Collection Development: General Policies


Authority for development of library collections belongs to the Dean of University Libraries. The Dean’s administrative authority includes the Thomas Cooper Library, Music Library, Business Library, Mathematics Library, South Caroliniana Library, South Carolina Political Collections, and Special Collections and Rare Books. Development of general library collections is the chief responsibility of the Collection Development Department. The Collection Development Librarianreports directly to the Dean of University Libraries. The Assistant Collection Development Librarian and the Gifts Specialist work with the Collection Development Librarian to build collections that support the teaching and research needs of the University.

Building those collections effectively requires the active participation of academic faculty and librarians. Each academic unit designates a Library Representative to coordinate the efforts of their faculty in building collections. The Library appoints a Liaison to work with each Library Representative. The Library encourages faculty members, students, and librarians to recommend resources for the collection. The eRequest system is one method to recommend acquisitions; an email to the Collection Development Librarian is another.

The Library also has a Collection Development Team, which meets monthly and deals with policy issues and advises the Collection Development Department on renewals, new products, and issues affecting collection development. The Collection Development Committee is an administrative group that advises the Dean on important collection issues.

General Collection Policy:

The general collections of the library must support all the teaching and research, and public service needs of the University. In order to accomplish this, the collections should not include any unnecessary duplication, should address content and accessibility as more important than format, and should address specific needs of the faculty, students, and staff of the University. The Library seeks to provide continued access to its physical materials through conservation and preservation efforts and to its digital and electronic collections through license agreements and through participation in organizations such as Portico and LOCKSS.

Current Monographs and Serials. The Library primarily collects monographs and other formats of materials which support the research and teaching needs of University faculty and students. The Library subscribes to journals and newspapers, as well as other serials in appropriate subject fields. Duplicate subscriptions are avoided whenever possible. We collect and preserve serials in many formats, with content and accessibility again the main considerations.

Reprints. Emphasis is generally on the text, rather than on the edition. Although an original edition may in some cases be required, commercial reprints are usually just as satisfactory, and often considerably less expensive.

Dissertations and Theses. Beginning with 2009, theses written at the University of South Carolina are collected only in an electronic format. Honors College Theses are collected and archived in print. Theses from other academic sources are treated as specialized research materials and are acquired in accordance with the overall collection policy. All dissertations completed after 1997 at institutions in North America are available to our researchers through the database Dissertations and Theses.

Textbooks. The purchase of textbooks by the Library is discouraged as much as possible. Library funds are limited, and the purchase of textbooks may preclude the purchase of important monographs not otherwise available. Textbooks may, however, be acquired if they represent significant contributions to the presentation of a subject or if there is a scarcity of other material in the field.

Duplicates. The purchase of multiple copies is discouraged, and requires evidence of high demand. A later edition of a monograph already in the collection is acquired only when the new or revised material justifies its purchase. E-books should also be considered for high demand items.

Government Documents. The Library is a depository for U.S., U.N., and E.E.C. documents. S.C. state documents are housed in the State Library (near the campus) and are available to faculty and students of the University.

Film. Films are selected as research or instructional materials. Feature films are purchased selectively and only with respect to their research or instructional value.

Audio. Musical recordings are purchased according to the needs of music teaching and research. Spoken word recordings can be selected as library materials.

Approved by Collection Development Team - December 3, 2009

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