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DePaul University Libraries > About > Policies > Collection Development
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.
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From July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021, the DePaul University Library collection development policies for books, video, duplicate items, and course reserves will be temporarily changed to better match the university and library’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer classes will remain online only, and the majority of autumn quarter classes will remain online or in a hybrid on-campus/online model.
To provide the best possible access to the library’s resources, the Library will temporarily adopt an e-preferred policy. Collections Steering and library administration will revisit the e-preferred policy towards the end of autumn quarter to determine if the e-preferred policy will be lifted or remain in place for winter quarter.
Reasons for temporarily enacting an e-preferred policy include:
Temporary Policy: Under an e-preferred model, the Library will select e-books over print books if an e-book version is available. Examples of exceptions include but are not limited to print books specifically requested by faculty, when an e-book version does not exist or is not available to academic libraries, or has limited print runs, etc. Print books are not recommended for course reserves due to significant processing delays.
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.
Temporary Policy: The e-book format will temporarily be preferred over the print book format. E-books provide greater accessibility to patrons off-campus without the need for them to travel to the library. There are some limitations to e-books because some print books do not have an electronic equivalent, some publishers do not have e-book versions available for academic institutions, and some e-books have DRM restrictions (limited printing options, limits on how long an e-book can be checked out, limited accessibility for readers with disabilities, etc.). Liaisons will use their expertise to decide which format to purchase.
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.
Temporary Policy: Physical Copies: DVDs will only be purchased in the event that online streaming video options are not available for academic libraries or are cost-prohibitive. Due to significant receipt, processing, and digitization delays, DVD digitization requests for course reserves must be placed significantly in advance of date needed.
Temporary Policy Streaming videos are the preferred format for all classes, regardless of if they are online, hybrid, or in-person classes. Preferred streaming media platforms include Swank, Kanopy, Academic Video Online (AVON), and Infobase/Films on Demand. If a streaming video option is not available or is cost prohibitive, the Library will purchase a DVD copy, if available. Due to significant receipt, processing, and digitization delays, DVD digitization requests for course reserves must be placed significantly in advance of the date needed.
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 one copy in Special Collections. 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, DePaul's institutional repository. 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.To make a donation, you will first need to fill out the
Library Donation Form. If you would like to discuss your donation prior to filling out the form, please contact the Collection Development Department at Kscheuri@depaul.edu
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.
Temporary Policy: The Library will purchase an e-book duplicate of a print book already in the collection if needed for course reserves.
Works by non-tenure track DePaul faculty (e.g. adjunct faculty, visiting faculty) are not automatically purchased. Non-tenure track faculty may contact their
Library liaison to request that the Library purchase their publication. Purchases are at the discretion of the Library liaison. For works published by non-tenure track faculty, the Library will only purchase one copy for the circulating collection.
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
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.
Publishers have continued to raise prices for journals, databases and other e-resources at unsustainable rates for many years. In order to efficiently manage its budget and support growth areas, the Library must identify a significant number of subscription resources for cancellation. This review has become a consistent requirement among all academic libraries. Subject librarians use specific criteria and usage data to make these determinations. Our frequently asked questions are addressed below.
If you have further questions, please contact one of the Library’s subject specialists, or Kelli Getz, Coordinator of Collections and Scholarly Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publishers of scholarly journals and databases levy annual price increases of 4% to 15% while our budget for these materials remains unchanged. In order to balance our budget, the Library must identify a significant number of subscription resources for cancellation. This review has become a consistent requirement among all academic libraries as publishers' continue to raise their prices at unsustainable rates.
The Library collects and analyzes robust data about usage, pricing and cost per use of our serials subscriptions. Subject librarians used this data and other information to make decisions about possible cancellations. In addition to these data, subject specialists also evaluate each journal based on other criteria, including its relative importance to an academic discipline, whether its content is available from another source such as one of the Libraries’ research databases, and if the Library can obtain the title through interlibrary loan.
Most print subscriptions are based on a calendar year period that straddles our fiscal year. Database renewal dates occur at various times during the year.
We have a robust interlibrary loan program through which faculty and students can gain access to materials beyond our collections. This can mitigate some of the effects of journal cancellations. Learn more about interlibrary loan and other resources for accessing content beyond DePaul.
Typically, after cancelling a current journal subscription the Library will maintain electronic access to previous years if the right to do so was part of the subscription license. Otherwise, we will no longer have access to the archive.
Commitments such as we have had with Elsevier, Wiley, SAGE and Springer are known as "Big Deals" and they have driven much of DePaul’s and the academic library community's purchasing decisions for over two decades.
Big Deals describe multiyear contracts in which a library purchases access to all or nearly all of a publisher's journals at a price based on the library's current subscription costs, and agrees to annual price increases fixed at the outset of the contract.
At the time they were developed, Big Deals were useful to libraries, allowing them to offer more content for a set cost, as opposed to a more limited content offering and no control over annual cost increases.
DePaul provides access to numerous full-text databases such as Academic Search Complete and Business Source Complete. Such databases offer access to the full-text of many diverse journals, magazines and newspapers.
It should be noted that, in some cases, these full-text databases are not an exact substitute for a full subscription to a journal. Coverage may not include every article, letter to the editor, or book review and it may exclude illustrations, charts, maps, and other graphics. Additionally, many of the journals included in these types of databases have embargo periods. This means that the publisher of an embargoed title does not allow the database to release the full-text content for a predetermined length of time (typically 6, 12, or 18 months). After the embargo period is over, the full-text will become available as it does for earlier issues of a journal.
Yes, funds allocated for book purchases have also been reduced in order to meet budget reduction goals. Some high cost/low use databases are also not being renewed.
Library collections are only one of our costs. The Library has already made significant cuts in other areas. We have lost personnel positions, postponed or canceled facilities renovations, and reduced other costs as much as possible. The best library collection is of little value without expert personnel to acquire, describe, maintain, and make accessible our collections. These services require a highly trained professional staff as well as the technology and facilities necessary to offer our services.
We understand how central the library collection is to teaching and learning at the University. We are doing everything we can to mitigate the need for cancellations.
For more information about the serials review please contact one of the Libraries’ subject specialists, or to Kelli Getz, Coordinator of Collections and Scholarly Resources, at email@example.com.