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

Selection Responsibility

The responsibility for developing the collection results from a collaboration between liaison librarians, faculty, and administration of the library. The Associate Director for Resource Management Services oversees the budget for library materials, while the liaison librarians make purchases suggested by faculty or based on their own recognition of disciplinary needs.

Every liaison librarian has the primary selection responsibility for several subject areas. Their knowledge of collection need is grounded in training, familiarity with the existing curriculum and collection, collaboration with faculty, and work as subject specialists instructing students. Liaison librarians maintain close contact with faculty in their subject areas and remain informed about curricular direction changes and courses offered in their areas. Informed, collaborative, and evidence-based decisions are our objective when determining which electronic packages, ongoing subscriptions, and large one-time purchases to acquire or deselect.

General Criteria for Evaluation for Selection

These general guidelines are considered for all materials added to the library’s collection. Not all will apply at all times:

  • Supports the current curriculum.
  • Improves the collection depth and scope, while considering holdings in the Alliance collection.
  • Cultivates a diverse collection, including representation of works by or about underrepresented or historically oppressed voices.
  • Provides multiple viewpoints.
  • Demonstrates literary, artistic, or scholarly value.
  • Fits within the current budget.
  • Fits within the available space.

Additionally, the following guidelines and exclusions are considered:

  • Language: in most disciplines, preference will be given to the acquisition of English language materials. Languages other than English that are taught at the university will be supported by the collection.
  • Multiple Copies: the library generally does not purchase duplicate copies of materials and will usually avoid purchasing the same material in different formats (e.g. print and electronic). Consideration is also given to the number of copies available through the shared Orbis Cascade Alliance collection.
  • Formats: the library will only select and maintain materials in formats which are usable utilizing commonly held and supported equipment.
  • Textbooks: the library avoids adding textbooks to to the collection because of the expense and short shelf life of the content. Textbooks are defined here as those works that are created and written for classroom use and serve as the principal vehicles of instruction. The library may make an exception to this policy when a textbook provides the best overview of a field, or when it is a work that is considered foundational in the literature of the discipline.
  • Classroom Materials: materials that serve primarily as teaching tools are not purchased because:
    • they are too narrow in scope to be of value as a shared resource;
    • they work only for a single user, for example: consumables, such as workbooks;
    • their use must be restricted to the degree that they are unavailable as a shared resource.
  • Illegally Produced Materials: an increasing array of bootleg publications, print and media, are offered for sale via aggregation or private sellers. The library will not knowingly purchase, acquire or keep pirated or illegal copies of works in its collection. See our affirmation of copyright guidelines here.

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.