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Collection Management Policy

The thinking behind what we purchase and how we look after resources for the library.


The collection management policy is a statement of the Department of Library Services' policy on the purchase, management and withdrawal of stock and on enabling access to information via electronic and document delivery services. Its aims are:

  • To assist in the systematic planning of paper-based and electronic resource collections;
  • To manage the transition to wider provision of electronic resources;
  • To provide a basis for liaison with faculties on collection development.

Overall Policy

Librarians will acquire, manage and withdraw materials in order to maintain the balance and quality of the collections. Where there are conflicting demands and resource limitations, decisions will be informed by measured and predicted use of materials. Priorities will be determined by current and known future academic commitments that have been specified in the University's Academic Strategic and Faculty Academic Plans and the Department's Faculty Collection Development Policies.

Librarians aim to:

  • provide, or enable access to, materials which meet the information needs of all students and staff;
  • prioritise for purchase resources for undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses;
  • support research through a mixture of holdings and alternative methods of enabling access to resources;
  • deliver information to users in the most cost effective and appropriate format;
  • maximise the use of electronic services to support users on and off campus;
  • promote access to and the best use of resources.

As long as it is legal, no material will be excluded from selection, or withdrawn from stock solely on the basis of an author's ethnic origin, nationality, religion, gender or opinions, nor because of partisan or doctrinal pressure.

Selection and Management of the Collections

The Department of Library Services is responsible for the development and management of the collections. Subject Librarians and other staff work with faculties to determine priorities in line with this policy. Books and other materials will normally be selected for purchase by subject librarians in liaison with academic staff.

Reading list items

Within budgetary constraints Subject Librarians will normally make available at least one copy of items on reading lists where these are currently in print. Additional copies may be purchased depending on:

  • whether the book has been identified as essential or background reading;
  • the number of students on the course;
  • the number of modules for which the book is a recommended text;
  • the pattern of past usage of the book.

Subject Librarians will particularly seek to purchase e-books to increase core textbook provision and to support to support flexible modes of learning and teaching as well as remote access.

Reasonable measures will be undertaken to obtain out of print material.

Short Loan

Our short-loan collections are designed to maximise student access to resources likely to be in high demand and academic staff may indicate on reading lists items which they would like to be made available on short-loan. These should be kept to a minimum and include core resources only. The content of short-loan collections is reviewed annually to ensure currency and relevance.

The growth in electronic provision of core texts may, over time, reduce the number of items required to be held in a short loan collection. Offprints are listed on the catalogue and increasingly will be made available to students in electronic format, funding and copyright permitting, where this is the most effective means of providing access to an article or chapter.

Other materials

To support taught courses and to ensure a balanced collection Subject Librarians will also purchase materials which are not on reading lists:

  • to encourage use of a wider range of materials;
  • to support cross-disciplinary modules;
  • to provide general materials e.g. reference works;
  • to support of academic literacy including English language;
  • to develop subject collections and fill gaps in coverage;
  • to assist staff in keeping pace with developments in the subjects they teach.


Print and online access to a range of UK newspapers is provided to support current affairs interests and the overall information needs of the University. Overseas and historical newspapers are only acquired where they support taught programmes. An Assistant Librarian monitors provision in this area.

Special Collections

A Special Collections area will be established in the Kimberlin Library in summer 2010. This will contain items, identified by Subject Librarians or the Archivist, which have been deemed unique, rare, valuable or vulnerable. Any new collections will be considered on their merit, and subject to the space available. Completion of the Deposit Request Form is a prerequisite for collections being considered for addition to the library collections.

Prior to the establishment of the above, items identified as costly, rare or significant, explicit or vulnerable have been located in the Library Stack, Glass Cabinets or the Store. Those items in these locations which are rare, or of high value or significance will be added to the Special Collection or remain in the stack.

Acquisition and Access

The Department of Library Services' e-strategy recognises the benefit to users of the increasing availability of electronic resources, facilitating 24/7 access to information, on and off the university campuses. In future years it is anticipated that electronic provision will be dominant, although the speed of progress will vary between different disciplines.

In consultation with users and using criteria set out in this document, Librarians will determine the optimum method of access to information resources. Access may mean:

  • purchase of, or subscription to, physical materials in a variety of formats;
  • purchase of, or subscription to, electronic information resources;
  • delivery of documents via inter-library loan.

Some physical materials which are accessed only infrequently may be held in off-campus storage.

Taking account of differing requirements between disciplines, Librarians will seek to replace print with electronic-only journal subscriptions. The Department of Library Services will also invest in other electronic resources including abstracting and indexing databases, e-books, marketing reports, official and legal publications, statistical and image databases.

Damaged stock will be repaired or replaced, following an assessment of the more cost-effective option. Lost stock will normally be replaced, subject to its availability. When stock is lost or damaged while in the possession of a library user, the cost involved will be recovered as outlined in the Library Regulations.


Subject Librarians will liaise with academic staff on a regular basis to review a core list of journal subscriptions to support courses and, as budgets permit, the University's research priorities. Some print journal subscriptions still include free electronic access, but increasingly publishers have different prices for print and electronic subscriptions. It is the policy of the Department of Library Services to make these available in electronic form if this is cheaper than a print subscription, although this will vary to accommodate specific needs of some disciplines as set out in their faculty collection development policies.

In reaching decisions they will take into account:

  • The available budget, including the impact of increasing costs on ongoing commitments;
  • The relevance of journal contents to student assignments and coursework;
  • The journal's usefulness to academic staff for course development and keeping pace with advances in their subject areas;
  • The availability of the journal at other sites or in libraries with which De Montfort University Library has interlending agreements;
  • The relative costs of purchase/storage and document delivery.

Conservation of journals

Journals may be stored in print or microfiche/microfilm formats, or may be made available only in electronic form.

Some journals will be selected for binding, based on the following criteria:

  • Level of use;
  • Subscription cost and continuity;
  • Vulnerability to theft and mutilation;
  • Availability in electronic form;
  • Deterioration of covers and binding.

The Department is developing a digital archive of articles published in electronic journals, using the LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe) initiative.

Bibliographic Services

Access to bibliographic sources will be provided, covering all subject areas taught in the university. Most of these will be in electronic format and will include:

  • the library catalogue (OPAC);
  • catalogues of other libraries throughout the world;
  • full text sources with electronic searching facilities;
  • databanks and image databases;
  • indexing and abstracting services;
  • publications/catalogues necessary for the functioning of library services e.g. acquisitions and document supply.


The Department welcomes the gift of academic texts produced by university staff. Subject Librarians will accept donations which support teaching and research in academic subject areas, subject to prior consultation.

Completion of the Deposit Request Form is a prerequisite for collections being considered for addition to the library collections. Where donations of entire collections are accepted, there can be no guarantee that these will be kept intact.

Donations will be expected to meet the criteria set out in the Collection Development Policy and will be subject to the same criteria for withdrawal as other stock.

Stock Editing and Withdrawals

Stock will be considered for withdrawal when:

  • old editions are superseded by new ones;
  • there has been a marked decline in usage;
  • the text is seriously out of date;
  • it is in poor physical condition (see 3 above on repair and replacement of stock);
  • it covers subjects no longer taught or researched anywhere in the university;
  • the series of which it forms a part has ceased publication or has been cancelled.

The Policy on the retention and withdrawal of Library stock provides more detailed guidelines on the above criteria.

Procedures for withdrawal

As appropriate, Subject Librarians will liaise with academic staff to review items for withdrawal. Once items have been identified for withdrawal, subject librarians will liaise with Bibliographic Services staff with regard to the removal of bibliographic information from the catalogue, and with the physical removal of stock from the library. Academic staff will be notified in advance when a major review of stock is planned. Withdrawn stock may be transferred to other sites, sold or otherwise disposed of.

Policy review

This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis. Suggestions from users for amendments to this policy should be submitted in the first instance to the appropriate Subject Librarian.

This policy has been equality impact assessed.

May 2010