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Collection Development Policy: Collins Memorial Library, University of Puget Sound

Disciplinary Considerations for Acquisition


Scholars in the humanities require access to a wide and diverse spectrum of library materials, published over a range of time, in print and in digital formats. Format decisions are based on appropriateness for content and intended uses. Key considerations include the following:

  • Access to print publications of the past remains important. Maintaining access to post-1922 publications via print copies in the library is necessary given American copyright law. Depending on the type of work being done, digital facsimiles may be acceptable or even preferable so long as a sufficiently representative set of print publications remains accessible.
  • Print and electronic monographs are both important, although disciplines in the humanities and arts continue to rely heavily on print.
  • To support unique and varied modes of interpretation, the library acquires a wide range of physical materials, including variant editions and translations of primary texts, and other non-print materials such as visual media and audio recordings.
  • Specialized editions are important, especially in the fine and performing arts. For example, in music, it is important to collect variant editions of scores, such as study scores, miniature scores, urtexts, vocal scores, parts for specific instruments, different arrangements. In both music and theater, it is important to collect recordings of different performances of the same work. Traditional art-historical genres are acquired, including exhibition catalogues, catalogues raisonnes, critical editions of writings by artists, and anthologies.



The teaching and learning needs of students and faculty in the sciences frequently prioritize the journal literature over monographs, but monographs remain important to acquire for the collection. Acquiring new scholarship to stay abreast of scientific developments is a primary focus. Primary sources which focus on the study of the history of science and technology also support the curriculum.


Social Sciences

Online access to journal article literature by students and faculty in the social sciences is in high demand, with less emphasis being placed on monographic purchases. There is growing demand for media and other non-print materials, such as empirically based statistical and data content. Important also is material covering relevant theoretical and methodological information.

Additionally, there is a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary, cross cultural, and multicultural perspectives in all social science fields, and a focus on non-Western regions of the world, including, but not limited to, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Type or Format Considerations

Electronic Resources

Electronic resources considered should follow the general criteria for selection and evaluation. By nature of their format, they may require some of these additional considerations:

  • Electronic materials should be relevant and appropriate to the library's user community and reflect current curricular programs and the University's mission. Special attention should be given to electronic resources that provide coverage of underrepresented or high-priority subject areas.
  • Electronic or digital formats are considered in context with the needs of appropriate disciplines.
  • Electronic formats are generally preferable to physical media when the content and coverage is equivalent or when the digital format offers value-added enhancements. Cost considerations or disciplinary preferences may affect this choice.
  • Service implications, technical support and licensing requirements must be given careful consideration prior to commitment and may determine the feasibility of acquiring a new electronic resource.
  • A minimum of duplication between formats will be allowed. Resources housed on remote servers are preferable to locally mounted products.
  • Evidence of user demand, through turnaway statistics, ILL or resource sharing requests, or liaison experience.
  • Considerations of publisher stability may affect which version or whether an electronic resource is acquired.
  • The user interface needs to be intuitive, effective, and would benefit from meeting accessibility considerations.
  • Total cost over time and anticipated use.


Serials are a major part of any academic library’s collection. Some disciplines, particularly those in the sciences and social sciences, rely heavily on sharing academic scholarship through journals and other serial publications. In theory, criteria for selecting serials follow the general criteria for selection and evaluation, but the ongoing financial commitment makes selecting new serials a more complicated process. Adding an individual serial title requires clear demonstration of how it will support the curriculum. A form for this type of request is available here. Serials acquisition, evaluation, and assessment involves looking at the curricular need, examining use data, and considering the cost per use, as well as the availability of alternative means for obtaining access to the material. When possible, serials are purchased in electronic format, which provides increased accessibility and usability.


Media materials offer a particular challenge to libraries because the medium itself is continuously evolving and old media may become obsolete and unusable. Media added to the library collection meets the general criteria for selection and evaluation. Planned use for the media will affect the format of the media acquired. The media collection is made with the understanding that we are curating a collection most of the time, but providing access on limited occasions via streaming media. Streaming media is almost never available as a permanent addition to the collection.

Faculty Publication

The library seeks to acquire monographs that support the curriculum, meet the general criteria for selection and evaluation, and for which the author or primary editor is a current, continuing Puget Sound faculty member. These works are shelved with the main collection and are searchable in the library catalog by the author’s name.

Donations of new copies of faculty-authored works are welcomed and appreciated.

Faculty are invited to notify their departmental liaison librarian if they have a new publication, and are encouraged to submit their work for inclusion in Sound Ideas. Sound Ideas is the open access institutional repository for the university, featuring scholarly and creative works by students, faculty members, administrators and staff.