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Collections Development Policy -- Mount Allison University Libraries

Collections Development Policy - Format Standards



Printed materials should be of good quality, and hard bound where it is determined that the longevity of the titles is particularly important.  It is recognized that in some subject areas the relative importance of currency of information and rapid development of trends in the field result in the production of predominantly paperback editions.  In addition the rising cost of Library material and decreasing amounts to spend can result in the decision to purchase titles in paper bound format.

If possible, titles should be purchased printed on paper which has been treated (buffered) to lower the acidic content of the paper.


  1. The technical quality of all non-paper formats should meet professional standards.
  2. Titles should have public performance rights or public access rights as appropriate to the technology and will be accompanied by the appropriate site licence.


  • Cassette Tape
    The R.P. Bell and Whitehead (Music) Libraries maintain collections of material on cassette tapes and provision is made for their in-house use.  However, if there is a choice, compact disc is preferred over cassette.
  • Compact Disc
    CD format is preferred over cassette tape, and listening stations are available in both the R.P. Bell and Whitehead (Music) Libraries.
  • Vinyl Sound Recordings
    Both the R.P. Bell and Whitehead (Music) Libraries have a large investment in sound recordings, and maintain listening stations in both buildings for the use of this material. However, in future, music, spoken word and folkmusic titles will be purchased in compact disc or audio cassette tape formats.


Microform (fiche and film) are a predominant format at present for the storage of back runs of serials, newspapers and large sets of retrospective titles and the Library maintains both readers and a reader-printer.


Video titles will be purchased in VHS format.  The R.P. Bell and Whitehead (Music) Libraries maintain viewing stations for these titles, as well as making them available for loan.


Slides are not normally purchased by the Library.


Computer Software:

Computer software changes and develops rapidly and evaluational criteria, to ensure that it meets adequate standards, will develop along with it.  These formats will be constantly reviewed.


  • Floppy Disc
    Microcomputer software on floppy disc is purchased most often as an accompanying resource for a book or manual and the Library assumes no responsibility for providing appropriate personal computers on which to use it.
  • MRDF
    Machine Readable Data Files which satisfy the general selection criteria will be purchased.
  • CD-ROM
    The Library will acquire CD-ROM products which enhance the availability of information or act as a substitute for paper when cost effective.  These will be of bibliographic, statistical or full-text nature, and will be networked locally where possible.

    At present the majority of CD-ROM titles are bibliographic and are networked when expected use is high and when the cost of site licences for more than one user can be supported.

    Indexes in CD-ROM format are preferred over print sources of bibliographical information, although these are not yet available for all subject areas.