The University of Iowa Libraries

The University of Iowa Libraries

Collection Management

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Selection of Library Materials and Information Resources

The academic mission of the University of Iowa is “to advance scholarly and creative endeavor through leading-edge research and artistic production; to use this research and creativity to enhance undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, health care, and other services provided to the people of Iowa, the nation, and the world; and to educate students for success and personal fulfillment in a diverse world.” One measure of the University of Iowa Libraries’ strategic support of the University’s academic mission is providing access to inclusive, diverse, and distinctive collections and preserving them for future scholars. The collections of the University of Iowa Libraries are a result of close collaboration and commitment by librarians, faculty, and students to build excellent library collections to support diverse undergraduate, graduate, professional and post-doctorate academic programs.

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 to determine which books, journals, 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:

  • purchase a resource
  • subscribe to a journal or database
  • choose among or change formats of library resources
  • accept or decline a gift in kind
  • request that an online resource be cataloged or otherwise made accessible through the Libraries’ web site
  • withdraw materials from the collection
  • cancel subscriptions
  • assess materials suitable for offsite storage

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:

  • curriculum support
  • cost (ongoing or one-time)
  • standard source availability (i.e., standard or “core” materials on subjects studied at the University)
  • faculty research support
  • graduate student research support
  • subject representation (i.e., representative materials on major trends in scholarship)
  • collection continuity (i.e., maintenance of strong existing collections)
  • 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 rights and meet accessibility requirements.

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 with responsibilities for collections and scholarly communication or that person’s designee; ultimately, approval of licenses falls under the jurisdiction of the University of Iowa Purchasing Department.

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; March 2016