UCB Libraries

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III. Policies


A. University Libraries Collection Development Policy

The University Libraries will seek to collect, preserve, and provide access to materials in print and other physical and electronic formats to support the research, teaching, and service mission of the University. The Libraries will seek to select appropriate consortial involvements that will maximize the Libraries’ ability to acquire and access scholarly resources.


The Collection Development Policy of the University Libraries of the University of Colorado, Boulder, seeks to complement the Libraries’ Mission by providing to the University community materials and resources to support instruction, research and scholarship, and public service. A secondary objective will be to provide for Colorado residents resources to support individual, business, cultural, educational, governmental and other information needs. In addition, we hope to create a collection that will, through sharing, benefit the national and international higher education community.


This policy will be administered by means of collection development policies formulated for specific subject areas in order to guide bibliographers in their decisions. These comprehensive documents, established in partnership with the faculty and user communities, will provide a foundation for a coordinated collection development program throughout the Libraries. These collections will be developed based on a continuing analysis of the evolving academic programs, research interests, user needs, and the strengths and weaknesses of the collections already in place. The University Libraries reserve the right to make the final decision on those materials and resources that will be acquired for or deselected from its collections.


In selecting materials, 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.

B. Gifts Policy




The University of Colorado Libraries may accept non-monetary gifts-in-kind that significantly contribute to advancing the instructional, learning and research mission of the University. Such gifts-in-kind are often unique, rare or special collections and may include books, maps, media, archives/personal papers, artifacts, digital content, and other scholarly material. Potential donations must be evaluated by subject specialists prior to acceptance. Materials that duplicate current holdings in the general collections are generally not accepted. Once materials are accepted and received, they become the property of the University of Colorado Boulder. The Libraries reserves the right to make all necessary decisions as to their retention, location, cataloging treatment and other considerations regarding their use and disposition. Exceptions may apply if terms are mutually agreed upon in writing by both the donor and the University Libraries.(Approved 5/17/12)




The University Libraries are mindful of the significant resources required for handling, processing, accessioning, cataloging, preserving, storing and making donated materials available to users. Potential offers of gifts-in-kind must be initially evaluated before acceptance. Potential donors should supply a list of titles to be donated to the appropriate subject specialist. Gifts-in kind of materials should meet the same selection criteria as general collection purchases and be approved by the appropriate subject specialist or department head.

Donations of collections that are exceptional in nature and outside of routine gifts-in-kind must undergo a wider review process. Such collections may require exceptional costs, special handling, technology support or additional resources and must be evaluated in consultation with members from departments or units that will be affected by the potential acquisition, such as Libraries IT, Metadata Services, Preservation, Scholarly Resource Development. Some factors for consideration are listed below.


Exceptional gifts-in-kind may include:
  • large print collections of more than 1,000 volumes
  • collections of mixed media, multi-formats or digital content
  • content with specific technical requirements and hosting needs
  • items or collections that have significant dollar value, over $5,000
  • collections of a foreign language outside of in-house expertise

After all parties have reviewed the potential donation, the subject specialist or department director must write a proposal to be forwarded to the Executive Committee. Final acceptance of an exceptional gift-in-kind must be approved by the Executive Committee.


Factors to be considered for evaluating collections:
  1. Do the materials support teaching and research programs on campus?
  2. Does the donation include items that need special storage and handling?
  3. What are the space requirements and where will the material be housed?
  4. Does the library have the resources available to process the collection? This includes acquisitions processing, preservation review and cataloging.
  5. Are there special technology requirements and support for hosting the collection? For delivering content? For providing access?
  6. Are there other reasons to accept a donation, i.e. famous scholar on campus, potential relationship building for future monetary donations, etc.?
  7. Are there special requirements for collection, i.e. gift plates, limits on use, etc.?
  8. Is the donation attached to a written contract or agreement?

Materials not generally accepted:
  • Titles the Library already owns (unless in high use or an otherwise special edition)
  • Textbooks
  • Popular trade paperbacks
  • Popular magazines
  • Back issues or single issues of periodicals
  • Serials subscriptions
  • Materials in poor condition



  • Once an agreement has been reached with a donor to accept a gift, the Acquisitions Dept. Gift Record form must be completed and returned to Acquisitions. This form provides the information needed for the donor thank you letter, and for processing.
  • A University Gift in Kind Acceptance form, https://www.cu.edu/controller/forms/downloads/Gift_In_Kind.xls must be filled out for gifts if:
    • The gift is valued at $5,000 or greater OR
    • The donor wishes to take a tax deduction for gifts under $5,000 OR
    • The gift is an addition to an existing collection OR
    • The gift has a written contract or agreement attached
  • The subject specialist or library official should fill out the form with information from the donor, then send it to Acquisitions who will be responsible for getting the Dean’s and Controller’s signatures. A copy of the signed GIK form will be scanned into a central database and originals documents kept on file in Acquisition/Resource Management, and/or the Dean’s Office files. The University Gift in Kind Acceptance form must be signed by the Controller BEFORE the gift is received on campus.
  • Acquisitions staff will prepare the thank you letter to the donor to be sent out from the Dean’s Office. Subject Specialists may also want to send a less formal thank you.

  • Shipping:
    The faculty member or subject specialist works with Acquisitions and donor to coordinate shipping and insurance. Donors are generally responsible for the cost of shipping and for providing an estimate of the value of the donation. In some cases Collection Development identifies funds to pay for these costs. Local shipping can often be coordinated with the University Distribution Center.
    Preservation reviews the condition of physical materials briefly upon receipt, especially if the material will be stored at the warehouse. A fuller review of individual items will be performed as the materials are processed by Acquisitions.
    Faculty members sponsoring a donation must communicate with Metadata Services to coordinate cataloging, metadata needs or any assistance to be offered by students or staff outside of Metadata Services. Potential timelines for adding the collection to Chinook may require broader discussion.
    Gifts policy last updated May 21, 2012

C. Collecting Journals in Electronic Format


I. Purpose


As publishers continue to develop electronic publishing capabilities, an increasing number of journals are available in electronic format, either as an alternative or a counterpart to the print version. Some journals are now only available electronically. According to results of CU Libraries user surveys, including the LibQUAL+ survey, faculty and students indicate that research needs for journal literature are changing. Users have a strong preference for the accessibility and convenience provided by electronic journals. As a result of these factors, the Libraries collection of electronic journals has grown dramatically in recent years.


This policy is intended to guide the evaluation and acquisition of the electronic version of journals. This collection policy applies to selecting new subscriptions and provides criteria for the potential cancellation of the print format in favor of the electronic version. This policy focuses primarily on format, access and archival issues. The Libraries objective is to collect the full equivalent of an electronic journal title that is obtained as a paid subscription and to ensure that access to the purchased content is available in perpetuity.


A substantial portion of the Libraries materials budget is allocated to electronic resources. Additionally, there are costs related to the maintenance of print journalsshelving, binding, retrieval and delivery of articles from storage. As budgets change from year to year and inflationary increases spiral it is important that the Libraries seek cost effective strategies for funding annual subscription costs.


The policy of the Libraries is to subscribe to journal subscriptions in one format and to avoid duplicating content and subscription costs. This does not apply to content that may be duplicated in databases where journal titles are aggregated through a single search interface, as those databases change frequently. Electronic journals must meet the criteria outlined below. Print journals should be evaluated according to the criteria for print, also outlined below. Bibliographers are expected to communicate and work closely with academic departments and user needs when evaluating journal formats and new acquisitions. Any exceptions to the policy will be made on a case by case basis by Collection Development.


II. Electronic Journal Criteria


The print version of the journal (or collection of journals) could be discontinued if the electronic equivalent meets all of the following criteria. Some of these criteria can be evaluated by examining the electronic version of the journal, and by visiting the vendors website. Other information will reside in the license, which should be reviewed by Collection Development before a final decision is made.


  • Content: The online journal should contain at least the full scholarly content of the print equivalent. For instance, not only should it include all research articles, but it should also include content such as supplements (if included with the print journal subscription), letters, calls for papers and other professional announcements, editorials, job openings, and book reviews.
  • Timeliness: The full content of each issue should be available online no later than publication of the print.
  • Format: The electronic journal should be provided as PDF files or an equivalent full-image format identical to the print edition.
  • Image and Graphics Quality: The quality of illustrative materials (photographs, tables, figures, artistic renderings, etc.) should be of a standard sufficient to meet intended use and should be at least the quality of such images in the print edition. Bibliographers will consult with appropriate departments and will not cancel print if departmental faculty members have concerns about images.
  • Vendor Reliability: The speed of loading/accessing content must meet Libraries users expectations. Server downtime should be minimal, and vendors should notify the Libraries in advance of scheduled changes and anticipated downtime.
  • IP Access: Access to the electronic version should be provided via campus-wide IP authentication. Resources that require users to login with a username and password will be carefully evaluated on a case by case basis.
  • Printing and Downloading Capability: All content must be printable and downloadable.
  • Stability: There must be a reasonable guarantee of the stability of the electronic journal. Since stability in aggregated databases cannot be guaranteed, such databases will not be considered a substitute for print journals as part of this process. Electronic journals must be subscribed to from the publisher or equivalent.
  • Pricing: Migration to electronic journal should be cost effective.
  • Perpetual access: The Libraries must have a guarantee of perpetual access to paid-for content if we subsequently cancel the electronic journal. Such access must be in the same manner (or equivalent) as provided when we subscribed. It is very important that access continue to be provided in this manner. Leasing of an electronic journal is not sufficient to allow for the cancellation of the print equivalent.
  • Archiving: The vendor should pledge to provide archiving of the electronic content, either in its own archive, via a third-party initiative such as Portico or CLOCKSS, or through other mechanisms outlined in the license.
  • Licensing Terms of Use:
    • The license must not be overly restrictive regarding local use;
    • must allow off-campus use by authorized users and walk-in use by visitors
    • must not be overly restrictive regarding simultaneous users
    • must allow interlibrary loan and fair use of content
    • should allow cancellation of the print.

III. Print Journal Criteria


In addition to the criteria above, the following specific criteria may be considered to warrant retention of a print journal.


  • Function:
    • If the title is especially high profile or is heavily used in print format
    • If research practices or methodologies in a particular discipline dictate the ongoing importance of the use of the print format
    • If the print journal functions better as a browsing journal or current awareness source (perhaps due to poor interface design in the electronic version)
    • If the quality of images or graphics is demonstrably poorer in the electronic journal
    • If the print has significant artifact or aesthetic value
  • Ongoing Access and Archiving:
    • If there is no guarantee that the publisher will continue to provide access to the electronic version beyond the subscription period, in the case of future cancellation or failure of the vendor/publisher
    • If there is no evidence of an institutional commitment to the journals long-term preservation
  • Resource Sharing:
    • If the Libraries has either a consortial responsibility to retain a paper copy or another strong responsibility to retain a print archive of this journal title or the subject area to which it belongs
    • If the license does not allow us to provide interlibrary loan or document delivery services using the electronic format
  • Timeliness and Reliability:
    • If there is significant delay between publication of print and availability of online content
    • If the provider of the electronic journal is technically unreliable
  • Content:
    • If the content of the print differs from that of the electronic (e.g., the print version contains significantly more material than the electronic version). Not only should the electronic version include all research articles, but it should also include content such as supplements (if included with the print journal subscription), letters, calls for papers and other professional announcements, editorials, job openings, and book reviews.

IV. References

Written and Revised by Yem Fong and Heather Wicht; Reviewed by Bibliographers, September 2007


D. Subject Collection Development Policies

    1. American & English Literature
    2. Anthropology
    3. Applied Mathematics
    4. Architecture, Environmental Design, and Planning
    5. Art & Art History
    6. Asian Studies
    7. Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
    8. Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
    9. Business
    10. Chemistry and Biochemistry
    11. Classics
    12. Comparative Literature
    13. Computer Science
    14. Communications
    15. Economics
    16. Education
    17. Engineering
    18. Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology
    19. Film Studies Program
    20. French
    21. General Science
    22. Geography
    23. Geology
    24. Germanic Studies
    25. Gifts-in-Kind
    26. History
    27. Humanities and Social Science Reference
    28. Italian
    29. Journalism
    30. Juvenile Literature
    31. Integrative Physiology
    32. Library Science
    33. Linguistics
    34. Map Library
    35. Mathematics
    36. Minority Studies
    37. Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
    38. Museum Studies
    39. Music
    40. Philosophy
    41. Physics
    42. Physiology
    43. Political Science
    44. Psychology
    45. Religious Studies
    46. Slavic
    47. Sociology
    48. Spanish & Portuguese
    49. Speech, Language, and Hearing
    50. Theatre and Dance (Performing Arts)
    51. Undergraduate
    52. Women and Gender Studies

E. Procedures for Terms of Use Violations