprinted editions or alternative formats. Continuing access to electronic titles cannot be guaranteed once the format in which they are published becomes technically obsolete. However, the Libraries support and participate in digital preservation research programs in order to address this issue in the longer term.
B. Deselection (Weeding)
Weeding is an integral part of the collection development process. Weeding helps keep the collection up-to-date by removing older editions, so there is room for newer materials that ensure the collection remains responsive to user needs and to optimize the use of space. The following factors are generally considered in the weeding of library materials:1. Retention
- Past usage data
- Value for historical research
- Last copy with archival value
- Multiple copies of older editions
- Superseded volumes of reference works
- Physical condition
Decisions to purchase multiple copies are based on heavy demand, either present or anticipated, due to class assignments, course reserves, status of a title or author, or high circulation of a title.
Library liaisons are responsible for making decisions regarding replacement of lost, damaged, missing, or worn-out Library monographs as funds permit. It is the responsibility of the appropriate subject selector to decide, within the guidelines of this policy, whether to replace a specific monograph or purchase a comparable one, and in what format.
Replacement is always preferred over rebinding for inexpensive in-print titles. Current editions are preferred over previous ones, unless the earlier edition has special distinguishing characteristics. It is usually desirable to replace monographs or serials in their same format; however, electronic or microform versions should be considered for extensive serial replacements.
Staff will identify lost, damaged, missing, or worn-out serials and notify Acquisitions. Decisions to replace annual, biennial, and irregular serials will be handled according to criteria set forth in this policy. The following serial items will not be replaced:
- Newspapers or newsletters unless a special need exists;
- Titles that are not retained permanently;
- Titles that are not indexed;
- Titles routinely replaced by microfilm.
E. Withdrawal of Materials
An item is discarded if it is worn, mutilated, or defective, and/or a decision has been made not to retain it.
F. Lost or Missing Materials
An item is declared officially lost and entered into circulation records as such after it has been reported lost by a borrower or presumed lost by the library. If a lost item is returned or a missing item is located after its records have been withdrawn, a decision concerning its addition to the collection will be made by the selector within the guidelines of this policy.
The Libraries welcome donations of all types of recorded information which support the university's curricular and research programs. Gift materials, both individual items and collections, can be valuable additions to the Libraries’ collections.
Because of space limitations in our libraries, we encourage donors to consult with library liaisons when planning to donate books and other printed or recorded material. Depending on the number of volumes being offered to the library, the Associate Director for Collection Services may request an on-site evaluation of the collection by the appropriate subject specialist before a determination to accept can be made. Materials that are judged to be more suitable to our special collections are referred to the Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives department.
All offers of gifts receive careful consideration and are evaluated in terms of the collection development goals of the Libraries (see especially sections IV-VI of this policy). Materials appropriate for the collection include: hardbound or good quality paperback scholarly monographs; music compact discs and scores; videos and DVD's. Materials that do not meet the Library’s collection development goals will be disposed of through sale, exchange, donation, or discard.
Upon receipt, donated materials become the property of the Libraries. The decision to add gift materials to the collection will be made by subject specialists, the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, or the Associate Director for Collection Services in consultation with other Library staff as appropriate. In general gifts to which the donor has attached conditions, such as those concerning retention, housing, classification and use, will not be accepted for inclusion in the Library collection. Exceptions may be made for materials, primarily manuscripts and personal papers, which would be appropriately housed in the Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives department.
The Libraries encourage donors to obtain an independent appraisal of their gift's value for income tax purposes. United States Internal Revenue Service regulations prohibit librarians from acting as appraisers of materials given to their institutions. The Libraries will, however, assist in identifying appraisers for this purpose. Interested donors will be referred to the Libraries’ Development Office for information about claiming tax deductions for donated materials. Donors may also wish to consult their personal attorney or tax advisor for further information and legal advice.
With the exception of unsolicited materials, gifts to the Library will be acknowledged in writing. Please refer to the Libraries’ Gift Policy (http://www.library.umass.edu/giftpolicy.html) for further information.
Due to lack of sufficient space, the UMass Amherst Libraries must periodically remove volumes to off-site storage. The following factors are generally considered when moving material to off-site storage:
- The primary criterion is use, which is defined as actual and anticipated use, not just the number of times an item has circulated.
- Language itself is not a valid criterion. All materials, regardless of language, should be selected based on use.
- Date of publication by itself is not a valid criterion.
- Bibliographers and selectors should consider the teaching and research needs of faculty in selecting materials for transfer.
- Availability of the material in another medium, such as electronic or microform, may be an appropriate criterion in some cases.
- How easily the format or size of an item, an oversized book or items other than printed monographs and serials, may be accommodated.
- The availability of online records or other adequate bibliographic access should be considered in selecting materials.
- Bibliographers and selectors should consider the physical condition when reviewing materials. Fragile materials could be damaged by the move to off-site storage and delivery to campus. Conversely, the environmental conditions in off-site storage may be beneficial for other materials that are not housed in optimum conditions.
- The retention of duplicate copies for materials sent to off-site storage should be avoided.
- Staffing, hours of operation, and users being able to consult materials onsite at the off-site storage facility may be factors in the decision to select materials to relocate.
- Errors will be made. Even with the best intentions and effort on the part of the selectors, some selection decisions may result in the assignment of library materials more appropriately shelved on campus. Such assignments will be addressed whenever they are identified.
Approved by SMG January 23, 2008
Reviewed and endorsed by Research Library Council March, 2008
Last Edited: 4 September 2008