DePaul University Library > About > Policies > Collection Policies

Collection Policies

The purpose of these policies is to provide the DePaul community with information about how the collection of the DePaul University Library is built and maintained.

Policies pertaining to a specific material format are listed first, followed by a section on policies that apply across formats.

Books

  • Print books: When possible, the Library acquires monographs in hardcover format. If hardcover format is not available or is cost prohibitive, the paperback version will be acquired. Used version of books will only be purchased if new versions are not available and if a copy in very good condition can be acquired. 
  • E-books: The Library can only purchase e-books that are available for academic institutions to license. This currently rules out most popular reading materials and items that are considered to be textbooks, as well as many older texts. However, the Library does purchase e-books for the collection and faculty are welcome to indicate that they would like a requested text to be purchased in e-book format, if available. Licenses for e-books often come with use restrictions, including limits on simultaneous users.

Journals

  • Preference for Online: The Library’s preference is to move to online versions of journal subscriptions where this is not cost prohibitive. However, Liaison Librarians do have some discretion in this area and can request to keep a subscription in print if this is a better fit for the content.
  • Criteria for Online Access: The Library does not subscribe to online journals that only offer username/password access rather than providing IP based access and, when possible, avoids models that provide a limited number of seats for the content.

  • Offsite Shelving: All print journals that the Library does not have active subscriptions to are shelved offsite. For active print subscriptions, the last ten years are kept on-site.  Volumes shelved offsite can be requested through the Library’s online catalog.

Databases

  • Criteria for Online Access: Whenever possible, the Library avoids subscribing to databases that require users to create their own personal logins to access the content rather than allowing IP based access. While unlimited simultaneous access to database content is the Library’s preferred model, subscriptions to resources with limited numbers of seats will be considered where doing so is necessary either to access important content or due to budget constraints.

Videos

  • Physical Copies: DVD is the Library’s standard format for video content and materials in VHS format will no longer be routinely purchased. The library does not purchase video discs in Blu-ray format, and lacks the equipment necessary to play them. When the vendor sells a separate version of the DVD for academic institutions, this is the version that will be purchased and it will typically come with performance rights and be much more expensive than a copy available for individual purchase.
  • Streaming Video: For online and hybrid classes, streaming licenses can be pursued if the Library has an existing contract set up with the streaming vendor.  The Library will purchase a single year license when that option is available. For in person classes, streaming licenses for individual titles will only be pursued in exceptional circumstances, although all classes are welcome to use streaming video content in the Library’s existing collections.​​​

Microform

  • The Library purchases content in microfilm or microfiche format on a limited and selective basis, where this allows continuation of existing sets and series. However, because such materials require the use of specialized equipment, this is not the preferred format for the acquisition of new content.

Music Scores

  • The Library collects both scholarly and performance editions of music scores in support of the School of Music's programs and curriculum. General exceptions include: conductor's scores; orchestral, band or choral parts; and sheet music of current popular music. The library does not currently purchase electronic editions of music scores.

Sound Recordings

  • The Library uses CDs as its standard for purchasing physical copies of music recordings. Legacy collections (including audio tapes and LPs), along with appropriate playback equipment, will be maintained by the Library, but new or donated items will not be added to these collections.

Policies Pertaining to all Material Formats

  • Alumni Publications: Alumni publications are not actively purchased. If donated, these will be reviewed using the same criteria as other donated titles.

  • Binding: Materials acquired in paperback format will be processed and added to the collection without commercial binding. However, exceptions are routinely made for oversize titles, music scores, art titles and reference titles.

  • Damaged Materials: Materials that are repairable and which meet set criteria for age and usage will be automatically sent out for offsite repair, then re-shelved upon their return. Materials not meeting these criteria, or which would require replacement, will be subject to review by Liaison Librarians.

  • Dissertations & Theses: For older dissertations and theses of DePaul students that the Library received in print format, the Library maintains two copies, one in Special Collections and the other in the circulating stacks. The Library acquires microfilm of DePaul dissertations and theses when submitted to ProQuest and the Library also supports the uploading of electronic versions of dissertations and theses to Via Sapientiae. For questions concerning dissertations and theses posted to Via Sapientiae, please consult the responsible School, College or Department.

  • Donations/Gifts: The full details of these are available in the University Library Gift Policy.

  • Duplicates: The Library avoids purchasing physical duplicates of a title. Exceptions include titles needed at multiple campuses, placed on reserves for multiple sections of a course, university-sponsored reading programs, purchased for the Chicago Collection and faculty publications. If a title is requested in a different format (print or online) than the one that currently exists in our collection, these may be purchased pending Liaison Librarian review and availability of funds.
  • Faculty Publications: The Library purchases works where a DePaul faculty member is listed as the primary author, editor or creator. For these works, typically two copies are purchased:  one for the circulating collection and the other for Special Collections.  Such works are mostly identified and obtained automatically through the Library’s monograph vendor. However, works are occasionally missed in this process.  If this occurs, faculty can notify their Library liaison. For works in which a faculty member’s authorship is limited to a single chapter or entry, purchase is at the discretion of the relevant subject liaison. The Library also collects faculty works of all formats, including working papers, e-books, conference and journal articles on Via Sapientiae.

  • Languages: Most of the materials that the Library acquires are in English. In some subject areas, foreign language materials are actively collected though typically only in languages that are taught at DePaul.

  • Materials Rarely Collected: The following types of materials are rarely collected by the Library: Textbooks, self-published materials, review copies, study guides, curriculum kits, paper-based maps, psychometric instruments, and business case studies.

  • Reserves: Each academic quarter, there is an upper limit of $500 for purchases of reserves materials for a course. Materials that exceed this amount will be forwarded to the relevant Liaison Librarian for consideration. All requests for course reserves materials, including those already owned by DePaul, should be placed through DePaul’s ARES Course Reserves System. The Library will default to purchasing a requested title as an e-book if a version offering access to an unlimited number of users is available unless the requester indicates that only a print version is acceptable. The Library will not purchase e-books for reserves that do not provide access to an unlimited number of simultaneous users. 

  • Weeding: Due to space constraints and the need to keep the Library’s collection useful, relevant and accessible for the DePaul community, the Library periodically engages in weeding activities. Common reasons for a title being weeded include: older editions of new title, duplicate copy of infrequently used work, obsolete content, poor condition. When appropriate, weeded items will be sent to Better World Books.

​​​​​​