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DePaul University Libraries > About > Policies > 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.
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In July 2020, the DePaul University Library collection development policy was changed temporarily to “e-preferred” for books, video, duplicate items, and course reserves to synchronize with the University and Library’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An increased emphasis on access to online content over physical materials was decided upon because of limited on-site staffing, limited hours of operation, and hygiene protocols required for the handling of items.
The following e-preferred collection policy will continue through the end of the academic year 2023 at which time it will be reassessed.
E-preferred does not mean e-only. Under an e-preferred model, library liaisons to academic departments are encouraged to select an online version whenever available. Some examples of exceptions include print format books specifically requested by faculty, titles for which an online version does not exist, or when purchase of an online version is not offered to institutions.
Under an e-preferred model, the Library will purchase e-books instead of print books when an online version is available. Some examples of exceptions include print format books specifically requested by faculty, titles for which an online version does not exist, or when purchase of an online version is not offered to institutions. E-books are temporarily preferred especially for course reserves because print books take longer to receive (if not already owned), take longer to process, and offer only limited access, i.e., building use only.
The e-book format is temporarily preferred over print primarily because of the greater accessibility offered to those patrons off-campus. However, not all print titles have an online equivalent. Not all e-book publishers sell to academic institutions. Some e-books have digital rights management (DRM) restrictions that limit options for printing, checking out, or accessing content for those users with disabilities. In such cases, library liaisons will apply their expert judgement in selecting the more appropriate format.
Streaming video is the preferred format for all courses regardless of teaching mode (online, hybrid, or in-person). 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 Blu-ray or DVD copy, if available.
The library will not offer full digitization of media for course reserves based on guidance from the DePaul Office of General Counsel on Fair Use guidelines and the Teach Act. Under the law, up to 10% of an audio or visual material may be digitized (as a reasonable and limited portion of media). The library is also permitted to create digital copies of damaged, rare, or out-of-print physical items from its collection, if the digital version is not available for purchase. For more information on copyright, please see the University's policy on Copyright and Fair Use and the Teaching Commons page on Copyright and the Classroom.
Physical video formats (Blu-ray and DVD) will only be purchased when online streaming video options are not available to academic libraries or are cost-prohibitive. Blu-ray is the library's default physical video format; the library will only purchase DVDs when Blu-ray discs are not available. Blu-ray discs and DVDs will be able to be placed on reserve for students to watch in the library.
DVDs with public performance rights will only be purchased when it is the only purchase option available—with the understanding that public performances of a video/DVD in a face-to-face classroom is an exception to the public performance right §110 (1) and therefore lawful.
If public performance rights are required for a screening, they must be secured by the sponsoring department or organization.
If it is unclear whether you need to secure PPR, please seek guidance from DePaul's Office of General Counsel.
When needed for electronic course reserves, the Library will purchase a duplicate e-book copy of a print format book already in the collection.
All requests for course reserves materials—including those titles already owned by DePaul—should be placed through the Library’s Course Reserves System. The reserves spending cap for individual courses is $500. Requests for materials that cost cumulatively in excess of this amount will be forwarded to the Acquisitions & Collections Coordinator for consideration.
The Library will default to purchasing a requested title as an e-book with unlimited concurrent users when that option is available. However, e-books are often available with only a single-user option or limited to 3 concurrent users at most. The Acquisitions & Collections Coordinator will monitor reserve requests for e-books limited to 1 or 3 concurrent users and approve the purchase of additional copies if needed.