Collection Development Policy - Document

 I. Introduction

1.1 Purposes of the Policy

The role of collection management is to make appropriate choices for the development of a library collection which meets the need for information to support university curriculum and research.  These choices are to be made within the confines of funding, space, staffing, and equipment.  This Collection Development Policy is intended primarily to assist librarians in carrying out this role and to inform the University of the Library’s role in support of the learning and research  needs of the campus community. 

A formal collection policy provides the Library with the opportunity to demonstrate its compliance with and relevance to academic interests and priorities, especially in the area of undergraduate teaching.  It builds better communication lines between librarians and professors regarding collection purposes, goals, and priorities.  It further aids in the collection management decisions involving the allocation of funds, the acquisition, donation, de-selection, preservation, and evaluation of the resources. It is a source of information for those both in and outside of the library community on the strengths of our collection, thereby assisting in resource sharing.  This is of increasing importance as the Atlantic Scholarly Information Network (ASIN) moves towards cooperative collection development.  (See Appendix A)

In order to maintain currency and accuracy, this document will be reviewed every three years, or as needed.  This process will be initiated by the Collections Librarian.

1.2 Institution and Clientele Served

The Robertson Library is both the supplier of information resources for the support of the curriculum of the University and the major academic library on Prince Edward Island.  The University offers undergraduate degrees in the areas of Arts, Science, Music, Education, Business, and Nursing and Masters degrees in Business Administration, Education, Biology, Chemistry, and Island Studies.  It also offers DVM, Masters, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Veterinary Medicine.

The primary users of the Library are the students, faculty, and staff of the University.  It is also visited by the members of the larger community of the province who are welcome to make use of the collection.  The Library does not, however, collect for the needs of these non-university users.  Finally, the Library cooperates nationally and regionally with other libraries in sharing resources through reciprocal borrowing privileges and in interlibrary loan.

1.3 The Collection

The Robertson Library includes over 285,000 book titles, over 500 print and microfilm periodical subscriptions, thousands of microfiche cards and reels of microfilm, videotapes, sound recordings, and government documents. Approximately 2,500 book titles are added to the collection each year.  In addition to its physical collection, the Library provides access to electronic databases, approximately 85,000 electronic book titles, and approximately 31,620  full text periodicals.

1.4 Mission Statement and Goals

The mission of Robertson Library is to support the University's mission of assisting people in acquiring the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary for critical and creative thinking by:  

  • building and preserving collections that primarily support the learning, teaching, and research needs of the University;
  • providing access to information in an effective and timely manner;
  • encouraging information literacy by educating our various communities in the use of information resources; and
  • anticipating information needs (Robertson Library.Mission Statement (February 2000) Robertson Library. Mission Statement, History, & Description  Accessed March 3, 2009.)

In support of the mission statement, this policy includes plans to:

  • select, acquire, organize and manage as economically and expeditiously as possible those materials that are responsive and relevant to the University’s teaching and research programs,
  • provide on-site or remote access to recorded information that supports the University’s teaching and research programs, and
  • continuously evaluate the collection both quantitatively and qualitatively to ensure that the collection continues to improve and to adapt to changes in the University’s teaching and research programs.

Given that the principal clientele of the Library are students, the primary focus of the collection will be aimed at meeting their educational needs.  The secondary focus will be on the research needs of graduate students and faculty.  Material for recreational reading and subjects not taught at the University will be collected on a limited basis primarily through donations and as space allows.  Similarly, rare books or materials for special collections other than for the Prince Edward Island Collection will be acquired only for exceptional reasons.

The Collection Policy is to be used by the Liaison Librarians as a guide to creating responsive collections, ensuring both relevancy and consistency.

1.5 Statement of Intellectual Freedom

The Robertson Library agrees with the philosophy as expressed in the Canadian Library Association’s Mission, Values, & Operating Principles as found on their web page and in Appendix B.

2. Principles Governing Collection Development:

2.1 Evaluation Criteria

Selectors will evaluate possible acquisitions by considering, but not limiting themselves, to the following criteria:

  • supports the curriculum and research needs of the University,
  • meets student and faculty needs and requests,
  • shows authoritativeness,
  • demonstrates reputation of author and publisher,
  • receives positive published reviews, and
  • is affordable.

In addition to the above criteria, certain general  parameters will aid in determining selection choices.  These parameters include format, scope and content, language and country of origin, chronology, geography, bibliographic accessibility, and the depth of the existing collection.  These may vary somewhat for individual subject areas.  (See Subject Policies)

2.1.1 Currency

Emphasis should be on current materials although classics or standard texts in all fields will be considered.

2.1.2 Chronology

The chronology is dependent on the subject field.

2.1.3 Geography

Publications from all countries are considered.  However, emphasis is given to the Canadian perspective.

2.1.4 Languages

English is the primary language collected.  Other languages are collected as warranted by the subject.

2.2 Materials Collected: Monographs

A monographic publication is “a non-serial publication, consisting of text and/or illustrations, either complete in one volume or intended to be complete in a specified number of volumes.”  Monographs remain the largest single part of the library collection. Selections should contain acid-free paper and, due to budgetary restraints, paper bound books will be purchased whenever possible.  Exceptions will be made if a necessary publication is only available in hard cover or there is anticipated heavy usage.  The Library also collects electronic monographs.

2.2.1 Multiple Copies

Only one copy is normally acquired.  (This does not preclude different editions.)  Possible exceptions include:

  • titles to be placed on reserve for classes of more than 30 students.  At a maximum, three copies will be purchased
  • titles received as donations
  • additional copies for the Archival or PEI collection.

2.2.2 Textbooks

Textbooks are not purchased or accepted as donations unless they provide the best or only treatment of a needed subject.

2.2.3 Leisure Reading

Bestsellers or popular works are purchased only if they support the curriculum.  Books for leisure reading are accepted as donations on a limited basis as space allows.

2.2.4 Dissertations/Theses

The Library is provided with one copy of each doctoral dissertation, masters’ thesis, and Honours’ paper/thesis produced at U.P.E.I.  One bound copy and one microfiche copy of each dissertation and thesis is kept in the Library.  These are also available electronically.  Honour papers are not hard bound or filmed. Dissertations/theses from other universities are not actively collected and are purchased only if recommended as relevant to the curriculum or as covered by the Special Collections policy.

2.2.5 Children’s Literature

Children’s literature is purchased on a limited basis to support English and Education courses.

2.2.6 Special Collections and University Archives

There are two elements in the Library’s Special Collections:

  1. The Library endeavours to collect and preserve all publications related to Prince Edward Island (see Appendix E for the Prince Edward Island Collection Management Policy).
  2. The Library preserves particularly valuable or unique publications acquired through donation or identified in collections other than the PEI Collection or University Archives in the Rare Books section of Special Collections.

In addition, and notwithstanding the University’s lack of a formal archives and records management program, the Library works to by acquire and preserve a wide selection of archival materials and publications relating to UPEI and it antecedent institutions, St. Dunstan’s University and Prince of Wales College.

2.2.7 Rare Books

Rare books are acquired through donation only, except as specified in the Prince Edward Island Collection Policy.

2.3 Materials Collected: Periodicals

The periodical collection consists primarily of journals and newspapers.  These are available in print, microform, or electronic format.  Decision factors for acquisition include:

  • relationship to curriculum or research needs,
  • likelihood of use,
  • ppropriateness to the level of study,
  • importance to the discipline,
  • inclusion in an index or database held by University of Prince Edward Island,
  • affordable price, and
  • availability, locally or regionally.

Each periodical title is to be evaluated within the context of the existing collection.  If there is an overlap of subject content with existing subscriptions, the title will be reviewed based on its unique contribution.

Requests for either the acquisition or de-selection of an interdisciplinary title will take into consideration the relevance of the title to all departments affected.

The Library does not purchase print titles that are available in an electronic format in the Library.

Within the current budget, a new journal title will only be purchased if a title(s) within the same discipline and of equivalent dollar value is dropped.

The Library accepts donations of scholarly journals or funds for the purchase of such journals.  Incomplete volumes or runs of less than four years are not accepted unless they are being used to fill in an existing collection.

The Library does not purchase journals for leisure reading.  These may be accepted as a donation but they will not be bound and back files of more than one year’s duration will not be kept.

2.3.1 Newspapers

The Library purchases Prince Edward Island newspapers and representative papers from each of the Atlantic provinces.  Other newspapers of national or international importance are purchased on a title by title basis as funds allow.  Microfilm or electronic access is purchased for back files.

2.4 Materials Collected: Electronic

2.4.1 Electronic Journals

The Library is steadily increasing its electronic access to journals.  Electronic journal subscriptions are evaluated on the same criteria as print subscriptions.  In addition, new electronic titles are reviewed and evaluated for the following criteria:

  • product is compatible with existing Library equipment,
  • content and form justify the price,
  • publisher will validate by IP address,
  • product shows the likelihood of being available for a long time or archival access will be provided,
  • interface is well designed and is easy to teach and understand, and
  • product can be utilized in a manner that meets the needs of the Library’s users.

2.4.2 Electronic Monographs

Electronic books are increasingly collected both through purchase and subscription in order to provide 24/7 access both on campus and on personal computers owned by staff, students, and faculty of the University.  The Library does not purchase both print and electronic versions of the same title.

2.4.3 No-Fee Web Resources

No-fee web resources are selected to supplement the existing collections.  Sites selected for cataloguing are chosen according to the same selection criteria as other materials.  In addition, the following criteria are to be considered:

  • product is available at no-fee and with no restrictions,
  • product requires no special software on student workstations,
  • source or site has a good reputation,
  • site shows evidence of maintenance and regular updating,
  • URL appears to be stable,
  • resource can be linked at the point where it is most useful, and
  • current and archived information are available.

2.5 Materials Collected: Other Formats

2.5.1 Audio-Visual

The Library does not actively collect audio-visual materials.  They are purchased only when requested and to support the curriculum.  The Library should provide the necessary equipment to access the audio-visual materials in the collection. 

2.5.2 Sound Recordings

  • Sound recordings are purchased to support the curriculum, primarily that of the Music Department.
  • Recordings are not purchased for recreational listening.
  • Compact discs are the preferred format.  Another format is purchased or accepted as donation when it is the only available format of a desired performance or is a part of a valued collection.
  • Streamed audio is purchased to support the Music Department.

2.5.3 Video Recordings

  • Selected video recordings must support the curriculum.
  • If the intended use of the video is to show it or a protion of it in a classroom or any other public presentation, then the Library will purcahse it only if Public Performance Rights are securable at reasonable cost.
  • The Library does not purchase for recreational viewing.
  • The Library collects either VHS video or DVD.  As of 2004, there is a preference for DVD over VHS video when there is a choice.
  • The Library will purchase streamed video where it supports the curriculum and is affordable.

2.5.4 Art Slides

The Library does not actively collect slides.  These are purchased, if requested, for the support of the curriculum.

2.5.5 Music Scores

Music scores are acquired selectively to support the music curriculum.  Only study/miniature scores or full scores are purchased.  The Library does not purchase sets of performance scores.  As of 2008, the Library will purchase or subscribe to electronic collections of scores if they:

  • support the Music curriculum
  • are affordable

2.5.6 Maps

Canadian topographical maps are acquired through the federal Depository Services Program.  Atlases are selected under the guidelines for monographs.  Other maps are not collected.

2.5.7 Telephone Books

Telephone books are collected only for Atlantic Canada and the cities of Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa.

2.5.8 University Calendars

The Library no longer acquires print copies of  university calendars.   These are readily available online.

2.5.9 Corporate Reports

Selected corporate reports are maintained for a five year period for the support of the Business curriculum.

2.5.10 Gifts

Robertson Library gratefully accepts donations of library materials or gifts of money for the purchase of library materials in accordance with collection criteria outlined in the Library’s Donation Policy.  (See Appendix C)

2.5.11 Materials Not Collected

The Robertson Library does not collect the following:

  • posters,
  • photographs except as a part of the Archives or PEI Collection,
  • art works unless donated,
  • pamphlets,
  • vertical file materials,
  • tests, or
  • microcomputer applications.

3. Organization of the Collection Development Program

3.1 Staffing

The Collections & Digital Resources Librarian is responsible for the coordination of the Collections Development Program.

Communication between Librarians and the Library’s users is a vital element in building a dynamic and responsive collection.  Daily communication takes place between the library staff and the users at a number of public service points.  Beyond this, individual Librarians are assigned specific fields of study and are responsible for working with professors to build the specific collection areas.   Librarians and their respective liaison responsibilities are listed in Appendix D.

Liaison Librarians, within their assigned areas, are responsible for the following:

  • to develop the collection in their field(s);
  • to monitor developments in scholarly publishing and electronic resources;
  • to keep departments informed of library policies, issues, and events;
  • to monitor budget allocations and provide financial information to Library Representatives as necessary;
  • to review materials for preservation or de-selection;
  • to consult with professors when it is necessary to cancel subscriptions or weed collections. 

Communication is greatly enhanced when the academic departments also assign a representative to work with these Liaison Librarians.  Representatives are encouraged to:

  • suggest titles for the development of the collection;
  • inform the Library of relevant information such as the hiring of new staff, the development of new courses or new programs;
  • provide the Liaison Librarian with course outlines, assignments, and reading lists; and
  • encourage consultation with Liaison Librarian in preparation of new assignments that may rely heavily on the Library.

3.2 Selection Responsibility

The responsibility for selecting materials for purchase is a shared one between the Liaison Librarians and the professors at the University of Prince Edward Island.  Suggestions for purchase by staff and students are welcomed and encouraged.  The collection is a growing entity and all who use it have a responsibility to make it the most vital and best possible collection.   Since the Library does not possess the resources to acquire everything published in each area every year, guidelines for selection are necessary.

3.3 The Program

The program is focused on quality balanced collection development which supports the current and anticipated curriculum at the University.  Because current curriculum reflects interdisciplinary teaching and course development, the Library uses the subject divisions from the Library of Congress (LC) Classification scheme for the purpose of analyzing and building the collection.  This allows for more flexibility in building a balanced collection and in meeting the demands placed on a constrained budget.

3.4 Budgeting

The University and the Atlantic Veterinary College maintain separate collection budgets.  Within each, the budget is divided among monographs, periodicals, and electronic resources.  There is a higher percentage of funds allocated to periodicals within the sciences while the arts and humanities will have a higher percentage allocated to monographs.   The amounts allocated to each LC subject division is determined according to the following factors:

  • rate of publishing and the cost of materials in the subject field,
  • programs taught and their level: minor, major, honours, or masters,
  • dependency of the program on library resources,
  • projected increases in the costs of materials,
  • alternate forms of delivery available, whether freely available or document delivery, including Inter Library Loan,
  • ongoing commitments for serial publications, and
  • new courses or programs of study needing resources.

The following collections are treated separately:

  1. Prince Edward Island Collection.  This is a special collection which is supported with acombination of the St. Dunstan's University Endowment fund and library funds.  (see P.E.I. Collection Policy, Appendix E )
  2. Government Documents Collection.  Robertson Library is a selective depository library for Federal Government documents.  Because not all needed material is received on deposit, some funds are set aside for additional purchases.  (see Appendix F)

3.5 Fiscal Year

The fiscal year runs from May 1st  to April 30th.   The allocation process takes place in May and June as the new University budget is received.  It is important that new materials be received prior to the end of the fiscal year.  The acquisitions process needs to take into consideration the workflow within the Library and that of the vendors from whom we order.  To this end, the following deadlines are important:

  • September 30th: 50%  of the allocations are to be spent.
  • December 15th: last day to receive title suggestions to be purchased out of the current budget.  Suggestions received after this date will be held until May 1st and the beginning of the next fiscal year.
  • February 1st: 100% of the allocations to be spent.

4. Stewardship / Collection Maintenance

The Library has an obligation to be a good steward of the materials collected.  Not only must it  provide access, it is responsible for providing storage space, for maintaining the condition of the materials, and for providing ongoing assessment of the collection to ensure that it meets the requirements of its clientele.

4.1 Collection Assessment

The acquisition of the quantitative and qualitative data analyzing the collection allows libraries to relate user needs and library mission to specific areas of the collection. Liaison Librarians will assist the Collections & Digital Resources Librarian to do this.

4.2 Withdrawal of Materials

To maintain a collection of the highest quality it is necessary to make decisions with regard to particular items to repair, replace, add, discard, bind, or reassign.  With the passage of time, some subjects which were in high demand cease to be in demand.  University curricula change.  Some information is superceded by new knowledge and it is important to keep current with the latest information.  Also, some books simply wear out and must be discarded or replaced or rebound.  All decisions should be consistent with the overall objectives of the main Collection Policy or the appended policies.

Liaison Librarians are responsible for the necessary withdrawal of materials in their subject areas.  If it is necessary to weed a particular subject area, they will keep respective librarians/professors  informed.

4.3 Replacements

Materials which have been lost or damaged will be replaced if the information contained remains relevant to the curriculum or if it is of current or lasting value.  If the title is out of print or its original format/medium is obsolete, it may be replaced with a newer edition/format or a comparable title.

4.4 Binding and Repair

Binding is a primary method of preservation.  A separate budget is maintained for binding purposes.  The following will be sent for binding:

  • selected serials which possesses the content and indexing to indicate value to the PEI collection
  • damaged out of print books which cannot be repaired in house, or
  • paperback books where ongoing usage suggests the need for heavier binding.

Items which will not be routinely sent for binding include:

  • print materials prone to rapid deterioration,
  • damaged books which can be easily replaced at a reasonable price or which can be repaired in house,
  • honours level papers/theses. 

Periodicals will be sent for binding between semesters so as to avoid disruption of access at times when they are most needed by the students.

5. Partnerships and Cooperation

The Robertson Library cooperates or works in partnership with other libraries for the purpose of increasing access to information, purchasing electronic resources, sharing the storage of collections, answering reference questions, or improving document delivery. This cooperation takes place at a variety of levels and includes, but is not limited, to the following:

  • Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN)) This consortium includes 64 Canadian universities and was developed to increase the capacity for research and innovation in Canada.
  • Council of Atlantic University Libraries (CAUL)  CAUL endorses cooperative collection development and resource sharing initiatives.  Among these initiatives are the consortial purchase of electronic resources, common borrowing privileges, and a common information portal.
  • Island Libraries ( ) This portal allows simultaneous searching of the catalogues of Robertson Library, Holland College Libraries, and the catalogue of the Provincial Library Service.  Requests can be placed online for material not held in the searcher’s library.  A reference service is also available.  IsleAsk allows P.E. Islanders to ask questions online. 

Created by: Norine Hanus.
Consulted with and approved by the Robertson Library academic Librarians and the University Librarian on April 29, 2004.
Revised November 2010.