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Collection Policies: Collection Development Policy

Intellectual Freedom

The Aubrey R. Watzek Library supports the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, its Intellectual Freedom Statement, and its statement on Challenged Materials. The Library attempts to purchase materials which represent differing opinions on controversial matters. Within the guidelines of this policy, all subjects and points of view will be considered without prejudice or censorship when determining the balance of the collection.

Collection Development Objectives

In order to prioritize expenditures and collecting practices, the following hierarchically-arranged objectives will be utilized:

  1. Provide access to information necessary for the instructional programs offered by Lewis & Clark College.
  2. Provide access to information required by the students, faculty, and staff of Lewis & Clark College for their intellectual inquiry.
  3. Satisfy all relevant collection standards issued by governmental agencies, professional associations, or other accrediting bodies.
  4. Provide access to the College's information resources through the collaborative creation and dissemination of discovery tools.

Budget Allocation

The Associate Library Director, in consultation with the Library Director and the Collection Development Librarian, allocates the materials budget among the librarian selectors. Decisions on the distribution of funds is made at the beginning of each fiscal year and communicated to Collection Management Services for input into the current ILS. The annual fiscal budget for acquisition of materials is roughly divided between nonrecurring (ex. books) and recurring (ex. serials) expenditures. Fund lines exist for each librarian subject selector (see Selection Responsibility). Allocated funds are spent for materials to be housed in Watzek Library or the electronic access systems under its control. Funds are not spent for materials to be housed outside of Watzek Library or in departmental collections.

Selection Responsibility

Final responsibility for the development and maintenance of the collection rests with the Library Director, who delegates all organizational and operational responsibilities to the Acquisitions & Collection Development Librarian. The Director assigns each of the participating librarians responsibilities for specific subject areas, for which they act as selectors. These selectors act as library liaisons, conducting collection development in their subject areas through the use of reviews, bibliographies, publisher catalogs, and various vendor interfaces. Faculty are encouraged to monitor their professional literature and submit requests accordingly. Student and staff acquisition requests are also encouraged and reviewed by the same standards as those applied to faculty and librarians. Highly specialized materials for faculty research that fall outside of the current curriculum will be acquired as funds allow, and only after the fulfillment of immediate curricular needs. For cost-prohibitive items with limited campus use, funds may be pooled between the Library and applicable departments, provided the latter understands the Library to have control and housing over the requested materials once received.

Evaluative Criteria

While the Library’s Mission provides the broader framework for the collecting process, operational decisions on the acquisition/deselection of materials must use specific evaluative criteria to gauge an item's usefulness to the needs of the College community. A given item need not meet all of these criteria, but they should instead be used as general guidelines to arrive at an informed decision on selection/retention.


  • Relevance to the actual or potential needs of the College's curriculum
  • Scope and content
  • Enrichment and support of the existing collection
  • Underrepresented voices or topics
  • Physical quality and durability
  • Usage
  • Currency
  • Timeliness
  • Price
  • Language and country of origin
  • Coherence of series
  • Acceptability based on professional selection tools
  • Program accreditation requirements
  • Literary merit or artistic quality
  • Presentation of alternative viewpoints

Additional Criteria for Electronic Resources:

  • Coverage and the timely availability of material
  • Enhanced contents and additional functionality of electronic as compared with print
  • Cost-effectiveness, e.g. subscription savings, lower processing costs, number of simultaneous users included in license terms
  • Cost-effective replacement for existing sources
  • Publisher/Vendor commitment to web access to a permanent archive of back-issues
  • Availability of usage statistics by vendor in useful and manipulable format
  • Stability of software or platform
  • Logical and accessible user interface
  • Method of delivery

Other Considerations:

  • Although textbooks are not normally purchased for the general circulating collection, faculty and/or library liaisons may opt to override this policy by placing 1 copy on reserve for use by students. Once removed from reserve, the library liaison will decide whether or not it will enter the circulating collection. Faculty review copies will always be returned.
  • Duplicates are purchased only in expectation of an item's heavy and sustained circulation.
  • Superseded titles may be retained if they serve as cultural artifacts from a particular historical period pertinent to research.
  • Lost or stolen materials are evaluated for replacement. For older imprints, difficulty of obtaining replacements through the out-of-print marketplace should be considered.


Overall the criteria used for selection and/or retention of a given serial are identical to those used for monographs. However due to escalating publication costs, limited funds, and the prospective long-standing commitments involved, new serial subscriptions carry substantially more weight than new monograph acquisitions. Departments making new serial requests will be required to review their existing commitments and recommend cancellations equal to the new serial subscription amount. Library Liaisons will work with Collection Management Services to create and identify these title review lists for departments. Titles recently renewed are ineligible for immediate cancellation but may be flagged for review during the next cycle. Extended back runs of qualifying serials or journal subscriptions are purchased only as deemed necessary and as the budget permits. See Donation Policy for Gifts for additional information on serial donations.

Electronic Access vs. Physical Ownership

In much the same fashion as serials, the decision whether or not to purchase a resource electronically or physically depends on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, cost differentiations, projected usage, contractual stipulations, space concerns, consortial availability, pre-existing but incomplete ownership (for serial runs), archival/preservation issues, and the research necessities of the discipline(s) utilizing a particular resource.  In some instances, full-image will be required over full-text due to the latter's absence of charts, diagrams, and other graphical data to which the text directs the researcher's attention.

Simultaneous print and  electronic access may exist if:

  • Electronic access is available only to print subscribers
  • Content coverage is not identical to that of the print version, or the text or illustration format of the print and electronic versions is not of the same quality
  • Electronic publication lags behind the print edition
  • Publisher has no commitment to archiving the electronic version, nor are they offered via an aggregate vendor.

See Special Consortial Arrangements section below for additional criteria related to the Orbis Cascade Alliance.

Audio-Visual Material

The criteria used to assess audio-visual materials mirrors that used for monographs, with special consideration given for particular formats and standards; CD is the format of preference for audio, and DVD is the format of preference for video. Blu-Ray is collected only in situations where higher resolution is needed for classroom screening purposes. Other international video formats, such as PAL, are collected only when no authoritative version exists in NTSC. Region-free DVDs will be utilized if the item contains an English translation. At current, the Library cannot provide the facilities to view PAL materials, although facilities do exist on campus for this purpose. All films should, whenever possible, reflect the work's original screening format, such as correct aspect ratio and subtitles for international films. Dubbed films are only collected in rare and unusual circumstances and should generally be avoided. Evaluation, deselection, and replacement of audio-visual items follow the same procedural guidelines as for monographs.

Streaming is considered on a case by case basis. Generally, streaming rights are not obtained for titles the Library already owns in DVD format, unless the demand is such that the hard copy is insufficient to cover need. The time limits on most streaming licenses means that they should never be considered part of our permanent collection.

Dissertations and Theses

For research needs involving dissertations and theses, interlibrary loan will be the primary mechanism for acquiring materials. Those items unobtainable via ILL may be purchased for the collection following review and approval by the subject selector(s) in that particular area. Depending on clarity of content, the subject selector may, at their own discretion, solicit additional information from the requestor before deciding upon its acquisition.

Visual Resources Collection

The Visual Resources Collection (VRC) is a teaching resource of Watzek Library containing over 50,000 slides (35mm) and several thousand digital images which represent artwork from a wide range of media, time periods, world regions and cultures. The collection exists to support instruction in the Art Department as well as historical and cultural studies campus-wide. The VRC creates collections of digital images through the licensing and purchase of digital images and through slide scanning, flatbed scanning and copystand photography. The images are chosen specifically to support the curriculum of the college.  Criteria includes:

  • The Visual Resource Curator will determine which digital imaging projects fit the criteria of institutional need, staff support and budget.
  • Imaging projects for the Art Department will receive priority due to curriculum needs for visual resources.

Special Collections

Special Collections maintains its own set of distinct acquisition priorities developed in accordance with its overall mission.  Subject areas of significance include:

  • Lewis and Clark Expedition/Lewis and Clark Centennial Expo
  • Pacific Exploration and North American overland exploration
  • Oregon History and Literature
  • The history of Lewis & Clark College
  • Writings by and about William Stafford
  • Modern American Poetry
  • WWII Pacifism/Civilian Public Service
  • Fine Press Printing and exemplary works showing different methods and periods of printing
  • Gender studies
  • Books related to specific Lewis & Clark course offerings

Donation Policy for Gifts

Donations are encouraged, with the understanding that the Library cannot promise the item(s) integration into the collection for a variety of reasons, including condition, timeliness/relevance of content, and space restrictions. Unless prior arrangements have been made, all items donated but not ultimately used will be given to various organizations and charities in need of materials. The Library cannot accept gifts with restricted conditions, nor can we offer appraisals for value.  All information needed for determining value at a later date--condition, compiling of title lists, etc--should be done prior to the point of donation, as the Library does not have the resources to offer such services. The Library may, depending upon the scope and content, suggest a different recipient institution if the donation would be better utilized elsewhere. A letter of acknowledgement (sans value) will be issued to the donor which may be used for tax purposes. Serial donations will be accepted in rare circumstances but the additional costs associated with binding and housing necessitate a more conservative process of selectivity.

Collection Maintenance

Since libraries are constantly evolving to suit their user communities, selectors are expected to undertake periodic assessments of their assigned subject areas to ensure ongoing relevance to the instructional and research needs of the College. This is done using the Evaluative Criteria section. The Acquisitions & Collection Development Librarian may help facilitate this process further by gathering statistical reports and assisting in the assessment and/or deselection of materials. The reference collection is continually monitored for outdated material, which is replaced or withdrawn. Individual sections of the regular collection should be subject to periodic review by the appropriate selectors. Changes in the curriculum or programs of the College may require specific deselection projects. Faculty are encouraged to report any outdated or inaccurate materials in their areas of expertise but ultimate authorization for withdrawal rests with the librarian subject selectors.


Preventative measures will be enacted to reduce the risk of exposure to elements which may devalue or damage the physical collection. These include, but are not limited to, consistent temperature and humidity regulation, periodic sweeps for damaged bindings, and occasional shifts to ensure adequate space for shelving. Any materials showing signs of mold and/or insect damage will be quarantined or discarded to minimize the risk to surrounding titles. Formulation of preservation procedure and policy will be the responsibility of the Collection Development Committee, with recommendations brought before the Library Director for any further action. For large-scale incidents, the Library's Disaster Plan outlines explicit responses to scenarios such as earthquakes, water leaks, etc.

Materials that cannot be bound or repaired due to narrow margins, fragility, etc. may, at the selector's request, be replaced with used copies acquired from out-of-print book dealers. Materials of unique or aesthetic value should be preserved in their original form whenever possible, with all others bound in a manner that best preserves their content. Paperbound books are added without binding but may be reinforced with plastic covering if necessary due to predicted heavy use. Heavily-used journals previously bound in-house should be shipped off to professional binderies as funds permit.

Government Documents

Watzek Library has been a member of the Federal Depository Library Program since 1967. This status provides our users with valuable information resources and is further enhanced by our consortial borrowing arrangements within Orbis Cascade. The documents collection primarily consists of current or contemporary information and is therefore not an archival collection. While most documents are usually retained for only 5 years, several subsets are kept for longer periods of time. Based on past usage statistics, the following subject areas will serve as the focus of the government documents collection:

  1. American Culture & Life
  2. Education
  3. Environmental Studies
  4. Economics
  5. International Affairs
  6. Political Science
Consult the Government Documents Department Manual for comprehensive coverage on other policies and procedures.

Boley Law Library

Paul L. Boley Law Library is an autonomous institution of the College and maintains a collection development policy independent of Watzek Library.

Special Consortial Arrangements

  • Orbis Cascade Alliance's "Last Copy" Guidelines
    The Orbis Cascade Alliance seeks to offer and maintain a diverse, wide ranging collection to serve our users. Member libraries are dedicated to sharing resources when appropriate to achieve economies of space and expand the range of materials available. In order to provide this wide range of materials, withdrawal decisions are made carefully and collaboratively to preserve unique items in the Summit collection. Therefore, when considering an item for withdrawal, library staff should routinely consult Summit to determine if the copy is the last one held in the consortium. If the copy is found to be unique to the catalog, reasonable efforts should be made to preserve the copy. If in the professional judgment of staff, the title is in usable condition and adds value to the Summit collection it should be retained by the library or offered to other Alliance members.
  • Orbis Cascade Alliance's Distributed Print Repository Project
    The Orbis Cascade Alliance, and the State of Oregon acting by and through the State Board of Higher Education on behalf of the University of Oregon, has embarked upon a distributed print repository project which arranges for certain of its members to store and archive, on behalf of the Alliance, various academic journals and other research materials so that hard copies of such materials can be retained and preserved for the benefit and use of students and faculty in perpetuity. Therefore, Watzek Library, in accordance with this agreement, retains and will continue to retain complete runs of certain print titles already available electronically via the JSTOR project. This retention schedule was proposed, ratified, and implemented by all member institutions represented on the Alliance's Collection Development and Management Committee (CDMC).
  • WEST membership:
    As an institutional participant in the UC system’s Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST), Watzek Library will submit journal holdings information to CRL’s PAPR registry on a periodic basis and assist in consortial collection development related to serials print archiving.