Collection Policies

This document guides the acquisition and retention of materials and resources by the University Libraries, whether by purchase or gift. It is intended to align library collecting priorities with the University's mission and its curricular and research priorities. It also serves to guide the Libraries' resource sharing and cooperative collection development initiatives.

Collecting Priorities

The Libraries highest priority is supporting the University curriculum through print and electronic collections. Other priorities include support of student and faculty research, and, to a lesser degree, leisure reading. To some degree the Libraries also support general information resources. Some research and non-curricular needs may be met through OhioLINK borrowing, document delivery, or interlibrary loan.

Special collections, which are currently supported largely through gifts, support narrowly-focused specialized research needs at the doctoral level that are closely allied to the University's mission and identity. Exceptions to established collection parameters for special collections will be made only in consultation with Advancement and with the approval of the Dean of University Libraries.



Building and maintaining library collections is a cooperative venture between librarians and teaching departments. A librarian is assigned as subject selector for each area and works closely with the relevant department(s) to develop collecting parameters that meet the needs of the current programs and, to the extent possible, faculty research. Likewise, each academic department designates a liaison as the Library's primary contact for the department.

The Libraries also work within the context of a statewide collection (OhioLINK). Local collection decisions are informed by this broader context to provide needed resources in the most cost-effective manner. Collection management librarians participate in broader decision-making through OhioLINK standing committees; subject selectors work through the OhioLINK subject interest groups to coordinate their efforts with other OhioLINK libraries.


Overall Collection Parameters


The University Libraries do not normally duplicate materials. Additional copies of books, DVDs, etc. may be added when use justifies doing so. Materials are generally acquired in only one format, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. See below for format-specific preferences and exceptions.

In addition, the Libraries are committed to cooperative collection development through OhioLINK. If 5-8 copies are already held in Ohio, subject selectors should ascertain that there is a genuine need for a locally-held copy before adding a copy.


The University Libraries collect materials needed to support the curriculum in any format, provided that any equipment needed to use it is readily available. Preferred formats:

      Books: While printed books remain the norm, the Libraries are increasingly acquiring e-books. E-book is becoming the preferred format for reference materials and technical manuals, while print remains the normal format for most monographs. When fewer than 3 print copies are held by OhioLINK libraries, print duplication of e-books is at the discretion of the subject selectors.

      Journals: Electronic is normally preferred, if IP authentication and reasonable provision for archival access are provided. Print may be preferred for reasons of cost, archival access, or unique features (e.g., higher quality illustrations, content not available in online version). The Libraries will not normally duplicate print and electronic journal content.

      Indexes & Abstracts: Electronic is normally preferred, if IP authentication is available. Print may be preferred for reasons of cost or when acceptable licensing terms are not available. The Libraries will not duplicate formats for indexes and abstracts, although older printed volumes not covered by the electronic versions are normally retained.

      Databases: Databases include text, datasets, images, and/or sound. IP access is normally required. One-time purchases with archival rights are preferred; subscription when it is the only or most cost-effective option.

      Video: Digital video or DVDs are preferred. Duplication of digital video by DVDs is at the discretion of subject selectors, based on needs of students and faculty. When available, subject selectors should also consider acquiring statewide digital rights through OhioLINK as part of the purchase of DVDs.

      Audio: Digital audio or CDs are the preferred formats.

      Microforms: Microforms are acquired when they are the most cost-effective means of preservation or of filling in back-files. When possible, electronic or print editions are preferred.

      Internet Resources/Web Sites: Freely available resources, such as Web sites, open access journals, etc. may be added to the collection at the discretion of the subject selectors. Criteria for adding these to the Library catalog or Web pages include: stability, quality, currency and relevance to the curriculum and/or research needs of students and faculty.

      Other Formats: Other formats such as software and artifacts may be acquired as needed to support the curriculum. Licensing requirements and access, storage, and preservation issues should be considered in deciding to purchase such materials.

The Libraries do not collect textbooks, although exceptions, when appropriate, may be made at the discretion of subject selectors.

      Language: The University Libraries primarily collect English-language materials. They do collect works in other languages on a limited basis to support language study, to support doctoral research, and to provide primary sources in the original languages as needed to support the curriculum.


Collecting Levels

     0 Out of scope: not collected

     G General information: limited selection of reference and general works.

     U Undergraduate: materials sufficient to support undergraduate degree programs

     PM Professional Master's: materials sufficient to support professional master's level degree programs (e.g., MBA, MPA, MS in education)

     M Master's: materials sufficient to support master's programs with strong research emphasis and/or thesis requirement (e.g., MA. in English or Religious Studies).

     PD Professional doctorate: materials sufficient to support doctoral work in clinical/practice-oriented programs (e.g., DPT, PhD in Educational Leadership).

     D PhD materials sufficient to support research-oriented doctoral programs that require dissertations (e.g., PhDs in Biology, Theology).

General and Undergraduate-level collections rely heavily on locally-held resources (print and electronic). Graduate collecting levels may combine locally-held resources, OhioLINK resources, and document delivery to achieve the needed level of support. In each case, the balance will be noted in the subject-specific collection policies.

Reviewed by Library Faculty 4/2008

Reviewed by University Library Committee 3/2008

Revised 8/2008