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Collections Development Policy -- Mount Allison University Libraries

Collection Development Policies - Categories


Serial publications (Journals)

In general, the same selection criteria apply to serial publications as to other Library materials collected.  They will be at a level appropriate to undergraduate work and support the work of the curriculum or provide for general information needs.

However, serial titles present additional factors which also have to be considered.  They represent an on-going commitment, and cannot and will not be added and dropped on a yearly basis.  Decisions will be made for each title with regard to the length of back runs to be kept, whether or not microfilm or CD-ROM full-text of back issues will be purchased, whether or not back issues of paper copies will be bound.

Other issues to be considered are whether or not the title is indexed in a source to which the Library has access, the availability of the title in an electronic format, whether or not the title is available in a full-text database to which the Library provides access.

The Library will help patrons to locate electronic journals and to access the information they contain via the Internet.  However, at this time, the Library will not undertake to archive electronic journals.


Newspapers are selected to meet the reference and research needs of students as well as to satisfy requirements for current information and interest in current events.

A representative selection of international, national and local newspapers in paper format are maintained.  An additional consideration will be to provide newspapers in languages which are taught at the University, and in which students can be reasonably expected to reach the level of fluency required to read them.

Backfiles for selected titles are acquired in microfilm or in CD-ROM full-text formats.  Decisions are made on a title-by-title basis concerning the length of time a paper back file will be maintained.

For those titles which are available in CD-ROM full-text, the paper copies are held until the CD-ROM arrives.  For those titles for which we purchase backfiles in micro format, the paper copies are held until the microfilm arrives.

The Sackville Tribune Post, Amherst Daily News and the Amherst Citizen are microfilmed in the Library as part of an on-going preservation arrangement.

Electronic information resources (this will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the Senate Library Committee)

The Library will subscribe to selected services which extend the scope of the collection and provide access to bibliographic, full-text or statistical information held elsewhere.

These will be assessed with reference to the same criteria which are utilized when selecting materials for the in-house collections.  However, since these represent new formats and delivery methods, each will have to be evaluated with reference to additional criteria which will constantly evolve, along with the technology.

It is preferable to take part in consortia arrangements with other Universities, or to take advantage of services provided by DRA (our automated Library system) where possible, in order to have a standard indexing approach for our patrons, and also take advantage of savings available to the large number of member libraries.

In certain cases, such services will act as a substitute for the printed format.  Issues of access (to both current and archived files of data) versus ownership, will be considered on a title-by-title basis.

It is important to remember that with many of these resources, the Library essentially "rents" access to the information owned elsewhere.  For example, we have to consider carefully decisions to cancel regular subscriptions and replace them with access through an electronic service.  Once the Library stops subscribing to an electronic service, access to backfiles of material is lost.  In certain subjects, retrospective material is of relatively high value, while in others it is less important.

In addition, material acquired through document delivery services essentially becomes the property of the individual who requested it, and thus is not available for future patrons.

A period of careful study and experimentation concerning the long term value to the community and to the collection of all new formats and methods of delivery will be necessary before it will be possible to make final decisions concerning this material.

While it might be tempting to consider the immediate replacement of paper with electronic formats in order to save funds, and to increase the numbers of available titles, a prudent approach to the issues is necessary.

When it is possible to be confident that needed backfiles will be accessible, that the technology is stable and easy to use, and when the costs are reasonable, the Library should be in a position to take full advantage of the possibilities (see Appendix H for current arrangements).