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University Library Collection Policy

The Collection Policy is a planning and management tool.  It gives focus and direction to the selection, maintenance and deselection practices of the University Library across all libraries including branches.

Excluded: Rare Books and Special Collections. Click here for more information about the collecting areas of Special Collections.

Definition of our Collection: Everything we make discoverable and accessible through the Library Discovery Layer.

  • Our Collection Attributes
    • Responsive to the changing learning, teaching and research needs of the University
    • Relevant and well used
    • Fit for purpose for a research University representing the diversity of disciplines
    • Depth in agreed areas of collecting priority.
  • Collection Policy Principles

    The Library will:

    1. Manage a single integrated collection of electronic and physical resources including learning objects and digitised materials.
    2. Select resources to meet the learning, teaching and research needs of the University.
    3. Dynamically manage the collection across all sites.
    4. Evaluate the collection regularly for relegation and disposal.
    5. Employ usage and return on investment measures to evaluate subscribed resources.
    6. Ensure availability of undergraduate learning and teaching requirements.
    7. Preference electronic formats to enhance access to the collection independent of time and location.
    8. Actively consult with the University’s teaching and research communities to determine collection priorities for each discipline area.
    9. Avoid unnecessary duplication of resources.
    10. Supplement collections by providing access to inter-library loan and document delivery services for academic purposes.
    11. Facilitate open access to University of Adelaide research collection publications via an open access repository.
    12. Move lesser-used material to closed and off-site storage.
  • Collection Management Responsibilities

    Library Committee of Academic Board is responsible for:

    • Collection Policy endorsement.

    Library Collections Committee is responsible for:

    • material budget allocations
    • collection strategy and direction
    • major new acquisitions including any substantial donations
    • escalated appraisal decisions.

    University Librarian is responsible for:

    • Collection policy.

    Deputy University Librarian is responsible for:

    • Collection policy development and escalation of implementation issues.

    Acquisitions and Metadata Librarian is responsible for:

    • collection management activities including acquisitions, weeding and relegation
    • collection funds management including endowment and bequests
    • management of donations.

    eContent Services Librarian is responsible for:

    • management of licenced and owned digital resources.

    Access Services Librarian is responsible for:

    • disaster recovery preparedness.

    Research & Branch Librarians are responsible for:

    • consultation and advisory input on required resources to meet teaching and research needs.
  • ePreference Guidelines

    The Digital Collections Policy 2012 is reaffirmed in Collection Policy Principle 7.

    The Library will preference electronic formats to enhance access to the collection independent of time and location.

    Availability, price, demand, platform options, user numbers and licencing restrictions will be considered in relation to the e-preferred principle.

    While the Library will make every effort to purchase electronic materials in preference to print materials, there will be exceptions.

    Examples of possible exceptions:

    • Prescribed textbooks may require one print copy to be purchased for the High Use Collection.
    • Books with significant visual images may be best displayed in print format (eg art and architecture books).
    • Special Collections and Rare Books may require an archival print copy (in addition to an eBook) for titles eligible for the University Collection.
    • Those ebooks only available as part of a collection which the library does not acquire.
    • Those ebooks only available by subscription or through suppliers which do not sell to institutions.

    Non-urgent requests with a delay on the availability of an eBook, should revert to a print copy request after three months.

  • Appraisal Guidelines for Disposal and Relegation

    Appraisal criteria will be reviewed every 3 years.

    These criteria apply to all University Library collections and sites except Rare Books and Special Collections.  Nationally unique items will also be exempt.

    These criteria represent the minimum basis for retention.

    Criteria for Journals and Parliamentary Holdings

    Consider for disposal:

    • Print runs that replicate holdings covered by digital archives; both owned and reliably subscribed.
    • Closed and incomplete print runs with less than 10 year span of holdings.
    • Print holdings that replicate freely available online material.
    • Print runs that do not fit within the parameters of the Library Collection Policy.


      • Back issues of physical journal runs that are not digitally owned or subscribed will be relegated unless there is a specific academic need to consult texts on open shelves.
    Criteria for Books, Government Publications and Other Formats

    Consider for disposal:

        • Duplicated holdings with reference to borrowing activity and course offerings.
        • BSL holdings duplicated in branches or off-site storage.
        • Superseded editions while retaining last copy of superseded text books.
        • Out-dated publications including some directories, standards, technological and medical related content.
        • Obsolete formats (alternatively convert to digital format).
        • Items replicated by owned online versions.
        • Items that do not fit within the parameters of the Library Collection Policy.


      • Material without circulation activity within the past 5 years or 3 years for rapidly developing STEM and health sciences areas.
        • Exceptions may be considered for landmark texts and a specific academic need to consult books on open shelves.
  • Donation Guidelines

    The Library will only accept donations of books and other items including music scores and sound recordings that meet Collection Policy criteria. The Library is more interested in rare and unusual material not generally available.

    The Library does not accept:

    • Items in poor physical condition;
    • Duplicate holdings;
    • Superseded editions of textbooks or reference works;
    • Issues of journals or magazines;
    • Juvenile or children’s literature;
    • Material outside the current parameters of the Library Collection Policy.

    How to donate materials

    Offers to donate library materials should be submitted in writing (via the web, email or letter) using the Library Materials Offer of Donation Form.

    Please do not deliver any items to the Library in advance of submitting your offer. You will contacted to notify the outcome of your offer within 15 working days.

    The form asks you to outline the number and type of items, the general age of publications, the condition of the publications and the general subject areas. Any rare or special items should be listed.

    The Library materials donation form asks you to indicate acceptance of the following conditions:

    Conditions of acceptance
      • Unless determined to be Special Collections materials, donated material will be integrated into the existing collections, and is subject to the same conditions of use and disposal as those collections. The library is not able to accept general donations which have limitations or restrictions on their use or disposal.
      • Donations which are accepted will become the property of The University of Adelaide Library, and may not be claimed back at a later date.
      • Donated items which are not selected for inclusion in the library collections will be disposed of at the library's discretion; this may include transfer to another institution, donation to students or to charity, or recycling.
      • The Library does not cover costs of transport, freight or delivery without prior approval.
      • Significant donations will normally be acknowledged by letter on receipt and, where appropriate, considered for a bookplate with the donor’s name.
    Authorisations and Details:
    Approved: University Librarian 25/5/2016
    Approved: Library Committee of Academic Board 9/3/2016
    RMO File/Document Number 2016/7521
    Policy Custodian University Librarian
    Responsible Officer Deputy University Librarian
    Superseded Policies Collection Relegation and Weeding Policy
    Digital Collections Policy
    Date Effective 1 June 2016
    Next Review Date 2018
    Contact for queries about the Policy

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