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Collection development policy

1. Introduction

  1. Aim of the Collection Development Policy

The Library Collection Development Policy provides a framework for the development and management of the Library Collections. It ensures that the collections are maintained and developed in accordance with the Library Mission Statement


  1. Library Mission Statement

“DBS Library is a dynamic, pioneering information service empowering and inspiring learning, teaching and research to support DBS strategic objectives while placing students and faculty at the heart of all that we do.”


  1. Principles for collection development

Collection development is the process by which the Library assesses, selects, and withdraws material. The Library Collection is developed with the following principles in mind at all times:

  1. Equitable access to the Library collection should be available for all registered Library users
  2. Input is desirable from both academic staff and the student body
  3. Collection development should be in line with strategic and academic developments in the College, developments in the Library and information sector, developments in the publishing sector, and technological developments

2. Budget

  1. Allocation by format

Material is acquired by the Library across all subject areas. There should be an effective combination of print and electronic resources.  Separate annual budget allocations are made for the following formats: electronic databases; print journals; print books; and eBooks. Expenditure for print books, and eBooks is tracked using the Library management system. In recent years, the shift to more digital access for journals and books has accelerated and the annual budget allocations reflect this. However, print books continue to be important, especially where electronic access is not available or the cost is prohibitive.

  1. Book allocation by subject

Within the print book and eBook budgets separate budgets are then allocated to particular subject areas with regard given to student numbers on courses and costs of books for particular subject areas.

  1. New Programmes

Additional finance may also be allocated towards the provision of materials for new programmes.

3. Selection criteria

Final decisions for the purchase of all Library materials rest with the Library. The criteria below are applied to all purchases as well as donations which are being considered.  Any donations received which are not added to the collections may be sold, exchanged or discarded at the discretion of the Library.


General selection criteria for all resources

  1. Relevance to current curriculum or new programmes
  2. Level of information appropriate for Library users
  3. Should add depth or breadth to the existing collection
  4. Quality of information – content should come from an authoritative author or publisher
  5. Currency of information
  6. Format – see section 4
  7. Price
  8. Language


Additional selection criteria for electronic resources

  1. Access model – the preferred access model for all electronic resources is multiple simultaneous user access. Remote access should be available with Shibboleth authentication. Additionally in the case of eBooks perpetual access is required for individual titles purchased.
  2. Accessibility – with accessibility in mind the Library makes an effort to forge links with vendors who are also committed to providing additional methods of accessing material for users with disabilities. They may include facilities for text to speech conversion, text magnification or allowing user interface preferences. 
  3. Accuracy and completeness – where a print format is also available the electronic resource should have all the illustrations, graphs and tables that the print format would have
  4. Functionality – must have user-friendly interface  including menus, help functions, tutorials, search options, export options (email, printing, downloading), good response time
  5. Vendor support – vendor should be established and reliable and should provide: training and demonstrations; technical and customer support; and statistical reporting
  6. Trial period – a trial of a minimum one month duration during term-time should be arranged for staff and students for any electronic database under consideration. Usage statistics and any feedback from academic staff, library staff and students following trial period should together with the other selection criteria inform decisions regarding purchase
  7. Pricing – where possible it is incumbent on the Head of Library Services to source effective pricing models that are aligned to the size of the actual user community for specialised resources and not based on the total user population of the college. The Head of Library Services actively seeks consortial purchasing opportunities. For electronic resources pricing should not greatly exceed a print equivalent and any additional costs should be reflected in increased functionality and accessibility.
  8. Licensing – authorised users should be defined as broadly as possible to include staff, student, and on-site users. Authorised sites should be defined as broadly as possible to allow access from anywhere via the college’s secure network. License should permit fair use of all information for educational, instructional, and research purposes by authorised users.

4. Policies by format

A digital first policy will be followed where acquisitions of online resources will be prioritised to better support changing teaching and learning needs in a hybrid environment. In the case of books, the first copy acquired will be an eBook, where possible, supported by print copies for reading list material. Faculty will be encouraged to adopt titles on reading lists with eBook availability where possible.

  1. Electronic formats

Priority is given to material in electronic format where available and cost permit as this dramatically increases accessibility of material. The Library’s electronic access model requires both multiple simultaneous user access and remote access for material in electronic formats.

  • The Library subscribes to a number of online databases and aggregators through which users can access a large range of journals and eBooks. These subscribed resources are reviewed on an annual basis and only renewed if they remain relevant to user needs and have adequate usage. Requests for new subscriptions will be considered.
  • In the case of individual eBook title acquisition a further requirement in addition to the electronic resources access model above is perpetual access. EBook versions of textbooks are purchased where available to support flexible learning and increase accessibility. Access models for eBooks in order of preference are: unlimited user access – DRM free, unlimited user access; credit model; and then user licenses. Where only individual user licenses are available at least 2 licenses should be obtained where the title is on a reading list. Reports for low credits and turnaways are monitored to determine if additional user licenses are required. When none of the above eBook access models is available the Library may purchase a copy of the Kindle eBook where it is available to download to at least 5 of the Library’s Kindle devices. ebook licenses which expire after a set period or a set number of uses are not purchased.
  • In addition to subscribed/purchased content the Library collections also contain DBS produced material. Research conducted by students (e.g. dissertations) and academic staff (e.g. journal articles) is uploaded to the institutional repository, eSource, subject to consent and quality control.
  • Exam papers for the College are supplied to the Library from the Exams Office. These are collated by the Acquisitions Librarian and uploaded to the virtual learning environment (Moodle).
  • The Library also seeks to identify and facilitate access to freely available resources and make them discoverable via Library discovery systems, A-Z listings and the Library website.
  1. Print formats
  • Print monographs are generally bought in paperback format to reduce costs unless only a hardback version is available. The Library aims to buy at least one copy of every book on each submitted reading list. Only 1-2 copies of a core textbook are purchased unless there is no eBook availability or the eBook only has a limited licence or demand is high. Reports for holds on titles are monitored to determine if additional copies are required. Out of print materials are acquired only as necessary. Loan types for print materials include reference only, 3-day loan (for law collection only), 7-day loan and 2-week loan and are assigned based on the expected usage of the items. Reading list books are assigned as 7-day loans or less.
  • Journal access is now almost wholly online via database subscriptions. The few remaining print journals are reviewed on an annual basis and only renewed if an online version is not available and if they remain relevant to the needs of users. Recommendations for new journal titles are considered. 
  1. Audio-Visual materials 

The Library has a large DVD collection but no longer acquires new titles.

5. Selection aids for print and eBook collections

New acquisitions are chosen using the following aids:

  1. Reading Lists

The majority of material is selected in response to reading lists received directly from academic staff or students or downloaded from the online reading list software, LORLS, or the virtual learning environment, Moodle

  1. Academic staff requests

Academic staff may also make requests for additional non-reading list material to be acquired to broaden the collection. Academic staff may make requests for their own monographs to be acquired but the decision to purchase depends on its relevance to current teaching and learning in the College. Donations of monographs authored by academic staff will be accepted. 

  1. Student requests

Students may also make requests for additional material to be acquired but the decision to purchase such material depends on its usefulness to other Library users.

  1. Review of holds reports

During term-time monthly reviews of reservation reports (numbers of holds and average waiting times) are checked to ensure enough copies of texts in demand are available.

  1. Review of turnaways reports

During term-time monthly reviews of turnaway reports (where Library users have to wait for access to eBooks) are checked to ensure enough licences are available.

  1. Library selection

The Acquisitions Librarian may select additional material from catalogues etc. in order to add to depth and breadth to the existing collections in each existing subject area or to develop a new subject area and to keep the collection up-to-date. Library staff may also select freely available, quality online resources for inclusion the Library Catalogue, A-Z Database List or the Library Website.

  1. New editions

New editions of current textbooks and eBooks are also obtained as they become available to ensure the currency of the collection.

6. Material not collected

  1. Annual reports, catalogues, telephone directories as these may be found online.
  2. Videos and DVDs are no longer purchased.
  3. Spiral bound publications due to their less durable format are only purchased where there is no hardback or paperback version available.
  4. All courses in DBS are taught through English so books are only purchased in English (unless there is a foreign language module on a course or something is deemed necessary by academic staff and is not available in English)
  5. Dissertation and theses in print format are no longer accepted in the Library as electronic versions of these are now received and uploaded to the institutional repository, eSource.
  6. Print newspapers are no longer acquired.
  7. Looseleaf services are no longer used

7. Print collection maintenance

  1. Deselection

An annual evaluation of the collection is undertaken to ensure that it remains relevant to users’ needs and that the best use is made of the available space. Items may be deselected or withdrawn from the collection if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Item is worn out/damaged
  2. Item has been superseded by a more recently published item or has become out of date
  3. Print item is now available online
  4. Item has not been used by Library users for a period of time

Deselected stock will be disposed of by specialist companies, with consideration for the environment.

Little used items that still have the potential for future use are stored in the Library’s archive areas.

  1. Preservation

All paperback items are covered using Ryco book covers to maximise their durability. Items whose covers or pages have become loose are repaired by Library desk staff where possible. 

  1. Replacements

Items are considered for replacement when

  1. They have been declared missing and are still in demand
  2. They are damaged beyond repair and in demand

Library users that have been responsible for the loss or damage of Library material are liable for the cost of replacing such material.

8. Electronic resource collection maintenance

  1. Deselection

An annual evaluation of the collection is undertaken to ensure that it remains relevant to users’ needs and that the best use is made of the available budget. Monitoring and analysis of electronic collections usage is also carried out to inform decisions regarding subscription renewals

  1. Preservation

This is normally managed by the vendor. Electronic material held locally by the college will be preserved with due consideration to best practice.

9. Collection promotion

Efforts should be made to alert users to the presence of electronic databases; electronic journals; print journals; print books; eBooks; and to encourage usage. This may be done using the following methods:

10. Annual policy review

This collection development policy will be reviewed annually by the Acquisitions Librarian and the Library team and revised as necessary.

Last date of revision: 16th April 2024