Collection Management Policy

The Library provides collections of information resources relevant to research, learning and teaching in the University. It aims to manage the collections dynamically, in response to contemporary user need. Policy for managing the collections is informed by the Library’s strategic planning in support of the University’s academic objectives.

1. Introduction

The Library applies hybrid solutions to the provision of information, supported by an acquisitions policy which includes the purchase of both electronic and print publications. Since 2005, the Library has been actively selecting e-resources as the default format.

The policy establishes the principles by which the Library actively manages the collections, responding to a range of factors, eg evolving teaching and research interests, changes in funding provision, developments in information technology and the availability of expansion space. Collection management encompasses the following key elements:

  • stock selection and purchase of materials, or access to materials, in the most cost-effective way
  • effective storage, display and management of stock to ensure maximum exploitation
  • preservation
  • stock editing

The general principles outlined in this policy provide the framework for the development of more detailed guidelines for specific collections and subject related policies reflecting current and planned research and teaching. Collection management policies for the material in Special Collections are not within the scope of this document.

This document is intended to clarify the policies underpinning the management of the Library’s collections for the benefit of University members and other users of the Library.

2. Selection and Acquisition

2.1 Selection policy

The selection of material is undertaken in partnership between the academic departments and the Library. Each department has a designated library representative who works closely with a subject librarian to ensure that the collection is relevant to the current and anticipated teaching and research needs of their department.

The Library welcomes suggestions for purchase from all members of the University, both academic staff and students. However, budgetary and format constraints may necessitate further discussions with subject librarians and departmental representatives before suggestions can be purchased.

The Library selects material in the most appropriate format with the aim of distributing the information most widely. When choosing an appropriate format the library takes into account issues of accessibility, quality, ongoing access, cost and suitability.

The Library will continue to purchase print material where appropriate, but increasingly it is actively acquiring electronic resources in preference to print, based on the criteria listed previously.

The Library will not exclude material from the Library on the grounds of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or the religious or political views of the author(s).

2.2 Acquisition

The Library purchases material or access to electronic resources in the most appropriate and cost effective way, to support and advance teaching, learning and research throughout the University.

Research material
The selection of research material is the responsibility of academic departments. The Library will purchase material to complement existing collections and add to the research strengths of the department. The Interlending and Document Supply service may be the preferred source for material that is required in the short term for individual research.

The Library will continue to collect, publish and preserve the University’s research outputs by maintaining an institutional open-access repository.

Material to support taught courses
The Library aims to provide sufficient copies of, or online access to, all items required to support taught courses. In order for the library to provide this material, departmental staff need to provide the Library with lists of items for teaching well in advance of the start of the course. Subject Librarians also need to be involved at the planning stage of new courses, in order to ensure that new material will be available for the start of the course.

The Library’s policy is to license online versions of journals rather than print where publishers or suppliers can guarantee secure and permanent access to these titles. Typically, publishers make e-journals available in “bundled” deals; these e-journal packages are beneficial as they provide a range of new titles and value for money.

Interlending and Document Supply
The Interlending and Document Supply service supplements the Library’s resources by borrowing material from other libraries, or obtaining digitised copies of journal articles.

The Library has benefited from gifts of individual volumes and collections in the past, and welcomes donations which fall within the objectives of the Collection Management Policy and which are related to current and continuing teaching programmes or enhance research areas. The Library normally consults with potential donors and requests lists or further details before adding donations to stock. If gifts are accepted, the Library reserves the right to determine location and other considerations related to use, preservation or disposal. Gifts which are inconsistent with the aims of the collection policy will not be accepted.

3. Collection Management

Stock editing
Stock editing is an essential element in active collection management. An ongoing programme of systematic stock review ensures that space is managed effectively. Removing superseded, unused and out of date items from the shelves provides open access space for material relevant to current user needs.

High density shelving
To ensure that material in high demand is readily available on open shelving, less used material that is relevant to current teaching and research interests may be housed in high density shelving on the Lower Ground Floor and elsewhere. 

The Library seeks to ensure that all items added to stock are appropriately protected to withstand the use for which they are intended. All printed materials are security triggered and paperback books are reinforced to increase shelf life.

Damaged items may be repaired in-house, re-bound, or withdrawn and replaced, depending on the most cost-effective approach and user demand.

Course materials
At least one copy of every text appearing on reading lists for taught courses should be purchased for the Library. The Library will automatically order any item on a reading list which is not already in stock. Usage and availability of stock will be maximised through use of varying loan periods, booking and reservation systems and multicopy purchase (including electronic books when available) for items in High Demand. Strict short term loans (24 hour and 3 hour) are used for key texts designated as High Demand.

Theses and Dissertations
Lancaster University regulations demand that a copy of all research theses shall be deposited in the Library. Lancaster theses are archived in the Library and made available for consultation within the Library building. Theses for students registered from October 2011 are also deposited in electronic format. 

Dissertations completed as part of taught masters’ programmes are not held in the Library as a matter of course.

Approved by Library Policy Committee on 3 March 2011. Revised 26 June 2015.