Collection development and relegation project Collection development and relegation project

Biannual Collection Development Policy review and endorsement (2017):

The Library’s Collection Development Policy underwent it’s biannual review in May 2017. This review and subsequent changes were endorsed by Library Forum on 25th May 2017 and ISSC committee 6th June 2017.

The policy makes further adjustments, necessary to underpin the move to “digital first” and clarify expectations about approaches to buying library materials in the context of the space constraints. This includes the aim of maintaining print resources within current discipline footprints as far as possible to ensure there is sufficient space on the shelves for new books.

Meeting research needs, as well as teaching needs, is still a priority for the Library in line with the UEA Plan, but the shift is towards “just in time” provision for researchers rather than ‘just in case’ purchasing and collection building. This may also include replacing existing physical stock with electronic alternatives.

This collection development policy aims to enable the Library to work with Faculties and Research Centres to ensure that current and future interests in teaching, learning and research are taken into account when building and maintaining Library collections and to ensure that Library space is utilised most effectively.

The overall approach will be determined by balancing differing needs such as: current teaching, learning and research interests, future known requirements, new course proposals, user preferences, and the University's strategic plan.

The new policy will come into effect for the new academic year 2017-18.

The updated policy is published here Library Regulations and Policies.

Project progress up to May 2017:

Digital 1st approach to resource acquisition

Print materials now account for around just 23% (£653,886) of the total expenditure on resources compared with 77% (£2,813,036) on electronic collections. 

In 2015/16 the Library purchased 3,585 individual e-books, representing 27% of the total number of individual items purchased. Additional e-book titles were also purchased in packages.

The percentage of the Library’s existing book collections that are used to support teaching is approximately 40%, as opposed to 60% which is to support research. This reflects the fact that prior to 2005, the Library was still focused on research collection building in its own right.

At present, despite the ‘digital first’ policy, only around 1 in 3 books is available/affordable for academic libraries to purchase in an electronic version, meaning that we still need physical space for two-thirds of our book acquisitions. 

Management of print resources

Key element of the project, endorsed by Library Forum and ISSC in 2015, was a selected withdrawal of print materials. A target of 50,000 items was agreed.

Print journals: where UEA has access to online versions in perpetuity, print journals have been withdrawn.

Books: where duplicate items are not required for current teaching, they are being withdrawn.  Consultation with a couple of selected discipline areas have begun - focusing on where low use “unique”, i.e. single copy, materials may be candidates for withdrawal in order to make sufficient space for new books.

In terms of its 50,000 target, the Library has managed to withdraw (June 2017) 30,130 books and 5,452 journal volumes which means we are two thirds of the way towards the target. 

Project closure:

June 2017 Library forum and ISSC have agreed that this project can close, and continued management of print resources move back into a “business as normal” mode.

Project background:

The University has endorsed the Library’s new Collection Development policy which supports maintaining a balance of research and teaching collections. This was following a University wide consultation in May – July 2015.  

To achieve this balance in the long term, the University must start to plan for a Library extension or equivalent and the case for this has now been made to the University.

In the meantime, the Library building is full, so in the short term we are faced with a difficult choice:

Either we stop buying books in some subject areas (which would immediately undermine the currency of research collections) or we carry out an in-depth review of existing teaching & research collections built up since the University was founded. 

Project endorsement:

Our view, endorsed by the Library forum and ISSC is that reviewing the existing teaching & research collections for withdrawals, rather than ceasing buying, is the approach more likely the retain the integrity of the research collections. In reviewing these collections, we will look to withdraw stock under certain criteria ensuring that there is space for those materials most relevant to our current teaching and research. Find out more about the process we use to withdraw material from the library.

Donations during the project:

In our new collection development policy, we stated that we will continue to review offers of research level donations to the Library. However, while we progress with this project, and because of space constraints, we will continue with the temporary stop on all donations. We will update this statement on this webpage when we are able to consider donations once more.