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Library Materials Selection Guidelines

Woodward Library encourages a partnership with academic departments and programs to develop a collection of books, journals, audiovisual materials, and electronic resources to support teaching and learning. Faculty librarians appointed as liaisons collaborate with faculty in specific academic departments and programs to make recommendations for purchase in their respective disciplines. The Resources Management Librarian coordinates this selection process, striving to build a balanced collection to support curricular and research needs.

Departmental collection development guidelines for each academic department or program are listed individually. General selection guidelines, procedures, and collection development policies are described below. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact your department's liaison librarian or Scott Shumate, resource management librarian.

Book, E-book, and Audiovisual Selection Guidelines:

  • The library's first priority is to provide appropriate materials for students and faculty in sufficient breadth and depth to support teaching and learning in the subject areas of the curriculum.
  • A high priority is also given to materials supporting faculty and student research activities.
  • Costs should be within an appropriate price range compared to the average cost of publications in the field.
  • Preference is given to current materials of lasting and scholarly value over older materials or materials of fleeting value.
  • Retrospective materials may be purchased to fill gaps in the collection when appropriate to the curriculum.
  • Preference is given to materials which broaden the scope of the collection.
  • Materials are acquired in greater depth in areas with graduate programs.
  • General interest books and audiovisual materials may be purchased if related to course offerings. A modest amount may be spent each year to support the popular reading collection.
  • The library primarily acquires English language materials. Materials in other languages may be selected to support the foreign language curriculum.
  • Textbooks are not acquired unless they offer a significant contribution to a field not available in other sources. Textbooks currently being used in courses may be placed on reserve if faculty or departmental copies are loaned to the library.
  • Consumable materials such as workbooks are not purchased.
  • Audiovisual materials in older or specialized formats (e.g., videocassettes, Blu-ray) are not purchased.
  • Titles already held by the library in an alternate format are generally not purchased unless the requesting faculty member or library liaison notes a significant curricular or research need for duplication.
  • Due to budget constraints and the high cost of streaming media licenses, the library purchases digital downloads and licensing rights to streaming media on a limited basis. For details see the section below titled "Streaming Media Selection Guidelines."
  • The library secures public performance rights (PPR) for DVDs and other media only when required of institutional buyers as a condition of purchase established by the vendor.
  • The library observes policies and procedures established by the Tennessee State Department of Education for the selection and withdrawal of materials in the Learning Resource Collection.
  • Materials for collections outside the library's jurisdiction or materials used in campus offices, classrooms or labs are not purchased with library funds.
  • Donated materials must generally meet the same selection guidelines as purchased materials.
  • The withdrawal of outdated, damaged or otherwise unneeded materials will be conducted periodically, which contributes to the maintenance of a more up-to-date, balanced, and usable collection.

The following factors are considered in selection:

  • Relevance to the curriculum
  • Support for research needs of faculty and students
  • Currency, accuracy and objectivity
  • Reputation of the author, publisher, or producer
  • Relationship to existing holdings
  • Materials (including donations) must be in acceptable physical condition; e.g., binding intact, good paper stock, free of markings and other defacement such as mold or mildew

Sources to aid in selection:

  • Reviews in scholarly journals
  • Reviews in library and book trade journals such as Library Journal or Choice
  • Published bibliographies
  • Lists of recommended readings for the University's courses
  • Publishers' catalogs
  • Reviews and information from online bookstores (e.g., Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble)

Submitting Book and Audiovisual Purchase Requests

Faculty may submit book purchase requests via their departmental library representatives through YBP's GOBI system. Departmental representatives may also submit requests directly to their liaison librarian. Student and staff requests may be submitted through the online book recommendation form. Departmental representatives may submit requests for audiovisual items to the liaison librarian. Liaison librarians may submit their own requests on behalf of the departments with whom they liaise; however, ongoing collaboration between faculty librarians and faculty in the academic departments is highly desirable. Requestors must provide adequate bibliographic information, including author, title, publisher, date, and ISBN (if known). Austin, the online catalog, should be checked before submitting a request to verify that the item is not already held by the library.

Streaming Media Selection Guidelines

Streaming media is an increasingly important tool for higher education, and Woodward Library subscribes to a variety of streaming media services. The high cost of purchasing licenses for individual titles, combined with budget restrictions, place limitations on what the library is able to purchase. Before placing a request for individual streaming media titles, we ask faculty to consider the library’s existing streaming media services or the DVD collection, which can be found in the Austin library catalog.

Streaming media videos cannot be purchased like DVDs; instead, they are leased from vendors such as Kanopy and New Day Films for approximately $150 per film per year. To ensure that the library’s budget is being used to its full potential, streaming license requests must meet the following criteria:

  • Priority for purchasing streaming media will be given to online and hybrid courses.
  • The streaming media will be used as required course material.
  • Individual licenses will not be purchased if films covering similar subject matter are already available via the library’s existing streaming media subscriptions.
  • Streaming media requests must be placed by faculty.
  • Due to budget limitations the library cannot purchase streaming media for non-curricular purposes.

Students receiving accommodations through the Office of Disability Services who require alternate formats for audiovisual materials are encouraged to contact the library at 931-221-7346 to discuss accessible viewing options.

Journal and Online Database Selection Guidelines

  • Because of the ongoing cost implications of subscriptions, journal and database requests are reviewed by a committee consisting of the appropriate liaison librarian, Resources Management Librarian, Electronic Resources Librarian, and Director of Library Services.
  • First priority is given to the purchase of resources which directly support the curriculum.
  • Consideration will be given to resources supporting faculty research; however, projects of limited scope or duration may be supported by interlibrary loan in lieu of initiating new journal or database subscriptions.
  • Journals must be indexed and/or abstracted by a source available from the library.
  • Costs should be within an appropriate price range compared to the average cost of publications in the field.
  • Preference is given to resources which broaden the scope of the collection.
  • Preference is given to journals available in electronic format.
  • Duplicate formats are generally not purchased, although print subscriptions may be acquired if the online version is embargoed and there is a significant curricular or research need for the materials.
  • Preference is given to databases which offer campus-wide IP address recognition and authentication via a proxy server. The requirement of individual registration and/or password access is generally not acceptable.
  • The terms of license agreements or contracts must be acceptable to the University and TBR. The library complies with all terms and restrictions of license agreements and contracts.
  • Database trials are conducted on a highly selective basis, and may only be arranged by the Electronic Resources Librarian.
  • Journal and database subscriptions will be reviewed periodically, and materials with little usage may be subject to cancellation.

Journal and database subscription requests should include the following:

  • Bibliographic information such as title, publisher, publication frequency, ISSN (if known), and where indexed/abstracted
  • A brief statement indicating justification of need
  • A description of the user group composition and estimate of size; e.g., type and level of program, number of courses, enrollment size, etc.
  • Journal and database requests may be submitted to the appropriate liaison librarian, Resources Management Librarian, or Electronic Resources Librarian

Intellectual Freedom

Woodward Library supports the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and the Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries as adopted by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Last revised May 11, 2023