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Collection Guidelines

Collection Guidelines

Formats: General Considerations

The library will collect materials in appropriate formats. Although content is the main criterion for selection, format is also a major factor. Increasingly, the same content may be published in more than one format, making clear guidelines about format preferences essential.

A major, ongoing format shift is the move from physical to virtual resources. Therefore, information found in electronic sources, both acquired and freely available, increasingly has an impact on the physical collection. Electronic resources may offer numerous benefits such as:

  • increased access in terms of location, hours and convenience
  • increased number of simultaneous users
  • more current information and frequent updates
  • improved searchability
  • decreased space/storage/handling requirements
  • integration into mixed-mode or online courses
  • meeting user expectations in a networked information environment

Electronic resources may, however, entail complications or drawbacks in areas such as:

  • content availability
  • cost
  • copyright and digital licensing restrictions
  • subscription to rather than ownership of content
  • ongoing or archival access
  • technical issues, both for the user and the library
  • usability

The library will monitor both the College and external information environments and adjust its format preferences as needed in order to remain responsive to user needs and make best use of the collections budget.

Some general format considerations include:

  • Appropriate format for the content
  • Cost relative to other formats
  • Convenience of use
  • Delivery method of curriculum
  • User preference for remote access
  • User demand or preference for format
  • Projected volume of use
  • Projected number of simultaneous users
  • Space and maintenance impacts
  • Availability of equipment necessary to support the format
  • Integration with rest of the collection