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Collection Development Policy

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of a collection development policy is to provide the framework and guidelines for the development of a collection of quality resources in appropriate formats that support the instructional, curricular, and research needs of the library’s primary users which consist of students, faculty, and staff of the University.

The collection development policy establishes the goals for cultivating a collection that supports the mission and values of the library.  These include support of learning, scholarship, and research; equitable access to information; and responsible stewardship in providing access to resources.  See https://library.oakland.edu/about/mission_values.html for the complete mission and values statement.

The collection development policy offers guidance to the library in the selection of a varied and balanced collection of resources in a fiscally responsible and cost effective manner.  A collection development policy aims to establish the criteria within which the library obtains resources related to teaching and research, optimizes the use of funds, and balances the resource needs amongst University schools and departments.

Diversity Statement

Oakland University Libraries are committed to providing a balanced collection reflective of global awareness as well as fostering inclusion in all matters of diversity.

  • The CD policy reflects the university’s emphasis on diversity.
  • Twenty-first century students live in a technologically advanced, diverse and global environment. Our libraries help prepare them for lifelong learning and success in the workforce.
  • Library faculty and staff have a professional responsibility to be inclusive in their collection development decisions.
  • Access to all materials and resources should be assured to all users.
  • Library collection policies do not allow for exclusion of materials or resources because they are deemed offensive by some.

ALA and ACRL Statements

The University Libraries support the following American Library Association (ALA) and Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) statements. These statements uphold libraries’ support of intellectual freedom and the development of collections that represent a variety of perspectives. These principles have been core library values over many decades.

The ALA Library Bill of Rights was originally adopted in 1939 and was regularly updated and amended as the ALA deemed necessary. It currently consists of seven basic principles which provide general guidelines for overall library services. The complete text of the ALA Library Bill of Rights can be found at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

The ACRL/ALA Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries was first approved by the ACRL Board of Directors in 1999 and fully adopted in 2000 by the ALA Council. It states that a “strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections, services, and instruction that dispassionately meets the education and research needs of a college or university community” and currently includes twelve enumerated principles relevant to library policies. The complete text of the ACRL/ALA Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries can be found at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/intellectual

The ALA Freedom to Read Statement was first adopted in 1953 jointly by the ALA Council and the Association of American Publishers Freedom to Read Committee. It was updated and amended by the ALA during subsequent years. It is endorsed by numerous organizations such as the Association of American University Presses, the Freedom to Read Foundation, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and others. The statement offers general support of the freedom of expression, non-censorship, the free exchange of ideas and the dissemination of the widest diversity of viewpoints and expression as possible. The complete text of the ALA Freedom to Read Statement can be found at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/freedomreadstatement

Collaborative Collections and Resource Sharing

The library actively engages in the development of collaborative collections, resource sharing, and collaborative acquisition activities due to the tremendous cost savings they provide.  Because of budgetary restrictions, libraries have long acknowledged that developing comprehensive collections is a financial impossibility.  Therefore libraries will increasingly explore activities related to collaborative collections and cooperative collection development. 

The library is a full partner in the Michigan Shared Print Initiative (MI-SPI).  MI-SPI is a shared print monograph retention program which currently involves a total of eleven public university academic libraries.  It is administered through the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS).  For more information on the current MI-SPI program, see https://www.mcls.org/engagement/mi-spi/

The library actively participates in group purchases and subscriptions through MCLS due to the efficient pricing and licensing that consortium purchasing offers.  The library also participates in MeLCat, a state-wide resource sharing book program among numerous Michigan libraries.  Through traditional interlibrary loan (ILL) the library Circulation Services and Resource Sharing department provides access to journal articles and books that are not owned by the library.  The Circulation Services and Resource Sharing department also furnishes ILL data to the library faculty to assist in journal subscription decisions.

Collecting Intensity Levels

Materials are selected in subject areas represented within the University curriculum.  The collecting intensity levels within each subject area are determined by the depth of materials needed to support the various degree programs and level of degrees offered.  The library collects within three levels of intensity based on the level of degrees offered, a bachelor’s level degree, master’s level degree, and doctoral level degree.  An additional factor of consideration is enrollment levels within the degree programs.  These collecting intensity levels are aspirational in nature and are fulfilled as funding permits.

Bachelor’s level

This level of collecting provides basic academic resources to support the primary topics within respective subject areas.  These materials include a broad range of basic research works in all appropriate formats, key journal titles within disciplines, selected seminal and classic materials, reference tools, indexing and abstracting services, and bibliographic resources.

Master’s level

Beyond the resources collected to support undergraduate degrees, master’s degree level programs call for more advanced level research materials, additional selected journals beyond key titles within disciplines, a significantly higher quantity of seminal and classic works, and additional resources to support more extensive examination of research conducted within the discipline.

Doctoral level

This level of collecting includes major published research that would be required to support the production of dissertations and independent research studies. Included in this level of collecting could be specialized monographs, an extensive collection of academic journals including elite research journal titles, historical materials and specific indexing and abstract services as needed.

General and Electronic Resources Selection Criteria

The following are the general selection criteria to take under consideration when evaluating materials to add to the collection.

  • Cost
  • Support of the curriculum
  • Appropriate to level of collection intensity needed
  • Quality of scholarship
  • Authority and reputation of author, publisher, or vendor
  • Strength of current holdings within subject area or related subject areas
  • Positive reviews from credible sources
  • Lack of duplication
  • Multidisciplinary nature
  • Documented demand
  • Language--Library only collects English language materials except for materials supporting the Modern Languages department
  • Currency
  • Comparison to neighboring university library holdings relative to applicable resource sharing options

In addition to the general selection criteria, the following are selection criteria to take into consideration when evaluating electronic resources to add to the collection.

  • Cost
    • One-time
    • Continual
    • Maintenance
  • Availability of consortium pricing and purchasing
  • Updating frequency and associated costs
  • Quality and authority of content
  • Potential number of users or overall general usage
  • Usability of interface
  • Multiple or unlimited user options
    • Broad availability to primary patrons
  • Functionality of resource for text, graphs, illustrations, formulae, etc.

The following are the vendor related criteria to take into consideration when evaluating electronic resources to add to the collection.

  • Vendor reliability
  • Vendor support
  • Vendor integrity
  • IP recognition
  • Other remote access capability
  • Interlibrary loan allowance
  • Compatibility with discovery platforms and link resolvers
  • Additional hardware and/or software requirements
  • Licensing terms
    • Walk-in users
  • Availability of trial period (preferably more than 30 days)
  • COUNTER compliant usage statistics
  • Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

Journal Selection Criteria

The following are the journal selection criteria to take under consideration when evaluating serials to add to the collection. 

  • Cost
  • Support of the curriculum
  • Appropriate to level of collection intensity needed
  • Quality of scholarship, publisher, and journal reputation
  • Strength of current holdings within subject area or related subject areas
  • Positive reviews from credible sources
  • Lack of duplication
  • Multidisciplinary nature
  • Documented demand
  • Language--Library only collects English language materials except for materials supporting the Modern Languages department
  • Interlibrary loan history
  • Discoverability
  • Indexing and abstracting services to which library subscribes
  • Date coverage from aggregators
  • Impact factor
  • Number of issues per volume
  • IP recognition
  • Post cancellation access
  • Format--Electronic format is preferred over print unless it is cost prohibitive. Print will be considered if electronic format is insufficient for illustrations, charts and graphs, pdf is not available, and post cancellation is not offered in any configuration.

Reference Collection

The selection of reference materials is based on the same criteria that govern the selection of other library materials.

 A reference collection is maintained to supply quick answers to ready reference questions, to provide subject overviews for library users, and to support teaching and research. Reference sources are designed to make information look-up easy rather than to be read comprehensively. Items usually designated for reference include: abstracts, almanacs, atlases, biographical dictionaries, catalogs, concordances, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, gazetteers, indexes, and statistical compendia.

Selection criteria for reference sources include accuracy, currency, and ease-of-use. In many cases, e-formats are preferred over the print, however, the following factors must be taken into consideration when selecting format: 

  • ease-of-use of each format,
  • stability of online service as well as reference titles,
  • limited number of simultaneous users, and
  • price as well as licensing issues.

Born-Digital and Digitized Collections

OU Libraries’ digital collections are developed in alignment with university and library-wide priorities and are dedicated to the long-term collection, maintenance, delivery, and preservation of a wide range of digital resources for Oakland University and users worldwide.

Our digital collections are composed of unique content from collections held by the libraries or OU Archives. Digital collections may be assembled through digitization of selected analog materials or through the transfer of born-digital content.

Copyright-protected digital content may be included in OU Libraries’ digital collections when accompanied by an agreement from the copyright owner which grants the library non-exclusive rights to manage and share digital objects.


The creation and management of digital collections represent a significant investment of resources. OU Libraries have established careful selection processes to ensure projects align with our mission and our ability to provide long-term access and support.

New digital projects are reviewed, recommended, and prioritized by the OU Libraries’ Digital Strategies Team. When considering a new project, the team will consider the project and its materials:

  • Current and potential users
  • Relevance to University and library mission
  • Demand
  • Significance
  • Preservation needs
  • Funding sources
  • Specifications and formats
  • Copyright status
  • Organization and metadata

Open Access

Oakland University Libraries are committed to the principles of open access, as outlined in the IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation. By making resources freely available on the public internet, Open Access publishing supports free exchange of information and ideas vital to scholarly discourse.

OU Libraries provide access to selected open access materials in our collections and selectively support open access initiatives within the publishing industry, with the goal of benefiting the greater scholarly community.

Selection of OA Materials to Library Collections and Discovery

Primary responsibility for selection of open access materials rests with the subject liaison librarians.

OU Faculty are invited to recommend for inclusion in the collection any open access resources in the fields of their particular expertise to their subject liaison.

In addition to the selection guidelines for all materials, the following criteria will also be considered in the selection of open access materials:

  • Quality
  • Authoritativeness
  • Objectivity
  • Currency
  • Technical functionality                                                                                                       
  • Ease and feasibility of maintenance                                           

Open access materials may be reviewed for accessibility and ongoing appropriateness to ensure continued functionality, suitability, and continued relevance to the curriculum of the university. Materials may be considered for withdrawal if they have become obsolete, are no longer freely available, or no longer meet the selection criteria.


Purchasing Datasets

All patron requests for dataset purchases will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the Research Data Librarian, Collections Librarian and the relevant Liaison Librarian(s).

Datasets will be evaluated based on:

  • Cost (including any recurring costs)
  • Licensing and other legal issues (Licenses that restrict dataset use to a single user, project team, department, or school will not be purchased)
  • Quality of accompanying documentation
  • Authoritativeness, accuracy, and currency relative to researcher needs
  • Research or curricular interest to the OU community
  • Technical requirements
  • Ease of use

Collecting Datasets

OUR@Oakland, Oakland University’s institutional repository, can be used to preserve and disseminate datasets created by OU researchers. Datasets can be deposited by all OU faculty, graduate students, departments, staff members or centers associated with the OU. Datasets submitted to OUR@Oakland will be made available for re-use by anyone.

OUR@Oakland does not accept the following types of datasets:

  • Data that contain personally identifiable information or other legally protected information
  • Data that are encrypted
  • Administrative data (unless it’s being used for research purposes)

It is preferred that datasets are deposited into OUR@Oakland in open, nonproprietary formats. Proprietary formats that are commonly used (such as Microsoft Office applications) are also acceptable. See OUR@Oakland page on file formats for more information.

Additionally, researchers must hold the copyright or have the secured the necessary rights or permissions from the copyright holder before deposition. Datasets should be deposited once the research project is completed. Revisions or changes to the dataset can’t be made after deposition.


The library welcomes the opportunity to review with potential donors the possibility of contributing materials to our collection. The library does not accept unsolicited donations.

The library does not accept the following types of gift materials:

  • Textbooks
  • Popular magazines
  • Mass-market publications
  • Self-published books
  • Journal issues
  • Material in poor condition (e.g. brittle, heavily marked, highlighted, etc.)
  • Superseded formats (e.g., cassette tapes, VHS tapes, 8-track tapes)
  • Material that might cause the Library to be liable for copyright infringement (i.e., illegally copied audio and video recordings).

Decisions on whether or not the materials will be accepted for the collection will be made by appropriate library faculty. Please see https://library.oakland.edu/policies/gifts.html for more detailed information regarding gifts to the library.

Faculty Publications

The library endeavors to collect scholarly monographs authored or edited by Oakland University faculty. This includes book chapters. The general selection criteria for evaluating materials to add to the collection also applies to faculty publications. Faculty publications are acquired by the following means, listed in order of priority:

  • The University Research Office provides financial support to faculty for faculty purchases of copies of their books. This funding requires faculty to give one copy to the library, https://www.oakland.edu/research/faculty-funding/
  • Personal donation from faculty.
  • Purchase from departmental allocations at the discretion of the appropriate library faculty members.

Deselection Criteria

Periodic deselection of materials from the library collection is necessary in order to keep the collection current and physically accommodate newly-acquired materials. To assist in print monograph deselection considerations, the library participates in the Michigan Shared Print Initiative (MI-SPI), a collaborative shared print weeding and retention program. MI-SPI allows for deselection of widely-held print monographs in relation to collaborative retention requirements and overall retention of rare items. The following are the deselection criteria to take into consideration when evaluating which materials should be withdrawn from the collection. Some of these criteria are not necessarily applicable to all disciplines.

  • Support of the curriculum
  • Quality of scholarship or publisher
  • Strength of comparative holdings within subject area or related subject areas
  • Usage
    • Zero or few circulations
    • Last date of circulation
  • Overlap with other library holdings
  • Core resources within a discipline
  • Historical value
  • Local value
  • Monograph volume in a series
  • Physical condition of item
  • Currency
  • Earlier or outdated editions
  • Multiple copies no longer needed
  • MI-SPI retention commitment for item
  • Stable electronic equivalent


February, 2019

Created by Name / Updated on March 6, 2019 by Name

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