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Collection Management Guidelines

The purpose of this document is to serve as a guide in the development of a balanced and useful collection that supports the university’s mission and strategic plan, as well as the educational programs and research of the University at Buffalo. It is not meant to be a permanent guide, but rather a living document that should be periodically revised as the University’s missions and goals evolve.

These general guidelines describe the Libraries’ mission, overall approach to collection management, and rationale

Please note: These guidelines do not pertain to Law, Archives, and Special Collections.

UB Libraries Mission

The University Libraries provides outstanding resources, experts, services and spaces to enrich the research, learning, teaching and creative activities of UB faculty, students and staff as well as those of the local and global community members we serve.

UB Libraries Vision

The University Libraries will be recognized as premier academic research libraries that advance intellectual discovery by connecting people with knowledge.

Our objective is to be as transparent as possible in our policies, and work closely with faculty as active participants in our collection management processes and decisions.

Collection Overview

The Libraries’ collection includes a large number of electronic resources and print material. Additionally, the library has an extensive microfilm collection, newspapers, journals, government documents, the Map collection, and collection sets. The University at Buffalo Libraries have acquired online materials, including locally-owned and via its SUNY membership. The libraries license several hundred databases, many containing full-text journal articles and reference resources.

Collection Development Guidelines

The Libraries’ Subject Specialist Librarians collaborate with faculty and students in the University's academic departments. They work in collaboration with their respective faculty contact(s), keeping that person(s) informed of collection decisions in a timely manner, seeking input from faculty on potential acquisitions, and soliciting requests via faculty for new acquisitions. The Subject Specialist Librarians help identify resources in all formats that are appropriate to support existing academic and research programs while maintaining a broad view of the collection and the long-term research needs of the academic community. Consultation and communication with faculty contact(s) is an integral part of the collection building process.

Subject Specialist Librarians

  • Are knowledgeable of the academic subject areas in the University's curriculum. This includes awareness of what is taught, and the materials required for such courses.
  • Evaluate information resources in terms of their usefulness to the University's users. This may include: tracking recent faculty research and publications; citations from student theses and dissertations; Interlibrary Loan requests; and, Consortium requests.
  • Support general academic interest, inquiry, and university's mission and strategic plan.
  • Support faculty research. They identify areas of potential interest and purchase resources that meet the needs of new or emerging areas of research.
  • Make available those resources that are likely to be needed to support curriculum.
  • For departments offering only an undergraduate degree, faculty research is supported on an individual title basis for ongoing projects, based on faculty communication with the subject librarian.
  • For departments supporting Master’s and Doctoral degrees and advanced certificates, more intensive collecting is focused on specific courses, requirements for the degree, and research as communicated by faculty and graduate students.
  • Provide access to freely-available, open access, reputable, academic-level resources.
  • Consider cooperative agreements with other research libraries and consortia whose holdings could potentially augment access to collections.
  • Evaluate the content of all information resources according to the standards of authority, comprehensiveness, validity, language, time periods and geographical areas. As appropriate, they apply additional criteria for selecting special material types/forms established by the Libraries.
  • To maintain a relevant collection and maximize space, subject specialists periodically weed the collection. This may involve identifying material for de-selection. Candidates for de-selection or withdrawal may include material that is superseded by newer, revised, or updated editions; obsolete formats if the content is available elsewhere; material that is damaged or in poor condition.

To each of these points, subject specialists must select and retain materials for the collection within fiscal parameters set by the university, physical space considerations, and various publisher confines.

Intellectual Freedom, Copyright, and Fair Use

Gifts in Kind

Purchase Recommendations

It is best to contact your library subject specialist if you have recommendations or purchase requests. You can, however, also use our online form.