Library Collection Development Policy

  1. Purposes of the Library Collection
  2. Need for a Collection Development Policy
  3. Selection of Library Materials
    1. Responsibility for Selection
    2. Contents of Materials
    3. Level of the Collection
    4. Language
    5. Serials Collection
  4. Acquisitions Criteria
    1. Format of Materials
    2. Edition
    3. Binding
    4. Expensive Items
    5. Number of Copies
    6. Consumables
    7. Co-operation with Other Libraries
  5. Gift and Exchange
  6. Weeding

1. Purposes of the Library Collection

1.1. As stated in the Mission of the Library, it is the responsibility of the Library to provide its users with materials and access to resources for learning, teaching, and research needs, both current and for the future.
1.2. In addition, the Library is responsible for providing materials for general information and reference.
1.3. Thus the Library collection will have a comprehensive coverage of subject fields with emphasis on those included in or closely related to the academic activities of the University.
1.4. The Library may build up special collections focusing on subject fields identified by the University as major research areas. In the long term it is hoped that one (or a few) of these special collections may be further developed to become a unique and the most comprehensive research collection in Hong Kong in that particular subject area.

2. Need for a Collection Development Policy

2.1. Because of the enormous quantity of materials produced annually, and the limited book budget, it is neither possible nor practicable to acquire all of them. A policy statement is needed to give direction to and indicate priorities for the library acquisitions. It provides a framework for the development and maintenance of the collection.
2.2. The Policy is a statement of the Library's aspirations. These aspirations are intended to be realistic rather than idealistic taking into consideration the availability of resources.
2.3. The Policy is intended to raise awareness among the library users of the principles and rationale on which the Library builds its collection.
2.4. The Policy also serves as a day-to-day working tool for the Library staff members in acquiring library materials.
2.5. The Policy helps to achieve co-operation in acquisition and interlibrary lending activities among UGC (University Grants Committee) funded libraries.
2.6. Since the Library has to cope with the dynamic and evolving needs of the University, such a policy should be reviewed and revised as required.

3. Selection of Library Materials

3.1 Responsibility for Selection
3.1.1. The selecting of materials for library purchase is a joint effort of the academic and Library staff members. Academic staff members are mainly responsible for materials that are required for academic activities of the University; the Library staff members for supplementing the recommendations made by their academic colleagues, filling subject gaps, and for general reference and information.
3.1.2. Library users, other than academic staff members, may make recommendations for library purchase.
3.1.3. The ultimate responsibility for acquisitions, directions and policy decisions including suitability, adequacy, and quality of selection rests with the University Librarian.
3.1.4. The Library employs the Books on Approval Plan provided by some book vendors. Subject profiles are compiled by departments/divisions/schools with assistance from the Library. These profiles indicate the scope of the subject range and the acquisition intensity needed.
3.1.5. The Library explores and employs various acquisitions models such as evidence-based selection (EBS), patron-driven acquisition (PDA), and any other solutions when and as appropriate.
3.2 Contents of Materials
3.2.1. Within the terms of this Policy statement and any other guidelines for collection development, the Library will not exclude material on the grounds of political, social, ethnic, sexual, and religious views expressed or presented in it, nor because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. The Library will not attempt to impose censorship based on these grounds.
3.2.2. Controversial items may be purchased if they are of appropriate scholarship level, of academic interest, and in genuine demand.
3.3 Level of the Collection
3.3.1. The level of acquisitions will vary from subject to subject. The degree of acquisition intensity will be determined by the study and research programmes.
3.3.2. At the first level, materials that do not fall into the coverage of subject fields of the academic activities of the university, but are essential or quality titles which are considered suitable for general reference or for general interest may be acquired.
3.3.3. At the second level, a collection on any subject field will include highly selected reference tools, basic texts, and representative works written by recognized authors.
3.3.4. At the third level which is mainly to support teaching and studying needs, the collection will be further expanded to include a wider range of reference, a wide range of basic texts, important classics, sets of works by and critical works on important authors, selection of works by less eminent writers, and a selection of representative journals and bibliographies.
3.3.5. At the fourth level which is to cater for the needs of research and advanced programmes, the collection will be an all-embracing one including but not limited to all important reference works, classics, a full range of resources such as research reports, scientific experiment reports, and new findings as well as a wide range of monographs and extensive collection of journals and indexing and abstracting services.
3.4 Language
3.4.1. Although the language in which a work is written or presented is not an overriding factor in selection process, Chinese and English are given top priority.
3.4.2. An item written in a language other than Chinese or English may be acquired if it is proved to be highly suitable for studying the language or essential for a research or other academic programme.
3.4.3. Classics and classical works will be acquired in their original languages unless it is considered not desirable, in which case a well-established translation version in English and/or in Chinese may be considered for purchase.
3.5 Serials Collection
3.5.1. The subscription to serials is a costly and continuous commitment. The handling of serials subscription is time consuming and labour intensive.
3.5.2. The serials collection should include the essential and some selected important titles on subject fields directly or closely related to the academic activities of the University. This guideline should work with Level of the Collection.
3.5.3. Selected high quality serials of general interest may be subscribed to, but the number of titles should be kept to a minimum.
3.5.4. Library users are encouraged to make use of interlibrary lending service and pay-per-view option to obtain information not available in the serials collection of the Library.

4. Acquisitions Criteria

4.1 Format of Materials
4.1.1. General Guideline The Library will acquire materials in any format that can be used in a library environment. They include but not limited to printed books, journals, newspapers, pamphlets, cartographic materials, graphic materials, computer discs, electronic databases, microforms, multi-media materials, manuscripts and archives, etc. If the Library holds an item in a format other than printed edition, the printed edition normally will not be acquired unless there are sufficient justifications.
4.1.2. Preference of Format To provide 24x7 access and to support e-learning, the Library will give preference to electronic format during the collection building process. If both print and electronic versions are available, the library will acquire or provide access to the electronic version. The print version will be selected only when:
  • The electronic version is not available.
  • The price of the electronic version is unreasonably high despite the additional benefits the electronic copy would bring.
  • The title includes illustrations such as diagrams, maps, photographs, tables, charts, images etc., which are better presented and copied in print, rather than electronic or other format.
4.2 Edition
4.2.1. In normal cases a monograph in its latest edition will be acquired. Older editions may be acquired only if they are specially required with justified reasons.
4.2.2. Variant editions of the same work will not be acquired unless they are "standard" editions, or contain substantial changes which are required for research or comparative study purposes.
4.3 Binding
4.3.1. If the print version is selected based on 4.1.2, paperback edition will be purchased whenever possible unless hard-cover edition is the only way in which it is published, or the only edition in print or available in the market at the time of purchase.
4.3.2. If both electronic and original printed editions are not available, or too expensive, or too bulky to store, other suitable format, such as print-on-demand or microforms, will be acquired.
4.4 Expensive Items
4.4.1. An item is considered expensive if it costs more than the amount as set by the University Librarian. (Appendix A).
4.4.2. All expensive items recommended for library purchase must have the endorsement from the Head (or his/her designate) or a Chair Professor of the department of the recommender to indicate the support of the department for the purchase of them.
4.4.3. As a general guideline, if an expensive item is recommended, the recommending department should consider it essential to their academic activities, or an important work, or a classic.
4.4.4. For any expensive item recommended, if a cheaper edition is available, normally the cheaper edition will be purchased.
4.4.5. The University Librarian provides final approval for all purchases of expensive items, and will from time to time review and revise the definition of expensive items and the handling procedures of them.
4.5 Number of Copies
4.5.1. The strength and quality of a library collection is reflected more significantly by the number of titles it holds rather than the number of volumes. In order to make the best use of the limited funds available, it is desirable to acquire more high quality titles rather than more duplicate copies.
4.5.2. Multiple copies of an item may be purchased if they are in heavy demand and continuous use, and are recommended by academic staff members for course work (e.g., basic standard texts, essential supplementary reading titles, etc.).
4.5.3. The guideline for the number of copies of an item to be purchased is listed in Appendix B.
4.5.4. Academic staff members are requested to keep recommendations for multiple copies to a minimum.
4.5.5. No duplicate copies will be purchased solely for the sake of preservation.
4.6 Consumables
4.6.1. Consumables such as blank forms, work sheets, exercise papers, etc. will not be acquired by the Library except those that come with the main text and serve as supplementary materials.
4.6.2. Sample packs of standard forms etc., which are considered important reference materials, may be purchased, and if sample packs are not available for sale, a minimal quantity of each of them may be purchased.
4.7 Co-operation with Other Libraries
4.7.1. The Library collaborates with other JULAC (Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee) libraries to negotiate for cost-saving deals when purchasing library materials.
4.7.2. For a monograph or periodical title that is regarded as expensive, the Library may check against the holdings of other UGC-funded libraries. If the title is already available via inter-library lending services, the Library may consider not to place an order for the title.
4.7.3. The Library engages in local and regional consortia in purchasing library materials via licensing programmes.

5. Gift and Exchange

5.1. The Library will try whenever possible to solicit materials which are required for the library collection through gift or exchange arrangement, particularly for those which are not available through purchase.
5.2. As a comprehensive university library and with an aim to broaden the scope of the Library's collection, the library would also accept donation that may not necessarily be in line with the current university curricula when space permits. Priority of processing, however, should be given to the purchased materials and course-related collection.
5.3. Unsolicited donations may be accepted if they meet the guidelines or criteria of this Policy, otherwise the donor is encouraged to offer the material to a more appropriate library.
5.4. As a rule, the Library will not accept any donations or gifts which carry any restrictions or conditions regarding item use, handling or disposal.
5.5. Donors considering to donate materials to the Library please fill out the Item Donation Proposal Form. The Library will review the Proposal in accordance with the Donation Policy (Appendix C) and get back to the potential donor normally within two weeks.

6. Weeding

6.1. As the collection grows with time and valuable shelving space becomes scarce, a systematic review of the collection and weeding procedures should be carried out at intervals to ensure high quality of the collection as well as to make best use of the valuable shelving space.
6.2. Items that are considered not suitable for the collection or no longer required for study purpose may be withdrawn from the library collection. These may include worn out items, superseded editions, superseded titles, obsolete items, items duplicated with Library-owned electronic copies, etc.
6.3. However, every effort should be made to retain those that are still useful for study and research purpose, or established as classics, or regarded as important or landmark works in its subject field, irrespective of their edition or publication date.