DePaul University Libraries > About > Policies > Collection Development

Collection Development


This page provides the DePaul community with information about how the collection of the DePaul University Library is built and maintained. The Collection Development Department believes it is essential for libraries to be transparent about the policies that guide the acquisition of new materials. 

By sharing our policies with the community we hope to better inform our patrons about the materials in their library and the guidelines we follow in order to serve all of our patrons to the best of our ability.

Temporary Policies Enacted Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic:


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.

E-preferred does not mean e-only. Under an e-preferred model, liaisons will be encouraged to 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, has limited print runs, etc.
 

Reasons for temporarily enacting an e-preferred policy include:

  • Greater accessibility for students who are unable to travel to the library, students/faculty who meet the CDC’s People Who Need to Take Extra Precaution or others who feel uncomfortable entering a public building, etc.
  • Technical Services staff will have greatly reduced on-campus hours to ensure the health and safety of staff. As a result of reduced in-person hours, extended shipping times, backlogs, material quarantine periods, and new library systems and workflows, Technical Services cannot provide timeframes for the purchase, receipt, processing, and availability of new physical materials to patrons. 
  • Handling of fewer physical items, especially reserve items with short loan periods and multiple course users, means minimizing staff and patron risk of exposure.
  • Books cannot be sanitized without potentially damaging them, so returned items must be quarantined for 72 hours before another patron can check them out. This further reduces the time that patrons can access print materials.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Library will purchase an e-book duplicate of a print book already in the collection if needed for course reserves.

The suggested upper limit for individual course reserves items during July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 remains at $500 so that there are funds available for every course in need of course reserves items. Materials that exceed this amount will be forwarded to the Coordinator of Collections & Scholarly Resources 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 available. E-books offering access to DRM-free and unlimited concurrent users are preferred. However, e-books with 1 or 3 concurrent users may be purchased if there is not an unlimited user option available to academic libraries. The Coordinator of Collections & Scholarly Resources will regularly monitor e-books with 1 or 3 concurrent users and will purchase additional copies if needed.

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