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Collections Development Policy -- Mount Allison University Libraries

Collections Development Policy - Selection


Within the context of the Collections Development Goals as set out in this document, selection of titles to be ordered and the format of these titles is done by faculty and Librarians.  The funds to be spent are managed by the University Librarian.  For this reason and with the exception of some restricted endowments, the final decisions regarding title selection rests with the University Librarian who is guided by this Collections Policy.  Faculty/Librarian discussions, Senate decisions, the work of the Academic Matters Committee, and Academic re-structuring are the important factors in the decision making process.


In addition to input from faculty, the following criteria are used as guides when selecting titles for the collection, developing the reference collection, developing new areas in the collection, filling in identified gaps in the collections, and doing retrospective collection building:


  1. The relevance of the titles to the scholarly needs of students in the context of the present curriculum.
  2. The author's reputation and significance as a writer.
  3. The title has received favourable critical reviews from reputable sources.
  4. The reputation of the publisher or producer of the titles is one of high quality subject content and good quality physical product.
  5. The title is included in lists of works important in the field.
  6. The title is recommended in standard library evaluation material.
  7. The subject matter is presented at a level which is appropriate to undergraduate students.
  8. Timeliness of material.
  9. Permanence of material.
  10. Will material serve the interests of students in more than one discipline or programme.
  11. The price of the title is within the range to be expected for materials of its type.

Additional general considerations which affect selection of materials:


The Library's ability to make material accessible is a determining factor in the selection process.  This implies appropriate shelving for traditional formats (books, music, maps, microform, etc.), as well as the purchase and maintenance of the equipment necessary for the use of titles in less traditional formats (CD-ROM, software, video, etc.), and the equipment and services required for access to resources in other locations (computers and other telecommunications hardware and software).  Adequate and timely support services from vendors is an important consideration.

In addition to being familiar with new technology, librarians have a particularly important role to play in teaching students to analyse their needs, to think through the process of research, and to choose the methods and the technology most appropriate to the project.

With the development of information technology, the links between libraries and computing services become stronger, since the expertise required to provide for patron needs develops from both centres.  The computing centre provides hardware support, and works with the library to ensure proper delivery of services.

An additional implication to be considered is the Library's ability to create and maintain a system of accurate pointers to the content of material held elsewhere, something which is particularly difficult to control at present.  The World Wide Web, which is only one of the new methods of searching for and archiving information on the internet, presents both opportunity and confusion.

Growing expectations of patrons, the explosion of available resources, along with constantly changing technology where the lines between medium and message are blurred, all combine to create a very fluid situation.

Working with Computing Services, the Library:

  • maintains accurate pointers to a selection of external resources on the Internet.
  • provides access to locally held CD-ROM titles (bibliographic, statistical and full-text) through the Library's Local Area Network, and stand-alone work stations (see Appendix H for current titles).
  • provides access to those bibliographic databases available through our consortia arrangements with other libraries (see Appendix H for current titles).
  • provides access to bibliographic and full-text databases provided through contract arrangements with carefully selected companies (see Appendix H for current titles).

Working with Faculty, the Library:

  • will determine the most appropriate formats to support the academic curriculum.
  • will consider both long and short term implications of various format types as they relate to the future of the discipline at Mount Allison University3.


3 A sub-committee of the Senate Library Committee will develop the section of this policy relating    to format selection.


Current collecting intensity

The collecting intensity emphasis refers to collecting levels which reflect the depth and breadth of material needed to respond to student research and study.  We will use the levels described below.

  1. Basic - this level implies very elementary coverage, with a few basic reference titles and a small selection of standard monographic works.
  2. Representative - this level implies an introductory collection with a basic reference collection, the standard monographic works and a few serial titles.  Current material for reference and information.
  3. Selective - implies a collection which adequately caters for undergraduate degree programmes.  It would include a large reference collection, most indexing and abstracting journals, general and well known periodicals, a wide range of monographs, but not highly esoteric ones.
  4. Advanced - this level implies a collection use to researchers and including primary resource material.  It would also include a wide-ranging collection of monographs including very specialized ones, a collection of general and specialized serials which includes indexing and abstracting services, and a high proportion of the materials listed in them.

Much of Mount Allison's collecting will be done at the Selective (3) and Representative (2) levels, except for the special collections which may reach Advanced (4) level.  Subjects which are not taught beyond the second year at Mount Allison, and those subjects which are collected for general information needs, will generally fall into the Basic (1) category.

Date of publication

Current publications will predominate in most subjects, but some variance is to be expected.  Scientific subject areas will have a greater reliance on newly published material than will some other subjects, for example.  Retrospective material will be collected for certain of the special collections, as outlined in their collection policies.


The Library will avoid duplicating titles, except in very exceptional circumstances.

Chronological coverage

Time periods to be collected for will vary with the subject area, and will depend upon the dictates of the curriculum.


Format refers to the publishing medium and mode of delivery.  It is important to select the most appropriate format (print on paper, microform, hardware, software, telecommunications configuration) for each resource.  See detailed description in section titles Format Standards.


Gifts of books and other Library materials will be added to the Library's collections if the titles meet the general criteria for selection, and if the Library is able to house and make them accessible (see Appendix G:  Gift Policy).

Geographic coverage

The scope of interest - local, regional, national or international will vary from subject to subject.


While in general preference will be given to titles in the English language, the Library will provide materials in the language appropriate to subjects where the target language, literature and culture are taught, and students can be expected to reach sufficient fluency to require such materials.

For example, the Library will collect literary, critical and cultural works in French, German, Spanish, Latin and Greek.  In addition the Library will collect titles in the target language of all languages taught at the University, which is the above list plus Japanese.

The Library will also provide a selection of works in the French language on subjects of general Canadian interest.