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Selection of Library Materials and Information Resources

One of the primary goals of the University of Iowa Libraries is to “build, organize, and maintain collections that meet the current and future teaching and research needs of all of the University’s programs and that contribute to the discovery, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge, as well as economic development. ” (UI Libraries Strategic Plan 2004-2009)

The University of Iowa Libraries divides responsibility for building the Libraries’ collections among a number of librarians, each of whom is responsible for selecting library resources on one or more subject areas. It is the function of these collection management librarians, or selectors, to determine which books, periodicals, video and sound recordings, electronic resources, and other information sources should be acquired or made available by the Libraries. Selection decisions that fall under the purview of collection management librarians include decisions to:

  1. purchase a resource
  2. subscribe to a periodical or database
  3. choose among or change formats of library resources
  4. accept a gift in kind
  5. request that an online resource be cataloged or otherwise made accessible through the Libraries’ web site
  6. remove or “weed” materials from the collection
  7. cancel subscriptions.

These decisions are made in each case on the basis of the selector’s knowledge of current curriculum needs, faculty research interests, research trends in the relevant subject areas, and the strengths and weaknesses of the collections already in place. Needless to say, communication between the selectors and the Libraries’ users is essential, if the selectors are to have the information necessary for their decisions.

The general criteria used by selectors for the acquisition of information resources at the University of Iowa Libraries are listed below in priority order:

  1. curriculum support
  2. standard source availability (i.e., standard or “core” materials on subjects studied at the University)
  3. faculty research support
  4. graduate student research support
  5. subject representation (i.e., representative materials on major trends in scholarship)
  6. collection continuity (i.e., maintenance of strong existing collections)
  7. inter-institutional agreements (i.e., agreements with other academic libraries to take responsibility for collecting on particular subject areas)

To maximize limited funding, most resources will not be made available in more than one format; in general, electronic versions are preferred for journals, so long as they have reliable and perpetual access.

In selecting and making available information resources, the Libraries will comply with the copyright law and with the provisions of any licenses that are signed on behalf of the University. The Libraries will take reasonable measures to promote copyright and license compliance among its users. The selection of a resource that requires the University to agree to a license is contingent on the acceptability of the license provisions. Within the University Libraries, the acceptability of a license is determined by the Associate University Librarian & Director, Collections and Scholarly Communication or that person’s designee; ultimately, approval of licenses falls under the jurisdiction of the University’s Director of Purchasing.

In selecting and deselecting resources, the Libraries fully subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights, issued by the American Library Association. Among other rights, this statement affirms that no materials shall be excluded because of the origin, background or view on current and historical issues, and that censorship should be challenged.

December 10, 1991

revised January 2003; January 2008