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Collection Management Principles and Strategies

Considerations for Selection

The collection goals guide Gould Library in selecting materials which support the current curriculum and enhance existing collections.

Considerations in selecting materials for the general collections include:

  • Aligns with teaching and learning needs of the College
  • Supports the curricular programs of the College
  • Supports student Integrated Comprehensive Exercises ("Comps')
  • Supports general information needs of faculty, staff, and students
  • Suggestions from students, faculty, and staff

  • Reflects the diversity of scholarship

  • Present and potential relevance

  • Relation to the existing collection

  • Format options

  • Comprehensiveness and depth of coverage

  • Authoritativeness or reputation of the author, editor, publisher, producer, etc.

  • Favorable recognition in standard reviewing resources

  • Availability of institutional license

  • Discoverability in major indexing and abstracting resources

  • Cost and availability of funds

  • Availability of resources through our consortia partnerships and interlibrary loan


Electronic Resources


The selection of electronic resources for the Library’s collection (e.g., books, journals, databases, streaming video), as with other formats, must support the teaching and learning needs of the Carleton community. Other criteria related specifically to electronic resources are also considered. These include license terms, digital rights management, accessibility, access options, customer support, availability of usage statistics, publisher business models and long-term preservation. 

Electronic resources must be accessible as institutional level subscriptions or purchases that are open to all in the current Carleton community.  The Library strongly prefers to provide access to electronic resources via proxy technology, with users authenticated by IP address for on campus access or by Carleton Login credentials for off campus access.  In some cases, the Library may provide access to electronic resources that use alternative means of authentication, typically user-created username and password, but only for resources that are available at the institutional level and only for resources that may be accessed on and off campus. 



Books collected span nearly all subjects, time periods, and include a vast array of publishers. Titles are purchased to serve the current and future needs of the Carleton community.

Books are collected in both print and electronic formats.  We typically do not duplicate e-book and print book purchases, however exceptions are made on a case by case basis for user preferences.

E-books may be purchased individually or as part of a package.  They may be available via subscription, a DDA (Demand Driven Acquisitions) plan or an EBA (Evidence Base Acquisitions) plan which allow the Library to provide access to a large number of e-books without necessarily purchasing them.  With the exception of OverDrive which supplements the Current Reading collection, only e-books that allow unlimited simultaneous users are purchased.

Not all e-books are available for purchase individually and availability may only be as part of an e-book package.  In these cases, cost and anticipated use of package titles are considered.  Likewise, not all physical books are available as e-books.



E-journals are preferred over print.  The Library has progressively changed journal subscriptions from print to digital format; this has guided and influenced the acquisition of new and existing journals.  The Library subscribes to scholarly journals as packages or individually from both journal publishers and vendor aggregators.  Scholarly journals present a large ongoing budgetary commitment and renewals commonly involve price increases.  Requests for new journal subscriptions are carefully evaluated in terms of direct support for the curriculum and cost, as well as current and historical interlibrary loan borrowing requests.

Print journal subscriptions have been greatly reduced, however some print subscriptions continue due to lack of electronic availability, lack of archival rights, subscription purchase models, and preference of content use.



The Library collects selected materials in microform format  (e.g. microfilm, microfiche) when they are not available in other formats.

Government Documents


The library is a selective Federal Depository of publications distributed by the Government Printing Office (GPO).  Resources are available in a variety of formats including print and electronic.

Current Reading


The Library provides access to some current reading material in print, e-book and audiobook formats with a focus on recent fiction and non-fiction bestsellers, award-winners, as well as Carleton community suggestions.  Typically, selections will not duplicate titles already in the Library collection, regardless of format, though some exceptions may apply on a case by case basis (e.g. high popularity, accessibility, campus author events). In addition to the physical Current Reading collection, the OverDrive online collection includes e-books and audiobooks.

Films and Videos


The Library subscribes to several streaming media databases and continues to purchase DVD and supports legacy formats such as  VHS.  The Library acquires films via streaming file, DVD, or Blu-ray Disc, with preference being in that order.  VHS will be purchased only in the event no other format is available. As streaming media continues to evolve, we consider several factor for selection including platform stability, acquisitions models, licensing terms, cost, duration of access, and accessibility. 



Textbooks are understood to be books published for the academic market, often in multiple editions and usually including consumable materials such as workbooks, solution manuals, and lab books.  As a general policy, the Library does not typically acquire copies of textbooks due to their cost and purchasing limitations.  Publishers typically do not license electronic textbooks for institutional use and increasingly do not sell physical textbooks directly to libraries.  To support student success, the library does collect a limited number of physical textbooks to place on Course Reserves at the request of faculty or determined by student need.