Old Dominion University Libraries

Policies & Procedures

Policies & Procedures



Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Criteria

General Criteria

The University Libraries acquire or provide access to a wide variety of resources in print, electronic, and media formats. Emphasis is on selective acquisitions of current materials. With the increasing output of new literature in every field, it is cost effective to purchase these materials at current prices when they are readily available. Emphasis is on the electronic format for periodicals, reference materials, and research collections. Bibliographers evaluate potential acquisitions on numerous criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Quality of material
  • Scholarly level
  • Relationship of subject matter to the academic programs, research programs, or service activities of the University.
  • Authority
  • Currency
  • Language
  • Historical value
  • Price
  • Expectation of use
  • Similar material in the collection

For the journal collections, reference resources, research collections, and media purchases, emphasis is on electronic formats. The University Libraries secures access to information through direct licensing from authorized providers and by utilizing connections to free resources. Selection criteria specifically applicable to digital formats will be considered, including but not limited to:

  • Uniqueness and comprehensiveness of information
  • Currency and validity of information and frequency of updates
  • Enhanced content, additional functionality, availability of site license
  • Cost effectiveness of access
  • Archival access
  • Copyright and fair use, including interlibrary loan privileges
  • Confidentiality and privacy provisions for all library patrons
  • Availability of usage statistics based on accepted standards
  • Legal issues, including licensing requirements and restrictions
  • Reliability of vendor or publisher in providing customer and technical support, training, etc.
  • Reputation and authority of publisher
  • User demand
  • Access via IP authentication  rather than by password
  • Technical support for storage and delivery of locally hosted content.

Specific Selection Criteria

  • Cloth Editions

Cloth editions are preferred because the University Libraries’ collection is a permanent collection. Cloth editions are generally published before paperback editions and generally allow for ease of rebinding.

  • Paperback Editions

Paperbacks are collected when it is the only format available. In addition, paperback editions are collected when there is a substantial price difference between the paper and the cloth edition. 

  • Multiple Imprints

The University Libraries will not acquire more than a single imprint in cases when a book is published simultaneously in two or more places, but with different imprints. In most cases, the U.S. edition is the preferred edition.  Substantively different editions may be collected.

  • Abridged Editions

Unabridged editions are preferred over abridged editions. Exceptions can be made when the original edition is no longer available.

  • Reprint Editions

Reprints are sometimes purchased when the original editions are no longer available or are too costly. Exact facsimile reproductions are very expensive and generally not collected. Exceptions can be made by consultation with the Collection Development Officer.

  • Loose-leaf or Spiral Editions

Spiral or loose-leaf formats are not preferred formats. Important materials that are available only in these formats will be collected.

Duplication of Materials and Multiple Copies

The University Libraries generally purchases only single copies.  Exceptions to this guideline may be made when:  1) Reference or research responsibilities at multiple sites require duplication of core works, 2) Reserve materials are required at more than one site, and 3) Unusually high demand warrants additional copies.

Faculty Authors

Two copies of each monograph written by an Old Dominion University faculty member will be acquired. One copy will be in the circulating collection and one in Special Collections and Archives.

Languages of the Collection

The collection is predominantly English. Foreign language materials will be acquired to support the teaching mission of the University and to support specific curricular needs.

Dissertations and Theses

The University Libraries is the depository for dissertations and theses produced by Old Dominion University students. The University’s Office of Graduate Studies sends two copies to the Perry Library. One copy goes into Special Collections and Archives and one copy goes into the circulating collection. 
Theses and dissertations not written at Old Dominion University are not generally collected. Electronic copies of theses and dissertations (including the University’s) from 1997 forward are available through ProQuest’s Dissertations & Theses Full-Text databases. Other copies may be available through interlibrary loan.


Pamphlets, booklets or brochures are generally not collected.

Government Documents

The University Libraries collects United State Government Documents, Commonwealth of Virginia Documents, and a few selective European Union Documents.  In 1963, Old Dominion University became a selective depository for United States Government Documents, and now received approximately 64% of all items available from the Government Printing Office.  The University is a full depository (receives 100%) for Virginia State Documents.

Music Scores

The University Libraries collects scholarly anthologies and collected editions of composers; study, full, and reference scores for orchestra, chorus, and chamber music; as well as performance editions (e.g., sets of parts) for chorus, solo instruments, and chamber music. Operas, oratorios, and other dramatic works are collected in both full and vocal score. In addition to direct ordering, scores are acquired  from Harrassowitz and J.W. Pepper on approval plans.

College Textbooks

Textbooks will be added only if they constitute a unique source or serve a specific research purpose.


Lost, damaged, or missing items are not automatically replaced. Instead, they are evaluated based upon collecting priorities and usage data. If damaged or lost materials in obsolete formats are determined to be important to the collection, the University Libraries will attempt to replace such materials.  If no exact replacement can be found, a similar but not exact item may be purchased as a substitute.  

Continuations and Standing Orders

Materials published once a year or less are considered continuations. Annuals, biennials, and other publications, which are identified by a bibliographer as an appropriate title may be placed on standing order.  Standing Orders ensure that materials are acquired as soon as published and that all volumes in a series are included.  Materials requiring only occasional updating should be firm ordered.  Consideration is given to the usefulness of the title, frequency of publication, format, and availability of discounts.

Periodical Reprints

Collections of journal articles published as monographs may be purchased when the University Libraries does not own the journal or when the selection covers a particular subject.

Manuscripts, Oral History Materials

These materials are generally not collected for the general collection, but are represented in Special Collections and University Archives and in the Art Library.


Although the electronic format is preferred over the microform version, due to its durability, compact storage, availability, and cost, the microform format is the format of choice for certain categories of materials.  Decisions to purchase microform material should be made by the bibliographers in consultation with the Collection Development Officer. 

Microform subscriptions will be maintained to replace paper copies of periodicals that regularly disappear, are mutilated, or get worn out through heavy use, are printed on paper that will rapidly deteriorate, or are issued in formats that are not receptive to binding. If the material can be purchased in the electronic format at a reasonable price, then an electronic subscription will be substituted for the microform version.
Microforms should be ordered on 35mm, silver halide, positive, microfilm. If not available in this version, microfiche is an acceptable substitute. Non silver halide film is not appropriate for permanent retention materials.


It is the intent of the University Libraries to provide students, faculty, and other library users with a variety of carefully selected educational programs and resources in various media formats. Media materials will be considered for acquisition if they support a University course or support a University program. Course-specific media will be given the highest priority, and course enrollment may also be a factor in considering a purchase. The acquisition of media titles is governed by the following criteria:

  • Quality of material (subject content/audio/video/other presentation factors)
  • Compatibility of the media with the present collection and available hardware
  • Perception of the lasting value of the media
  • User level (appropriate to known academic needs)
  • Curriculum relevance (for teaching, supplementary learning or ”source material research)
  • Authoritativeness
  • Language (English spoken and/or subtitle)
  • Price
  • User demand
  • Licensing or subscription requirements compatible with user needs and commonwealth procurement regulations
  • Reliability of vendor or publisher n providing customer and technical support, training, etc.
  • Reputation and authority of publisher or vendor.

Media formats acquired by the University Libraries include videocassettes, compact discs, and digital video formats (DVD). Other formats may be purchased in consultation with the Collection Development Officer.  Formats excluded from acquisition (including gifts) are 8mm film; film loops; reel-to-reel tapes; 8-track cartridges; 33 1/3, 78, and 45 rpm phonograph records; art prints; and filmstrips. Replacement of lost or damaged media will be made on a title-by-title basis.


The University Libraries welcomes gifts of books, journals, and other media that strengthen and add depth to it collections. Selection standards and guidelines for both purchased and donated materials are the same. Once accepted, the University Libraries reserves the right to decide on the final disposition of gifts.