NDSU Libraries Collection Management Policies

I. Purpose

This statement is intended to serve as a written guide for those responsible for managing the collection of the NDSU Libraries. Collection development is defined as the process of planning and building a library’s information resources. Through use of this policy, librarians will be able to make selection and evaluation decisions based on a clearly identifiable set of parameters, thus ensuring a collection consistent with the desired objectives. The maintenance of the Libraries’ collection, including preservation, storage and withdrawal of library resources, is addressed in a separate policy statement.

II. Mission

The mission of the NDSU Libraries is to make available, through a strong organizational structure and with sound financial planning, those resources, training, services, and staff necessary to support the research and information needs of the university faculty, students, and staff. The Libraries will emphasize service to the patron and endeavor to provide outreach services to the people of North Dakota as appropriate. All people who wish to are welcome to use the resources and services of the NDSU Libraries.

The NDSU Libraries remain closely aligned with the Morrill Act of 1862 in which land grant universities are obligated to promote "the liberal and practical education to the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life."

III. Management Responsibility

The ultimate responsibility for the management of library resources and the policy decisions related to this function rests with the Associate Director of Libraries and the Collection Management Coordinating Team. Individual subject areas in the collection are the responsibility of the various subject librarians. Librarians in other positions within the Library may also have specific collecting responsibilities when it is deemed appropriate.

Interested and active faculty participation is an invaluable aid to intelligent selection, for this makes available the expert knowledge of the subject specialist over the entire range and variety of material to be covered. Therefore, all librarians involved in collection development will actively solicit the involvement of faculty members in appropriate departments and subject areas.

IV. Intellectual Freedom

The NDSU Libraries strongly supports the concept of intellectual freedom. All collection management decisions at the NDSU Libraries will be made in accordance with the Library Bill of Rights.

Any complaint brought against the Library must be submitted in writing, using the form in Appendix A.. This form will be submitted to the Associate Director of the NDSU Libraries. S/he will then bring the complaint before the Collection Management Coordinating Team for review. This group will decide on the appropriate action to take with regard to the complaint. A written response will then be made to the person or group bringing the complaint.

V. Relationship with Other Libraries

No library can provide all the resources which are needed by the community which it serves. For that reason, libraries of all types enter into cooperative agreements through which they can augment their own collections.

The NDSU Library, in implementing the guidelines stated in this policy, will recognize and honor its commitment to cooperate with the Tri-College University libraries, the academic and other libraries of the State of North Dakota, specifically the University of North Dakota, and MINITEX (Minnesota Inter-library Telecommunication Exchange). When feasible, active efforts will be made to identify activities and functions which can be carried out cooperatively with these and other libraries and which will enhance the services and collections that can be offered to our students and faculty.

VI. Bibliographic Access

Emphasis will be given to acquiring or providing access to resources such as indexes, abstracts, and other types of databases which give information on publicly available materials.

VII. Objectives

In order to fulfill its mission, the Library plans to make available, within its financial and other limitations, the resources required to meet these four objectives:

  1. To provide resources adequate to support all current instruction, research, and extension programs of the University.
  2. To provide basic resources in related subject areas not covered by present programs.
  3. To provide minimal resources, of a general nature, in other subject areas.
  4. To cooperate fully with the North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies and University Archives in acquiring, preserving, and making available materials relating to the history of the University and the region.

VIII. Limitations

It may not be possible, for financial reasons and/or lack of space, to meet the above objectives adequately. Therefore, the Library will observe the following general collection management guidelines:

  1. Current resources of lasting and scholarly value will be given priority over older, popular, or out of print materials.
  2. In general, English language materials will be given priority over resources in a foreign language.
  3. Cooperative programs will be used to provide access to infrequently used research materials.Particular consideration will be given to the Library’s participation in the Tri-College University and to cooperation with #North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota libraries.
  4. Materials may be acquired and/or retained in another suitable format if the original format is not available, is too expensive, or requires an inordinate amount of storage space.
  5. If the Library holds material in another suitable format, duplicate paper copy will usually not be purchased or retained.
  6. Variant editions of a title will be acquired and/or retained only if they are "standard" editions or contain substantial changes which are needed for instructional or research purposes.
  7. When possible and feasible the Library will borrow, rather than purchase, in-depth materials for specific thesis topics or for short-term research projects of faculty members.

IX. Duplication

Because of limited funds, duplicate materials will be acquired in accordance with the following guidelines:

  1. Multiple demand and heavy, continuous use will be the primary consideration.
  2. No duplicate resources will be acquired solely for the sake of preservation except selected materials maintained for archival purposes in the North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies and University Archives.
  3. Materials will not be duplicated for the sole use of individuals or academic departments.
  4. Duplicate materials may be purchased for either the Main Library or the Branch Libraries (Architecture, Chemistry, and Pharmacy) in cases where a reasonable need for access in more than one location can be demonstrated.
  5. The cost of any given publication will be an important consideration in applying these guidelines. Only a relatively small portion of the budget will be expended for duplicate materials.

X. Forms and Types of Material

A. Books The collection should contain the most appropriate edition of standard reference works of a general nature. The collection should contain the most appropriate edition of the standard reference works in individual subject fields.

The collection should also contain:
a. An adequate number, for each curricular field, of books concerning:

  1. the field as a whole;
  2. those divisions of the field in which courses are offered; and
  3. other significant divisions of the field; and

b. An adequate number of works concerning important specific fields of interest that are not treated in the curriculum

B. Serials The following definition will apply in the NDSU Library:

Serial: A publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numeric or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include periodicals; newspapers; annuals (reports, yearbooks, etc.) the journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, etc., of societies; and numbered monographic series. (from: Anglo-American cataloging rules. Second edition. 1988 revision. p. 622.)

New serial titles are acquired in accordance with the general selection policy as stated in Sections I - IX of this policy, generally for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. to keep the Library’s collection up to date with the current thinking in various fields;
  2. to provide information not available in other sources;
  3. to provide for the research needs of students and faculty;
  4. to keep the faculty informed of developments in their field; and
  5. to serve the staff as selection or reference resources.

Selection of a serial title commits the Library to continuing subscription payments and preservation and storage costs. For this reason the selection process for serials, as compared to monographs, requires a higher degree of selectivity.

Among additional considerations in selecting a serial title are the following:

  1. Does the title represent a point of view or a subject not presently found in the collection?
  2. Is the new title a better source than those already available in the collection?
  3. Is the new title indexed in a standard indexing or abstracting service?
  4. If the title is available in another library in the area, state, or region, does the projected use indicate the need for another copy in this collection?
  5. What is the cost in relation to its projected use?
  6. Will backfiles be needed and at what cost?
  7. Can the continuing cost be funded?

A new periodical subscription will usually include the entire volume of the current year with no backfiles.

Abstracts and indexes are exempt from this provision.

C. Newspapers

The NDSU Library will acquire newspapers, on a current basis, for the purpose of meeting the teaching and general information needs of the University community, observing the following priorities:

  1. Daily newspapers published in Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck, and Minot.
  2. Daily newspapers published in other North Dakota towns and cities as desired or as economically feasible.
  3. Newspapers from other areas, as financially feasible, subject to the following considerations:
    • relevance to specific courses taught on campus;
    • coverage of geographical area; and
    • subject/viewpoint representation.
  4. Special interest newspapers, including home town newspapers, cannot be provided for all the various segments of the University community. However, the Library will attempt to obtain:
    • gift subscriptions to local North Dakota home town/county newspapers; and
    • others for which there is a substantial demand.

Titles will be retained as follows:

  1. Only the following newspapers will be retained permanently: New York Times, Fargo Forum, Wall Street Journal, and Spectrum.
  2. Other titles will be retained for periods of up to one year.

D. Audio-Visual Materials

16mm Films. All requests for 16mm films shall be forwarded to the Tri-College University Film Committee for consideration and purchase.

Filmstrips. Filmstrips will be purchased by the Library but, in some cases, may be converted to slide format before being circulated.

Sound recordings. Sound recordings, including audio-cassettes and records, will be purchased by the Library when appropriate.

Slides. Slide sets will be purchased when appropriate.

Videotapes. Most requests for videotapes will be forwarded to the Tri-College University Film Committee for consideration. If Tri-College interest is deemed to be minimal, the Library may purchase videotapes at the discretion of the individual subject librarian.


  1. General -- Microform (e.g.: microfiche or microfilm), if available and favorably priced, will be considered for purchase when space is a problem and/or the original format is fragile.
  2. Newspapers -- In general, newspapers will be retained permanently in microfilm only.
  3. Serials -- Serials in microfiche will be considered for purchase as follows:
    • new subscriptions, when the microfiche is significantly less expensive than the paper edition;
    • the format is suitable to the needs of the users;
    • back runs;
    • to replace bound volumes; and
    • in lieu of binding.

E. Electronic formats

  1. Compact discs. Compact disc versions of indexes, abstracts, and reference works will be preferred when the cost is reasonable and/or the compact disc is a significant improvement in quality over other formats. Other types of compact discs, such as sound recordings and multi-media, will be acquired in accordance with the provisions of this policy.
  2. Online databases. Online reference databases available through the Library’s online catalog vendor are preferred over other formats for the same information. Access to other online databases will be provided as appropriate.
  3. Software. In general, the Library does not purchase stand-alone computer software to add to the public collection. Software for staff use is purchased as needed.
  4. As other electronic information resources become available, the Library will consider their acquisition based on the cost and quality of the resource.

F. Printed Music

The Library will purchase complete works of major composers, if not already available in the Tri-College University libraries.

The Library will attempt to acquire a working collection of:

  1. study scores of major symphonic works;
  2. study scores of other standard orchestral works;
  3. piano-vocal scores of the best known works of the major composers;
  4. other representative vocal and instrumental compositions of the major composers.

G. Rare Books

Rare books will not be purchased unless they are needed for instructional and/or research purposes.

H. Textbooks

The Library will not acquire textbooks adopted as required texts for any given course. Some textbooks, however, are valuable as reference and research works in their own right. They will be obtained in accordance with the provisions of this policy.

I. Dissertations

  1. An archival copy of all North Dakota State University dissertations and theses will be retained permanently by the Library. A second copy of all dissertations and theses is added to the Library’s circulating collection.
  2. Dissertations from other institutions will be purchased only in special cases, in microform, unless the anticipated frequency of use indicates the need for hard copy.

J. "Plan B" Papers
An archival copy of each paper written in partial fulfillment of requirements for the Master’s degree, Plan B, will be retained permanently by the Library. A second copy of the Plan B paper will be added to the Library’s circulating collection.

K. Replacements

  1. Lost or worn materials will be replaced if they are still considered to be appropriate for selection according to criteria stated in this policy.
  2. When a lost or worn resource which is in heavy demand cannot be replaced , access to alternative materials in the same subject field will be considered.

L. Out of Print Materials

Efforts to obtain materials on the out of print market will be made if the material is of enough importance to justify those efforts.

M. Documents

U.S. Government. The NDSU Library and the UND Library together constitute a joint regional depository library for U.S. Government publications. As a unit, the two libraries receive on deposit from the Government Printing Office all documents sent to full depository libraries. The NDSU Library receives all depository materials in the following U.S. Superintendent of Documents classifications: A, D, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, V, and W. In addition, the NDSU Library may acquire the following:

  1. Items in classifications which, though assigned to UND, are determined to be needed by NDSU.
  2. Non-depository documents supportive of the University’s curriculum.

State of North Dakota. The NDSU Library receives and retains all North Dakota State Publications selected for distribution to a limited number of libraries in the state, as prescribed in the State Depository Library law (North Dakota Century Code 54-24-09).

North Dakota State University. Copies of any document produced by NDSU are kept in the University Archives. International Organizations. The Library will purchase publications of international organizations such as the United Nations and its agencies on a selective basis.

N. Gifts

The NDSU Library looks upon gifts and donations as an important part of the acquisitions program. The Library encourages gifts of money, books and other resources. All gifts are subject to the following stipulations:

  1. Gifts of books or other materials must meet the same evaluative requirements as materials which are purchased.
  2. The Library will not accept gifts of materials subject to conditions regarding their disposition, location, or use.
  3. Gifts of money may be designated for purchase of materials by format, literary form, subject, or period.
  4. The Library is free to dispose of any unneeded materials.
  5. Once accepted, gifts become the property of the Library and may not be reclaimed by the donor.
  6. The Library will not appraise gifts for tax or inheritance purposes. The Library may, however, assist the donor in locating appraisal sources, if readily available.

XI. Definitions

The need for library materials varies in the different subject areas. Current and projected degree and research programs determine the level of acquisitions to be attempted in order to meet the needs of these programs. The codes defined below are designed for use in identifying either the extent of an existing collection in a given subject field (collection density) or the extent of desired collecting activity in a given subject field (collecting intensity). These codes represent an attempt to establish standard terms, applicable to libraries of all sizes on a national basis.

A. Comprehensive level.

A collection in which a library endeavors, so far as is reasonably possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other forms) in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collecting intensity is that which maintains a "special collection"; the aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness.

B. Research level.

A collection which includes the major source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It also includes all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field.

C. Study level

  1. Advanced study level. A collection which is adequate to support the course work of advanced undergraduate and master’s degree programs, or sustained independent study, that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs both current and retrospective, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.
  2. Initial study level. A collection which is adequate to support undergraduate courses. It includes a judicious selection from currently published basic monographs (as are represented by Choice selections) supported by seminal retrospective monographs (as are represented by Books for College Libraries), a broad selection of works of more important writers, a selection of the most significant works of secondary writers, a selection of the major review journals, and current editions of the most significant reference tools and bibliographies pertaining to the subject.

D. Basic level.

A highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes major dictionaries and encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, important bibliographies, and a few major periodicals in the field.

E. Minimal level.

A subject area which is out of scope for the Library’s collection and in which few selections are made beyond very basic reference tools.

NOTE: Some subject fields may be completely out of scope for a library’s collections. "0" can be used to indicate "not collected."

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