Collection Development Policy
Subjects: General Guides

General Selection Criteria

In order to collect materials which will support the current curricular needs of Shepherd University, the Library selects resources based on the following selection criteria:

  • Importance/relevance to the curriculum
  • Contribution to breadth or depth of the collection
  • Selection for review in relevant review media
  • Patron needs, including requirements of special populations
  • Faculty recommendation
  • Bibliographic accessibility: inclusion in important bibliographies, major indexes and abstracting services, syllabi, and databases
  • Value/cost/quality
  • Timeliness of information
  • Depth of coverage and adequacy of scope
  • Authoritativeness and accuracy
  • Appropriateness of format
  • Special features
  • Physical space requirements
  • Maintenance costs

Types of Resources

1. Books: In selecting books, the major emphasis is on acquiring new or current titles, although important retrospective titles may be acquired when appropriate for the collection. The Library will always attempt to obtain the latest edition of a title except in rare instances when an earlier edition may be preferred.

2. E-Books (Electronic Books): Selection of electronic books follow the same priorities applied to books with additional criteria:

  • Compatibility with available software
  • Speed and reliability of access
  • Responsiveness of product/vendor support staff
  • Ease of use; user friendly interface
  • Online reading only or downloading
  • Availability to remote users.

3. Periodicals: In selecting periodicals the following additional criteria will be considered along with the General Selection Criteria:

  • Indexing in available databases
  • Availability at other local libraries
  • Availability through full-text databases
  • Availability of back files
  • Demand by users (college defined), dependent on funds available
  • Recurring/ongoing costs
  • Scope, audience level
  • Accreditation requirements

4. Newspapers: The Library subscribes to a number of local newspapers, national newspapers, and special interest papers. A limited number of newspapers are kept for one year. Back-files will be maintained, when possible, for selected titles.

5. Reprints: Reprints may be purchased when that is the only method of acquiring an important title and no reasonable substitute is available.

6. Paperbacks: Hardbound books are preferred for their greater durability. Paperbacks may be purchased for topics that change rapidly, for books that are frequently updated and replaced, when duplicate copies of a particular book are needed, when demand is expected to be short-lived, when a hardcover is unavailable, or when the cost difference is substantial and the book is not expected to have heavy use.

7. Microforms: The titles on microform are limited to selected back files of Government Documents, periodicals and newspapers.

8. Atlases, Maps and Globes: Atlases and maps will be collected selectively to support general reference and research needs. The Library purchases individual maps, map sets and atlases in both print and online formats in accordance with general selection criteria. Outdated maps will be retained only if they are of political or historic value.

9. Pamphlets: The Library does not routinely acquire pamphlets. When, on occasion, such items are added, they will be cataloged and shelved with books.

10. Musical scores: Musical scores or songbooks will be acquired only as necessary to represent areas such as musical or cultural history and will not be purchased as performance materials.

11. DVDs: In choosing DVD's for the collection, the following will be considered in addition to the General Selection Criteria.

  • Copyright/licensing issues
  • Cost/Value/Quality
  • Longevity
  • Format
  • Curricular support vs. leisure

12. Audio: In choosing audio materials for the collection, the following will be considered in addition to the General Selection Criteria.

  • Copyright/licensing issues
  • Cost/Value/Quality
  • Longevity
  • Format
  • Unabridged rather than abridged material
  • Curricular support vs. leisure

13. Online databases 

  • Value/cost/quality
  • The relationship of the database to the Library's print and other holdings
  • Usability and ease of access
  • Licensing requirements
  • Extent of coverage
  • Data capture ability (print, email, download)
  • Importance of the resource to the academic discipline(s) and the level of expected use
  • Comprehensiveness, durability, and accuracy of the database
  • Currency of the information and update schedules
  • Improvement or enhancement the resource will give to existing print collection
  • Long-term viability of resources for preservation purposes
  • Accessibility of the resource under present copyright laws and licensing agreements
  • Availability from the vendor of usage statistics which are in compliance with ICOLC
  • Availability and adequacy of documentation
  • Ability to provide off-campus access through Proxy Server

14. Web links: In addition to the general selection criteria, the following criteria will be used in selecting Web links:

  • Site is authoritative, credible, and non-commercial (exceptions will only be made for sites of exceptional quality)
  • Site is open to everyone and does not require membership or fees
  • Site is intuitive and easy to navigate, enabling the user to locate a particular page easily
  • Site’s purpose is clearly stated
  • Information about the author, title, and most recent update is clearly identified