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Library Collection Development and Access Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) The University Library is the primary scholarly information service provider of the University. Through its seven campus based libraries the Library provides and promotes access to those information resources and services integral to the scholarly endeavours of students, staff and researchers of the University, as well as to other members of the community and region.

(2) The information industry is in an era of massive and far reaching transformation impacting upon the creation, use and maintenance of scholarly materials. Exponential growth in the volume of electronically published materials has not been matched, as was widely predicted, by a decline in the volume of monograph print publishing, which continues to increase dramatically. The Library must effectively serve as a both a 'gateway' to electronic collections, and as a 'place' from which physical collections and services may be accessed.

(3) The challenge faced by the Library in its provision of access to scholarly information is greater than that of any other Australian University Library. The geographic dispersal makes it imperative that as much as possible is provided in electronic format across all seven campus libraries in order that access may truly be gained from anywhere at any time.

(4) The development of the University Library collection, in all formats, is an inclusive programme involving Library and Academic staff, as well as University student users. This document is intended to clarify the policy and guidelines for purchase of, and provision of access to, materials in all formats for the University of Western Sydney community.

Section 2 - Definitions

(5) Nil

Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) The Library aims to:

  1. acquire, preserve and provide access to diverse collections of scholarly information, available at the point of demand by students, researchers and academics. These resources are increasingly made available electronically.
  2. provide and promote a timely pro-active range of client services, both on campus and from remote locations in support of the academic directions of the University.

(7) The Library Collection Development and Access Policy guides the Library's collection development activity in order to ensure the creation and maintenance of scholarly information directly relevant and supportive to the learning, teaching, research and scholarship endeavours of the University.

Part A - Collection Development Principles

Underlying Principles for Development

(8) The Library collections will support the teaching, learning and research of University staff and students.

(9) Materials expenditure will be maintained at no less than 45% of Library recurrent funding.

(10) The Library purchases resources for the Schools, and Research Centres/Groups/Institutes from its allocated budget. Expenditure is carefully monitored, with monthly reports sent to designated School//Research affiliated staff outlining the School/area expenditure and committals.

(11) Recognising the importance of a strong journal collection, an appropriate balance between monograph and journal expenditure will be maintained. Generally, the Library will endeavour to ensure that no more than 60% of materials expenditure will be on journals.

(12) All requests for new journal subscriptions will be submitted to the Library for consideration and decision. Such requests will be accompanied by supporting documentation underlying the rationale for inclusion in the collection or provision of electronic access

(13) Recognising the difficulties of access due to the University's geographic spread, the Library will, where possible and appropriate, offer electronic journal and monograph access in preference to providing print journals and monographs.

(14) In support of cross campus teaching, the Library will support purchase of multiple copies of texts, essential and recommended readings for location at more than one library.

(15) Recognising the inability of any tertiary library to own all materials required to support the research endeavours of the institution, the Library will provide Document Delivery to academic staff and postgraduate (research) students.

Purchase of Material

(16) Other than in exceptional circumstances, all material required to support teaching, learning and research will be purchased by the Library's Information Resources staff, utilising regular Library Suppliers with whom substantial discounts have been negotiated.

(17) Other than in exceptional circumstances, all book orders and journal subscriptions for resources required as working tools or professional reference by University staff will be purchased by the Library's Information Resources staff, utilising regular Library Suppliers with whom substantial discounts have been negotiated.

(18) All books and journals acquired utilising University operating funds, internal or external research funds and/or donations are to be recorded in the Library system for tracking and audit purposes. In exceptional circumstances, where books are purchased with University corporate credit cards, full details of the book/s are to be provided to the Library immediately upon receipt for recording purposes. Purchase and recording procedures are on the Library web site.

(19) The Library will only purchase foreign language materials for research, and with the approval of the University Librarian.

Deselection of Print Materials

(20) Deselection (weeding) of library materials is essential to ensure an active, academically useful library collection. Deselection provides quality control for the collection by elimination of outdated, inaccurate, and worn-out materials. Library staff are responsible for conducting ongoing evaluation and for maintaining the quality of the collection in accordance with the guidelines provided in Section 5.

Section 4 - Procedures

Part B - Monograph Selection

(21) Library Information Services Team members (Liaison Librarians) share responsibility for the development of the University collections with their academic colleagues.

(22) Most Schools have nominated an academic staff member/s to act as a Library Signatory. All School based requests for monographic material are channelled through the relevant Signatory, who authorises purchase of requested materials and ensures reasonable balance of expenditures across the various discipline areas within the School. Within each campus Library, staff with nominated subject/discipline responsibilities will also generate requests for material for which a need is identified.

(23) Information Resources staff have compiled a University subject profile with each of our major suppliers. Electronic (and in decreasing instances paper) advice slips, advising of new and forthcoming publications are sent to Liaison Librarians and Library Signatories to inform the selection process.

Part C - Texts, Essential and Recommended Readings

(24) The Library supports the teaching and learning endeavours of the University by providing copies of texts, essential and recommended readings as cited on Course Reading Lists.

(25) The Library will generally purchase one copy of recommended readings per requisite campus library. Recommended readings in high demand may be purchased on the same ratio as text and essential materials.

(26) Text material and essential readings will be purchased on the following ratio:

Number of Students Number of Copies
1 - 40 2
41 - 80 4
81 - 120 6
121+ 7

Note: Where units are taught on multiple campuses, a maximum of 4 copies per Library will normally be purchased.

(27) These duplicate copies will be located at the most appropriate teaching campus library/ies.

(28) Any item requested for a Reserve location or 3 Day Loan will automatically have at least one additional copy purchased for the general collection of the relevant campus library. Reserve requests for electronic/online resources are met through the Library's Readings Direct team.

(29) Material to support teaching, learning and research is not, however, limited to Reading Lists. Order requests to purchase support material will be placed upon receipt from the relevant library signatory. Generally only single copies of such material will be purchased for the appropriate campus library/ies.

Part D - Journal Selection

(30) All requests for journal subscriptions must be accompanied by supporting documentation (see Appendix 3). All requests will be considered individually, and may require the cancellation of a title of similar value.

(31) Where a journal is available electronically, this is the preferred 'format' and print subscriptions will not be placed other than in exceptional circumstances.

(32) Only in exceptional circumstances will single issues of a journal be purchased for the Library collection.

Part E - Expensive Works

(33) Where requests for purchase of single items e.g. monographs, DVD's are received, the cost of which exceeds A$2000 these requests will be returned to the relevant Library Signatory for completion of supporting documentation (see Appendix 2) upon which the Associate Librarian, Corporate Services will base purchasing decisions.

(34) Where Library staff initiate a request to purchase an expensive item, the supporting documentation (see Appendix 2) should be countersigned by the Manager, Information Resources and forwarded to the Associate Librarian, Corporate Services for approval.

Part F - Donations

(35) Whilst substantial donations may have added depth and breadth to some of the University Library collections in the early 1980's, the complexities and costs associated with donated material - administrative and processing - tend to mitigate against the perceived value in most instances.

(36) As a general rule, donated materials should be of sufficient value, and direct relevance, that the Library would have been prepared to purchase them.

(37) All offers of material should be referred to the Manager, Information Resources. In instances where this is not possible, no material is to be accepted unless the potential donor has signed the 'Waiver Form' (see Appendix 3) permitting University Library to retain or dispose of the material as it sees fit.

Monographic Material

(38) Monographs must be current, relevant to the teaching and/or research profile of the University and in good condition. Except in exceptional circumstances, second or third copies of titles already held will not be accepted. The Manager, Information Resources will make the ultimate decision on the inclusion or exclusion of all titles.


(39) Generally, dead runs of journal titles not held by the University Libraries will not be accepted. Back issues of titles to which current subscriptions are held may be accepted where they fill gaps in existing runs.

(40) Offers of ongoing donations of journals will only be accepted and such titles added to the collection if relevant to the teaching and/or research profile of the University, and it can be ascertained that such donations will, as far as possible, continue into the foreseeable future.

(41) All offers of serials must be referred to the Manager, Information Resources, the Associate Librarian, Corporate Services or the University Librarian who will ensure that appropriate documentation is completed.

Legal Deposit Titles

(42) Titles received under legal deposit will be checked for online availability. Where online access is available, and the title is required, a record for the e-version will be created via the library catalogue.

(43) Print only titles will be forwarded to the relevant Liaison Librarians for consideration and will be returned to the appropriate Manager, Information Resources for inclusion or discard.

Part G - Theses

(44) Generally only theses submitted for a University Masters (Research) or higher will be made accessible via the University Library. Appropriate access forms must be completed by the author (see Appendix 4). The preferred format for deposit of approved theses is via PDF file.

(45) In exceptional circumstances, Bachelor (Honours) theses may be added to the Library collection, upon representation from the relevant Dean to the Associate Librarian, Corporate Services or the University Librarian.

(46) All qualifying theses which have the appropriate signed documentation will be digitised and made available to the local, national and international research community via the Australian Digital Theses programme.

(47) Print copies are stored within the Library/Archives Collection.

Part H - University Exam Papers

(48) Where Schools agree to make past examination papers available for student access, the University Library will ensure that digital copies are available.

Part I - Access to the Collections

General Collections - Print and Electronic

(49) Most print and electronic collections are accessible to all University staff and students. In extremely rare cases, License Agreements may restrict access to an electronic resource to limited staff/postgraduate students.

(50) Generally, if a title is accessible electronically, the Library will not purchase additional print copies. If the electronic version is in high demand, multiple access to that title may be purchased.

(51) However, where the electronic copy is a set text title, the Library may purchase additional print copies to ensure equitable and wide access to the material.

(52) Access to all print and the majority of electronic resources is available through the Library catalogue and the Library web site.

(53) The Library's authentication software allows off site access to approximately 95% of electronic resources available to the University community.

Reserve Collections

(54) Reserve collections provide ready access to high demand, high use materials supporting teaching and learning at the University.

(55) When material required for Reserve is only available in print:

  1. wherever possible under copyright restrictions, journal articles and/or book chapters are scanned and made available via the Learning Management System (vUWS).
  2. where copyright restrictions do not permit (e.g. several chapters of a book are simultaneously required for Reserve) the whole book will be placed on Reserve at the required University Library.
  3. where a title requested for Reserve at one University Library is held at another University Library, an additional copy will be purchased for the requesting library.
  4. any item requested for a Reserve location or 3 Day Loan will automatically have at least one additional copy purchased for the general collection of the relevant campus library.

Reference Collections

(56) Reference Collections provide:

  1. access to specific and usually brief information e.g. dictionaries, encyclopaedias and handbooks;
  2. guides to other, more in depth information e.g., abstracting and indexing services, bibliographies.

(57) Where Reference items are available electronically, and appropriate License agreements are available, that is the preferred medium for access.

(58) Where Reference items are only available in print format, multiple copies for some/all Libraries will be purchased as necessary.

Part J - Document Delivery

(59) The Document Delivery service supports the research activity of the University and supplements the relatively young collections available on site.

(60) The Library will obtain monograph items from any holding library in Australia prepared to lend required material. The Library will obtain journal articles from a commercial vendor.

(61) Where monographs are only obtainable from an overseas Library, approval from the relevant Dean must be obtained by the requestor as a higher charge usually applies.

(62) Document Delivery services are provided, generally free of charge, to all Academic staff and researchers within the University.

(63) Where recently published monograph items are requested the Library will also endeavour to purchase a copy for the University collections.

(64) The University also lends material to other Australian libraries.

Part K - Preservation

(65) Physically damaged items which are still in demand will be treated by one of the following methods:

  1. Replacement: for high demand, in print material
  2. Re-binding: for material in demand but out of print
  3. Discarding: for low use, out of print material

(66) Print journal volumes will be rebound after all volume issues have been received.

Section 5 - Guidelines

Guidelines for Deselection


(67) As an overall principle, the Library will retain a single, 'last copy' of all titles held.

(68) Superseded editions will generally be withdrawn unless they continue to provide valuable, relevant information.

(69) Materials which cannot be repaired or rebound or for which the cost of preservation exceeds the value of the information contained are weeded.

(70) Currency of information is extremely important in some fields such as health sciences, technology, and business. Materials older than five years must be regularly deselected to eliminate outdated or inaccurate information.

(71) Material that has not been used, based on circulation and browsing statistics, may be weeded after five years of inactivity.


(72) Incomplete and short runs of a title may be withdrawn if title is not currently received.

(73) Titles which contain information that is not useful long-term, such as newsletters and trade magazines, usually have automatic discard patterns established such as "Current year only".

(74) Regularly updated editions of guidebooks, handbooks, almanacs and directories etc will generally be discarded upon receipt of the current issue.

(75) Due to lack of space, print issues which are replaced by microfilm will be discarded.

(76) Duplicate issues of periodicals and journals will be discarded when a volume has been bound.

(77) Only the latest edition of a standing order title will be located in the Reference Collection with earlier editions being treated as per paragraphs 79 and 80.

Associated Information

Appendix 1: Donation Form

Appendix 2: Expensive Item Request Form

Appendix 3: Journal Subscription Request Form

Appendix 4: Rights of Access to Theses Form