General Collection Development Policy Statements

Please contact the current selector(s) listed at the end of the policy if you have questions or comments.

General Policy Statements

These general policy statements are not repeated in individual guides but provide a general overview for each guide.

General Selection Guidelines

Individual subject policies complement the Dartmouth College Library's Collection Management Policy, which together provide selectors with a road map for making the decisions that are integral to the lifecycle of collection development and management. The Library's primary goal is to provide Dartmouth's current and future community with the greatest wealth of resources in the most effective and efficient ways, reflective of the Internet-enabled and collaborative environment in which Dartmouth now does its work. In this current environment the Library is no longer exclusively self-dependent: "collective collecting" with partner institutions now informs much of the collection development work we do. This strategy is reflected in the overall Collection Management Policy as well as in individual policies.

Relevance to the actual or potential needs of Dartmouth faculty and students
Selectors maintain close ties with their respective academic departments, institutes and research programs which are the primary stakeholders in a particular subject or interdisciplinary area. They keep informed about research activities, new and departing faculty, grants received and curriculum changes in their areas of responsibility. This information permits selectors to provide for current needs of Dartmouth faculty and students and to anticipate future ones.

Selectors comprehensively collect important general monographs related to the research and teaching interests of the Dartmouth community, and selectively acquire more specialized materials. Preference is given to serial titles that are of key interest to the disciplines as they are researched and taught at Dartmouth. Those that are of secondary interest are collected more selectively.

Depth of the existing collection in the subject and local availability of the item
When considering the purchase of a new title, selectors must also consider the strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection in which the new title will be located. While we do generally build upon strengths, unneeded redundancy is avoided. Availability of very expensive or somewhat tangential titles from partner libraries is also part of the decision-making. For journals with documented or expected low use, borrowing from partner institutions is considered as an alternative to subscription.

The quality of a title must be evaluated weighing several subjective factors collectively, i.e. its scholarship; level of creativity; lasting value; the reputation of the author, the publisher, the contributors, and the editorial board; the quality and importance of the illustrations; bibliographies included, etc. None of these are the deciding factors alone but all are considered as they contribute to or detract from the overall quality of the item under consideration.

Currency and timeliness
Research in some disciplines, such as the sciences, medicine, and engineering, depends upon access to the most up-to-date information. In those areas, preference is given to materials which report new and revised information in a timely fashion. The social sciences, arts and humanities also require timely access to new publications, but in many areas are equally committed to the significance of historical materials to support ongoing scholarship. In those areas, consideration is also given to older materials.

The value of a resource to the community cannot be measured only by considering its cost. The price, in addition to other criteria mentioned here, has to be considered when evaluating a purchase. When evaluating "free" materials, the cost of acquisitions processing, cataloging, shelving, and preservation must also be considered.

Language and country of origin
The Dartmouth College Library collects social sciences and humanities materials in a number of languages to support Dartmouth's foreign language and area studies programs.
In general duplication of materials is avoided when practical.

Preservation and Replacement
The Dartmouth College Library is committed to retaining the intellectual content of materials throughout their lifecycle, managing these materials through their format migration as necessary.

Collection management: See the Dartmouth College Library Collection Management Policy(PDF).