Collection Development Policy

Mission of the Libraries

NDSU Libraries energize and advance research, teaching, and learning in an evolving information environment.

Purpose and Audience

The NDSU Libraries collects materials primarily to support the curriculum and research activities of the NDSU community. The purpose of this policy is to provide consistency in the management of the collection and to communicate the Libraries’ policy to students, faculty, staff, and the community.

General Collection

Statement of Collection Responsibility

Responsibility for the development of library collections and the policy decisions related to this function rests with the Dean of Libraries and the Libraries’ Collection Development Working Group. Individual subject areas in the collection are the responsibility of subject librarians, who work in consultation with faculty liaisons.

Specialized collections maintain their own collection development policies. More information about these collections and their policies can be found below. 

Funding & Allocation

The primary sources of funding for the Libraries’ resources are state appropriations and the student library fee. Other funding sources may include, but are not limited to, interest on endowments, supplemental funds, grants, and the Office of the Provost. The budget is divided between one-time and ongoing expenditures. Ongoing expenditures are given priority and consist of journal, database, and other subscriptions. Remaining funds are used for one-time expenditures, such as books and journal backfile collections.    

Selection Guidelines and Formats


The Libraries purchase or subscribe to materials in all formats, but may decide not to purchase materials in obsolete, outdated, or unproven formats. In general, the Libraries do not purchase duplicate copies of items. The Libraries do not routinely acquire current course textbooks. Replacements for lost or damaged materials may be purchased if funding is available. Faculty, staff, and students are welcome to make suggestions or recommendations to the librarian for the relevant subject area.


  • Books
  • Periodicals - Periodicals include journals, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Media - Media collections include audio and visual recordings on digital videodisc (DVD), compact disc (CD), streaming audio and video, and emerging technologies.
  • Microforms - Microform materials are acquired selectively when space or fragility of the original is an issue.
  • Music Scores - Music scores are acquired as needed to support the curriculum.
  • Cartographic Materials - Maps, atlases, charts, and other cartographic materials are acquired as needed to support the curriculum.
  • Electronic Resources - All of the above may be purchased as an electronic resource. Other electronic resources may include bibliographic databases, reference materials, and streaming media collections. These materials are acquired as one-time purchases or licensed as ongoing subscriptions.

Statement of Revision

This Collection Development Policy will be reviewed annually and revised as needed by the Collection Management Working Group.

NDSU Archives

The NDSU Archives, under the Head of Archives, collects materials in all formats of historical significance to NDSU and North Dakota. More detailed information can be found on their website.

Dissertations, Theses, and Plan B Papers

NDSU students submit dissertations and theses electronically to ProQuest as mandated by the university. Some departments may require submission to the Institutional Repository.

Government Information Collection Development & Management Policy

The NDSU Libraries along with the University of North Dakota Chester Fritz Library comprise a regional depository for U.S. government publications. The Libraries receive all depository publications in the following U.S. Superintendent of Documents classifications: A, D, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, V, and W. Publications in other classifications may be added as needed by NDSU. The NDSU Libraries are also a selective depository for state publications. 


Federal publications
The North Dakota State University (NDSU) Libraries were designated a depository for federal government publications on March 1st, 1907. In 1968 NDSU Libraries and the Chester Fritz Library at the University of North Dakota entered into an agreement to become the Joint Regional Depository for North Dakota. The collection is divided between the two libraries based on the initial letter of the Superintendent of Documents classification for that department.

As a Joint Regional Depository, the federal government publications at NDSU are regulated by the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program. This program distributes federal government publications to designated libraries in order to provide perpetual public access to them. As a regional federal depository library, NDSU Libraries serves NDSU, the region, and the state of North Dakota.

The implications of FDLP guidelines for NDSU Libraries federal publication collection development include: addressing the information needs and format preferences of the region and the state of North Dakota, as well as NDSU; facilitating public access to the collection; and ensuring perpetual access to the collection, with a few exceptions regulated by FDLP. As a regional, NDSU Libraries also has a role in the disposition of federal depository publications from FLDP selectives in the state.

State publications
NDSU Libraries has participated in the North Dakota State Documents Depository program since its establishment on March 17, 1965. The State Document Depository program was established by the North Dakota Century Code and distributes North Dakota state government documents for public use. NDSU Libraries is primarily responsible for providing public access for five years to items distributed through this program. As a selective, after five years, NDSU Libraries may evaluate whether to retain items for public access or return them to the state library.

The primary users of the collections are the students, faculty, and staff of NDSU, the general public in the region, and the people of North Dakota. Along with considering federal and state guidelines, NDSU Libraries government document policy seeks to support NDSU’s mission focusing on students, research, and the needs of the state, as well as NDSU Libraries’ mission.

North Dakota State University (NDSU) is a state-supported institution with a Carnegie classification of ‘higher research activity.’ It offers a wide array of undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees, including the only pharmacy school in the state.

NDSU is located in a community of over 238,000 people. The community includes the North Dakota-Minnesota border region, with Moorhead, MN immediately adjoining it.


All government publications are accessible for public use in the NDSU Libraries, and the vast majority of documents circulate to any patron. Online federal documents and resources are available to any user of the internet and the Libraries provide members of the public internet access to these documents upon request. 

Collection Development

Federal publications
In accordance with the Joint Regional Depository agreement, the NDSU Libraries select all materials in classifications beginning with A, D, E, F, H, I, M, O, R, V, and W. The NDSU Libraries may also select and duplicate some publications from UND’s areas of responsibility (B, C, G, J, L, N, P, S, T, X, and Y). The Government Information Librarian regularly reviews the selections and non-selections and determines which materials to receive. Consideration is given to materials that support the curriculum, research, education, and information interests of students, staff, and faculty, as well as the information needs of the region. The Government Information Librarian may consult with subject librarians or the Collection Management Coordinating Team (CMCT) in making selection decisions.

The NDSU Libraries regularly acquire federal publications not distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program. Publications of particular interest are those relating to regional topics. These may be acquired through active collection development efforts or donations.

Series that have changed SuDoc numbers over time will be housed at the depository library responsible for the most recent letter assignment.

Starting in 2015, the library began adding all items in electronic format regardless of SuDoc classification.

State publications
Publications received through the State Documents Depository program constitute a key collection for documenting the activity and history of government agencies within the state. All items distributed through the program are acquired, with selected publications kept indefinitely.

Other publications
The NDSU Libraries acquire other government publications including those produced by other countries and state governments. These publications are acquired on a case by case basis with input from subject librarians.


Federal publications
The primary format for all federal publications is a tangible format, with paper preferred to ensure long term preservation and access for all users. When available, electronic copies will be included in the catalog. When possible, electronic versions will replace microformats.

State publications
State publications will be acquired in any available format.

Other publications
All other publications will be acquired in the format best fitting the needs of the community.

Collection Management

Federal publications
The primary shelving location for federal publications is in the main library with items located adjacent to the main collection. Federal publications will be arranged by SuDoc. Selected materials may be housed at the NDSU Libraries Annex as appropriate or at the NDSU Archives due to condition or other needs.

Publications may also be housed at branch libraries by agreement of the Government Information Librarian and the subject librarian in order to better support the needs of the users. These publications may be arranged using the appropriate classification system for the branch library, but will retain all markings indicating their status as federal publications.

All items housed outside of the main collection will be fully cataloged to ensure discoverability and meet FDLP guidelines and requirements.

State publications
State publications are primarily housed in the main library with items located adjacent to the main collection. Selected materials may be housed at the NDSU Libraries Annex as appropriate. These publications may be arranged using the Library of Congress classification system. State materials may be part of the Institute for Regional Studies Archives.

Publications may be housed at branch libraries in order to better support the needs of the users. These publications may be arranged using the appropriate classification system for the branch library, but will retain all markings indicating their status as state publications.

Other publications
All other government publications are housed in the main collection or branch libraries where appropriate.

Weeding and maintenance

Federal publications
The collection is maintained in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program.  An accurate shelf-list of all depository publications is maintained to the piece level. All documents are clearly marked with the depository library stamp, shipping list date, and SuDoc number.

All federal publications matching the NDSU Libraries’ selected letters will be retained in perpetuity. Publications selected from outside the scope of the collection may be weeded in accordance with the legal requirements.

State publications
State publications received by NDSU must be retained a minimum of five years, after which time they are eligible for weeding. No core collection is mandated by the State Documents Depository Program, and as such weeding is at the discretion of the Government Information Librarian in keeping with the information needs of the region. A list of weeded materials should be sent to the Head, NDSU archives for review before offering to other libraries. Any items not added by NDSU Archives must first be offered to the North Dakota State Library, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and it is advised to offer any remaining items from that list to the other state depository libraries.

Other publications
Items in this collection will be kept as long as necessary to support the needs of the community. All weeded items will be offered the NDSU Archives and/or other libraries to ensure preservation of the historical record.

Items located at branch libraries
Branch managers may select items for weeding from their collections as needed, making arrangements with the Government Information Librarian to view or transport them to the Main library. Disposition of publications located at branch libraries will be determined by the Government Information Librarian.

Collection Evaluation

Federal publications
UND and NDSU serve as Shared Regional Depository for North Dakota.  Between the two universities, all classes are selected.  An attempt was made in the 1968 division of responsibilities to assign responsibility down to the department and agency level, but this was abandoned in favor of broad SuDoc classes (for example: all of the Es, including Energy and the EPA and Education, are assigned to NDSU).

The assigned responsibilities may be changed, with the agreement of both libraries, as research and curricular needs change. For instance, UND agreed to assume responsibility for all of the SuDoc numbers beginning with the letter 'N’ when a growing program in Aviation and Aerospace Sciences made it desirable to collect NASA publications.

Though each collection reflects the needs of its local community, the Shared Regional Depository itself has a mission to provide a complete collection for the entire state.

Other policies

Germans From Russia Heritage Collection

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC), under the Director and Bibliographer of the GRHC, collects publications, photographs, maps, audio-visual materials, oral histories, and other materials documenting the history and culture of the Germans from Russia in North Dakota and the Northern Plains. More detailed information can be found in their policy.


Maintenance of the Reference Collection is coordinated by the Head of Research and Instruction. Subject librarians select electronic reference materials in their subject areas. Print reference materials may be purchased upon faculty request.

Shott Collection

The Shott Collection consists of high-quality recreational reading books, audio books, CDs and DVDs. The collection emphasizes award winning fiction and nonfiction titles, mysteries, science fiction, current bestsellers, and popular titles. The Dean of Libraries is responsible for the overall administration of the Weber Reading Room. Selection and deselection of materials for the Shott Collection will be the responsibility of the NDSU Humanities Librarian with input from staff, faculty and students.

Some popular reading materials of less academic merit may be leased through a library vendor rather than purchased by the Library. Leased books will be returned to the vendor when interest in the titles dwindles. Gift books will be evaluated by the Humanities Librarian for addition to the collection.

All titles in the Shott Collection will be searchable by author and title in the NDSU Library Catalog and have a Shott Room designation.

Institutional Repository

The Institutional Repository, maintained by the Resource Acquisition, Management and Discovery department, collects, preserves, and provides access to digital materials produced or submitted by the NDSU community.

NDSU Faculty and Staff Publications (Monographs)

The NDSU Libraries seek to obtain, by purchase or donation, copies of all monographs authored or co-authored by NDSU faculty or staff members. Monographs edited or including chapters authored by faculty or staff may be purchased by the Libraries at the discretion of the appropriate subject librarian. Other significant contributions to a publication, such as editorial work, translations, and illustrations, may be considered in the collection process.

It is the responsibility of faculty and staff to inform the Libraries about their publications.

Faculty and staff publications—which are generally placed in the Main Library’s circulating collection—are assigned a note of “NDSU Faculty/Staff Publication” in the MARC record, and have a book plate placed inside the cover.

Off-Campus Storage Annex

All disciplines, subjects, and formats of materials in the NDSU Libraries collections, with the exception of NDSU Archives and Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, are subject to review for selection and transfer to the NDSU Libraries Off-Campus Storage Annex. The subject librarian responsible for collection development in a particular discipline is responsible for the selection of materials to be transferred to and from the off-site shelving facility. Subject librarians are also responsible for the deselection of materials from the Off-Campus Storage Annex.


  • Libraries - Gift materials are subject to the same criteria for addition to the collection as purchased materials. The Libraries reserve the right to sell, refuse, or otherwise dispose of gift materials. The Libraries also accepts monetary donations.
  • NDSU Archives - The NDSU Archives actively seeks additions to its archival collections. Documents of historical significance to NDSU or North Dakota are accepted in various formats.  Please visit their Donations page for further information.
  • Germans From Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) - The GRHC relies on material and financial donations from the community to fulfill their mission to share and preserve the history and culture of the Germans from Russia in North Dakota and the Northern Plains.  Please visit their Donations page for further information.

Intellectual Freedom

The Libraries support intellectual freedom as defined in documents adopted by the American Library Association, including:

Any individual or group questioning the appropriateness of materials in the collection will be referred to the Dean of Libraries.