Faculty recommendations for purchase of library materials are essential to ensure that the collections fulfill this purpose from three perspectives. First, faculty know what library materials they will make use of in their teaching and research. Second, faculty know the scope of student assignments requiring use of library materials. Third, faculty know the importance of current research as well as historically important research in their disciplines, and this expertise is important in maintaining a longitudinally sound collection in disciplinary areas. Thus we encourage both full-time and part-time faculty to request books, periodicals, videos, DVDs, CDs, and other library materials that will meet these needs. The Acquisitions Librarian maintains a list on the library's website of selected databases, directories, and retail websites to assist faculty in selection and verification of materials in a variety of formats. Faculty may ask the reference librarians to compile a selective bibliography of works on a given topic as an aid in collection development.
Library faculty and professional staff also recommend materials for purchase, usually in response to demonstrated or anticipated demand from students. Library faculty and professional staff are most active in developing the reference collection, the periodicals collection, and the electronic resources that comprise the library website.
Materials purchased with library funds become college and library property. They are available for circulation or use in the library for all library patrons.
General Selection Guidelines
The Lorette Wilmot Library acquires materials for its collections in light of the following priorities:
- To provide students with materials supporting their Nazareth College coursework.
- To provide faculty with materials supporting their teaching and research activities.
- To provide the academic community with intellectual and informational materials of general interest.
- To provide faculty and staff with materials to support professional development.
- To provide the College community with materials for leisure use.
Recognizing the priorities stated previously, the library selects those materials that meet the following criteria:
- They contribute to the development and maintenance of subject collections that support the College curricula.
- They support instruction-related subject areas or topics for which greater demand exists than the current collection can meet.
- They provide information that is current and authoritative or otherwise is of substantial interest.
- They represent the format, treatment, level of difficulty and language that best meet the research, teaching, and learning needs of our students or faculty.
- They can be acquired at a cost that is reasonable in relation to anticipated use and need.
Materials reported missing from the collection will be replaced promptly if needed for teaching or research. Otherwise, the library does not automatically replace items that are lost or damaged. Criteria considered include projected demand, currency, and availability. The Acquisitions Librarian will consult the original requester if possible when there is doubt about replacement.
Selection Guidelines for Specific Types of Materials
Books normally will be considered for selection on the basis of recommendations from faculty, library staff, students, and other members of the Nazareth College community. When a book is available in both hardcover and quality paperback editions, the hardcover edition will be purchased if the book is a seminal work or is expected to receive frequent use, as long as the difference in price is not excessive. Otherwise, the library will purchase a quality paperback edition and reinforce the cover or send it to a bindery for a hard cover. Books by Nazareth College faculty are purchased in hardcover when available and are located on the faculty publications shelves.
The library normally will purchase only a single copy of a book, though a standard exception may be made for a book selected for use on course reserve. The library normally will purchase books in the English language, though a standard exception will be made for books in support of foreign language courses. If a new copy of a requested book is not available, a used copy in excellent condition will be sought.
The library maintains a collection of reference books that normally are consulted for discrete information, may require assistance from a reference librarian in their use, and individually may be of use to many people during any given period of time. The reference collection includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, directories, handbooks, bibliographies, and other books that rarely are read from cover to cover. Many such titles are published in annual editions and thus for the purpose of selection are considered to be "other serials", addressed below. The Reference Coordinator has primary responsibility for selecting reference books and keeping the collection up to date.
An increasing number of reference works are being published in electronic format on a website as well as, or rather than, on paper. The online version normally offers several significant advantages, including simultaneous use by multiple individuals even of the same page; remote, around-the-clock access; keyword searching and hyperlinks within the text. In addition, the web-based electronic format can include enriched content and immediately reflect revisions to content. Thus, if all other factors are equal, the web-based electronic format of reference works will be acquired rather than the paper edition.
The advantages of the online version of reference works, however, normally come at a steep increase in cost1. If this is the case, the following factors will determine whether the web-based electronic format or the paper edition will be purchased:
- Advantages offered by the online version.
- Importance of the work.
- Difference in price.
While the library includes two small special collections of books, it does not purchase rare books or normally accept them as gifts. Should a book added to the general collection subsequently be identified as rare, the library staff will consult with faculty in related disciplines or programs to decide whether to move the book to the Rare Book Room or offer it to another library with a related rare book collection. New books by or about Thomas Merton and his work are purchased annually and located in the Merton Room.
The library normally does not purchase textbooks, particularly those in current use for a course2. Exceptions include textbooks that are considered to be classic works of their field or that represent the best sources of information on a topic.
The library rents a rotating collection of current fiction and general non-fiction books to support the recreational reading interests of the college community. The rental collection is shelved separately to facilitate browsing. Books in the rental collection that are borrowed frequently may be purchased for the general collection at modest cost. Rental books that cease circulating are returned to the vendor.
Serials include periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters) and other categories of continuing publications, such as annuals and monographic series. The library establishes and maintains serial subscriptions and standing orders with great care, since serials tend to involve long-term, often expensive commitments as well as significant issues of access, preservation, and storage. Periodicals and other serials should meet the criteria stated previously under "General Selection Guidelines". Departments and programs are encouraged to conduct a comprehensive review of periodical subscriptions, standing orders, and serial back files at five-year intervals. Library staff upon request will provide reports to facilitate this review.
New subscriptions to periodicals may be requested at any time. Requesters will be asked to indicate the preferred:
- Coverage, e.g., current year, eventual 5-year back file, cumulative back file.
- Medium, e.g., electronic, paper, paper + electronic, microfilm back file.
- Electronic format (if desired), e.g., page image, text + graphics, text only, along with any links to citation database(s).
Requests for new subscriptions that are accompanied by a recommendation to cancel subscriptions to periodicals supporting the respective discipline or program that will offset the cost normally will be honored, perhaps with some adjustment to the preferences stated. New subscriptions to periodicals also may be added by the library staff following a year in which the cost of royalties paid for articles obtained through interlibrary loan approaches or exceeds the cost of an annual subscription for a given title. Other requests will be evaluated in terms of cost, quality, faculty interest, and collection balance. Those approved will be held subject to funding in the next fiscal year. When desired by the requester or library staff and funds are available, the library will purchase the most recent three completed years or volumes of a newly subscribed periodical.
Electronic format has become the medium for periodicals preferred by students, with faculty in many disciplines and programs concurring. In addition to the evaluation criteria for new subscriptions noted above, requests for electronic periodicals may be reviewed for comparability with the paper publication, linking capabilities, archiving policy, length of back files, availability of usage statistics, and terms of access. There currently are four types of electronic periodical subscriptions: publisher collections, aggregator collections, full-text databases, and individual subscriptions3. In most instances when the library gains access to a periodical in electronic format, a record for the title in the library catalog will include a link to the electronic volumes available. Periodicals subscribed to in electronic format will be linked to databases that provide citations for them whenever it is technologically and financially feasible.
One of four anomalies about electronic subscriptions may lead the library to maintain a paper subscription as well for a given title in high demand. Some significant content from the paper issues may not be included. The format may be limited to text without graphics, rather than page image. Access to back files may not be guaranteed. Or the current several months or even few years may be withheld.
Some publishers offer online access at no additional cost with a print subscription. If the publisher in a subsequent year applies an additional cost for online access with a print subscription, renewal of the print with online subscription will be subject to available funds.
Continuing subscriptions to periodicals will be reviewed at regular intervals to identify titles that have been added to licensed collections or full-text databases, titles for which subscription in an alternative medium might have become preferable, or titles experiencing such low recorded use as to call into question the value of the on-going investment. If an annual increase in the library's materials budget does not keep pace with the increase in the cost of its periodical subscriptions, faculty may be asked to identify for cancellation some titles supporting their academic program.
Back files of periodicals subscribed to in paper will be retained in paper and may be commercially bound for:
- Core titles in the discipline, titles for which only a short locally held back file is needed.
- Titles that experience exceptionally high use with the integrity of volumes maintained.
- Titles with illustrations that are rendered unsatisfactory in microform.
- Titles that are unusually expensive in microfilm.
Otherwise, 35mm positive microfilm will be purchased for desired back files of periodicals subscribed to in paper4.
At the discretion of requesting faculty or library staff, periodical back files in electronic format may be preferred over paper or microfilm. Subscriptions to electronic back files will be maintained in such instances when there is good reason to believe that access will be stable for the duration required and the cost is reasonable in relation to that for other formats.
The library maintains a small browsing collection of current issues of selected periodicals on the main floor. The titles include several local, regional, and national newspapers, as well as a selection of magazines representing various categories of popular reading. The magazines are duplicate subscriptions.
The library considers requests for continuing orders for new editions of annual publications that are revised significantly or new titles in monographic series from faculty, library staff, students, or other members of the Nazareth College community. Such requests are evaluated in terms of the "General Selection Guidelines" and the considerations for serials, both noted previously.
An increasing number of annuals are being published in electronic format on a website as well as on paper. The online version normally offers several significant advantages, including simultaneous use by multiple individuals even of the same page; remote, around-the-clock access; keyword searching and hyperlinks within the text. In addition, the web-based electronic format can include enriched content and reflect revisions to content as soon as they are approved. Thus, if all other factors are equal, the web-based electronic format of annual publications will be acquired rather than the paper edition.
Most publishers and distributors, however, charge a substantial premium for the greater utility of annual publications online. If this is the case, the following factors will determine whether the web-based electronic format or the paper edition will be purchased:
- Advantages offered by the online version.
- Importance of the work.
- Difference in price.
Audiovisual materials normally will be considered for selection on the basis of recommendations from faculty, library staff, students, and other members of the Nazareth College community. The library currently acquires materials in the following audiovisual formats: ½" VHS videocassette, DVD, CD, audiocassette, and CD-ROM. In addition to the "General Selection Guidelines" stated above, the following considerations guide selection of audiovisual materials:
- A single copy of a work will be purchased in the absence of sustained need for multiple copies.
- Alternate productions of a work may be purchased with pedagogical reason.
- Foreign language productions with subtitles are preferred.
- Expensive films expected to receive rare use may be rented when that option is available.
The library does not accept for the media collection audio or video recordings that could violate copyright law or policy.
Websites, or separately identifiable components thereof, also normally will be considered for selection on the basis of recommendations from faculty, library staff, students, and other members of the Nazareth College community. Reliability of the site will be added to the "General Selection Guidelines" stated above.
The library welcomes monetary gifts to subsidize the purchase of library materials that meet the selection criteria stated above. Within those criteria, the library will attempt to honor requests of donors to use the gift for purchase of materials on specified subjects.
The library also welcomes the opportunity to evaluate potential gifts of books, periodicals, and other pertinent materials. Those items that meet the selection criteria, are in excellent condition, and, with few exceptions, do not duplicate existing holdings will be accepted. The library retains the right to dispose of duplicates and other materials not needed as it deems appropriate, which may include being passed on to interested faculty, an exchange service or book sale. Otherwise, items offered as gifts may be refused.
The Library Director will determine when gifts that include conditions set by the donor should be accepted.
All accepted gifts are duly acknowledged to the donor or person arranging for the donation. According to current College policy, the library may not provide an appraisal of the items for tax or other purposes. The library will provide a letter listing the amount of a monetary gift or the number of titles or items donated.
Collection Maintenance and Evaluation
The faculty of academic programs are encouraged to include evaluation of relevant sections of the library collections, use of materials from those sections, and their spending patterns for library materials at five-year intervals. Subsequent consultation with the Library Director may lead to supplementary funding for collection enhancement or additional annual funds to purchase materials in support of a given program should funds become available. Redistribution of existing funds dedicated to an academic program, whether from one title to another or from one type of material to another, also may be possible.
Culling of materials should be considered during such collection evaluation as well. Faculty of academic programs should assist in identifying materials in their areas of expertise that have become outdated, inaccurate, or disconnected from the curriculum. The reference collection is monitored annually for such materials, particularly as new editions arrive. Multiple copies no longer needed, damaged or deteriorated materials, broken runs of dated periodicals available elsewhere, and obsolete media materials also are candidates for removal. Culled materials are officially withdrawn from the collections and sent to interested faculty, an exchange service or book sale if of general interest and in good condition.
The Lorette Wilmot Library supports the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, as well as the Association of College and Research Libraries' Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries. The library serves an adult population of serious students and researchers who require access to books and other materials that represent a wide range of subjects and points of view. As long as materials meet the selection criteria stated above, they will be considered appropriate for the library collections. Some materials nevertheless may seem objectionable to members of the College community. The librarians will consider adding materials if there is a question of failure to represent adequately a point of view. Requests to remove materials representing a particular point of view on controversial or sensitive topics, however, will be denied.
Specific instances of objection to materials within the library should be addressed in writing to the Library Director, who will provide a written response. If an appeal is desired, it may be presented in writing to the Library Committee and, from there, to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
1. Acquiring the paper edition almost always involves a one-time purchase, with a new edition being purchased every four years or more. Acquiring the web-based electronic format, however, involves an annual subscription. Thus the funds invested in the online version of a work during what would be the useful period of time for the paper edition frequently would represent a 100% to 300% premium.
2. Textbooks normally include information available in other sources and quickly become outdated. Textbooks acquired by the library for the circulating collection while in current use for courses are likely to disappear. Moreover, students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.
3. Publisher collections include all or a thematic subset of the journals from an individual publisher offered at a significant discount from collective retail price and normally subscribed to through a consortium with additional favorable terms. Subscriptions to these collections normally provide unlimited concurrent access. Publisher collections normally offer both searchable and page image formats of content. They normally include the current volumes plus a limited back file. The back file may or may not expand with renewal of the subscription. If the back file does expand during successive years, the price of the collection may increase. Otherwise, a comprehensive back file may be offered as a separate collection. Archival access for the content subscribed to normally is guaranteed.
Aggregator collections come from vendors that provide access to journals in one or more thematic groups from a variety of publishers. In some cases the entire collection must be licensed. In other cases individual thematic groups may be licensed. Aggregator collections, too, provide a significant discount from collective retail price, particularly when subscribed to through a consortium. Subscriptions to these collections normally provide unlimited concurrent access. Aggregator collections normally offer both searchable and page image formats of content. They normally include the current volumes plus a limited back file, though the archival JSTOR and ATLAS collections are exceptions. The back file normally expands with renewal of the subscription. Titles included also may expand, normally with a corresponding increase in price. Archival access for the content subscribed to normally is guaranteed.
Full-text databases are fundamentally citation and abstract databases to which the full text of perhaps 500 to 2,500 of the periodicals has been added for a relatively modest price, particularly when subscribed to through a consortium. Subscriptions to these databases normally provide unlimited concurrent access. Format may be text only, text + graphics, page image, or some combination. The full-text articles provided vary from title to title. Some titles include the current year, while other titles have an embargo period normally ranging from six months to one year. Back files may range from none to many years, though normally they expand with successive years. Publishers may withdraw the full text for their periodicals with little or no notice. Full-text coverage has increased in recent years for many of these databases, sometimes with a corresponding increase in price.
Individual subscriptions to journals in electronic format are available for many titles with varying price structures. The electronic format may be offered with a paper subscription at no additional cost or at a premium that can range from modest to extraordinary, and this can change from one year to the next for any given title. The electronic format may be offered as an option to a paper subscription at a price that can range from slightly less than to extraordinarily more than that for the paper subscription, or it may not be offered independent of the paper subscription at all. In some cases when the electronic format is included at no charge with a paper subscription, access is limited to one concurrent user. Otherwise, access for an unlimited number of concurrent users normally comes with the subscription. Such individual subscriptions normally offer both searchable and page image formats of content. The electronic format, though, may not replicate completely the editorial content of the paper edition. While publishers now provide access to all volumes previously subscribed to in electronic format with a current subscription to a title in electronic format, in most cases there is no guarantee of continued archival access.