Collection Development Policy

University Libraries, Unt Policy And Procedure Memorandum.


The Collection Development Policy of the University of North Texas Libraries governs the acquisition, disposition, placement, and access to materials that support the research and teaching needs of students and faculty, in accordance with the missions of the University and the Library.

The UNT Libraries’ general collection supports the core studies and interdisciplinary work of the UNT community. Library resources serve students through access to excellent scholarly material; access is made possible through traditional purchasing as well as subscriptions to electronic resources, user-driven selection programs, and open access materials.

The UNT Libraries serve a diverse constituency with varied experiences, backgrounds, abilities, and needs. We endeavor to attain equity of ideas and diversity of voices in the research materials provided to users of the UNT collections. We affirm our alignment with the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Diversity Standard #4: ‘Librarians and library staff shall develop collections and provide programs and services that are inclusive of the needs of all persons in the community the library serves.’

The Collection Development Department, working in collaboration with selectors ranging from subject librarians to faculty and students, are committed to a strategy of cultivating collections that include multiple formats and languages, various types of publishers and countries of origin, content produced by and demonstrative of historically excluded groups, and a multitude of viewpoints. Collection development activities (resource evaluation, acquisition, description, location, retention, preservation, investment in open access) will reflect the varied, evolving, and increasingly interdisciplinary curricula and research of UNT, and include regular assessment, examining representation, inclusivity, varieties of perspectives, and collection gaps.


  1. Subject Librarian: a member of the Libraries’ staff who has the responsibility for working in a partnership with one or more academic departments, schools, programs or colleges to develop the Libraries’ collections. See the subject librarians list for more information.
  2. Academic Department Faculty Representative: a member of the academic department who works with the subject librarian to develop the Libraries’ collections in the department’s areas of expertise.
  3. General Collection: the collection that contains the majority of the materials in the areas of the humanities, social sciences, science, and technology.
  4. Primary Clientele: students, faculty and staff of the University of North Texas are the primary clientele of the general collection.
  5. Selection: refers to the act of choosing materials to make accessible to UNT Libraries patrons via the UNT Libraries catalog, discovery system, website, or other means. Selection does not necessarily imply permanent ownership.

Scope Of The Collection Development Policy

The Collection Development Policy applies to the General Collection of the University of North Texas (UNT) Libraries.

Some unique collections of the UNT Libraries have individual collection policies. The unique collections are governed by the Collection Development Policy, but are allowed variance in primary and secondary clientele, selection guidelines and collection maintenance. The variance will be determined by the heads of unique collections to meet the needs of the special materials and their clientele.

For information on collection development in UNT’s unique collections, please see the following policy statements or collection websites: Special Collections, Government Documents, Media Library, Digital Collections, and Music Library.

For other related policies, please see the Born Digital and Open Access Resources Collection Development Policy, Reconsideration of Materials Policy, Gift Policy, General Collection Research Data Policy, and Disposition of Items Policy.

Goals Of Collection Development

UNT Libraries’ collection development activities emphasize collections as a “just in time” service, designed to meet current users’ needs, take advantage of emerging acquisitions models, and maintain a sustainable, holistic, and flexible collection plan within allocated budgets. The UNT Libraries demonstrates a strong commitment to evidence-based decision-making by continually assessing the collections and their impact on learning and research.

Collection Development goals include:

  • To provide an excellent user experience.
  • To provide access and discoverability to collections that respond nimbly at point-of-need.
  • To facilitate big-picture design of the collections with input from all stakeholders.
  • To apply new technologies to the wise stewardship of funding.
  • To collaborate with students and faculty to determine user needs.

Fund Allocations

Each year the Libraries’ materials budget is set by the Dean of Libraries based on the recommendations of the Collection Management Division and with review by the Academic Financial Officer. The materials budget is intended to support the University’s overall goals of delivering high quality education, enhancing student success, and expanding knowledge through research, scholarship, and creative activity.

Funds are set aside to cover current costs and anticipated inflation for serial resources, including databases, journals, and standing orders. Funding is also designated for one-time purchases like books, backfiles, and archival collections. Each year, expenditures are planned on a targeted set of special enhancements, based on evidence of need, and to support other special projects.

Responsibility For Selection

Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the general and unique collections rests with the Dean of Libraries. Delegated responsibility for coordinating the collection as a whole lies with the Collection Development Department in close consultation with subject librarians, who represent the needs of the students and faculty.

Academic faculty and subject librarians are responsible for recommending resources in the fields of their particular expertise to support the curriculum and research mission of the University.

Selection Guidelines

The Libraries will provide access to materials in all appropriate formats and subject areas, and provide appropriate means of discovery. The UNT Libraries bases collection development decisions on objective and subjective evidence via continuous assessment. Requests to acquire materials in untested or inaccessible formats will be referred to the Associate Dean for Collection Management for approval. Exceptions to the stated guidelines will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as necessary by the Collection Development Department.

In striving to meet its obligations within the limits of its resources, the UNT Libraries will follow these guidelines for the general collections.

General Selection Guidelines

General selection guidelines for all materials are:

  • Support for curriculum and research: Materials must relate to the teaching and research of current UNT students and faculty. The Libraries’ materials budget will support access to and/or discovery of materials available for use by students.
  • Lasting value: Longevity of the content, including but not limited to:
    • Interdisciplinary resources that can be used by many researchers are favored.
    • Anticipated value to the current patron population based on predicted need, demonstrated by evidence such as feedback from trials.
    • Quality of scholarship (the information in the resource logically pertains to its apparent subject; the information is reliably accurate, demonstrably factual and reasonably comprehensive or complete within the context of the subject; and the citations or links within the resource are valid).
    • Uniqueness of content or treatment. Interdisciplinary resources that can be used by many researchers are favored.
    • Appropriateness of the level of treatment (depth, breadth, etc. ). Full-text access is preferred to indexing services.
    • Objectivity (the information presented is open to verification and validation within the context of the subject).
    • Currency of information and/or frequency of updating, as assessed within the context of the subject.
    • Quality of the physical condition of the product, if applicable.
  • Organization: how the information is organized and retrieved; quality of indexing or MARC records.
  • Usability and accessibility: UNT Libraries will not purchase materials for individuals or materials restricted to single-user access; or purchase materials whose use is limited to a sub-set of the patron population. UNT Libraries will purchase materials that meet accessibility standards for users.
  • Cost and terms: When purchasing, UNT Libraries will consider overall cost, purchasing method, predicted cost-per-use.
  • Strength of present holdings in subject areas or similar subject areas.
  • Authoritativeness of the author and/or reliability of the publisher, compiler, producer, vendor, etc.
  • Format: Preference will be given to materials in electronic format.
  • Consortial holdings: Holdings of libraries or consortia with which the UNT Libraries have cooperative agreements or of libraries within the UNT System must be considered when making selection decisions. Consortial or system agreements may override local requests for ownership.
  • Multiple copies: 3 or more print copies of any title shall not be purchased without approval by Collection Development Department personnel. Purchasing an electronic version is preferred to purchasing multiple print copies.
  • Consumable materials: UNT Libraries will not purchase materials intended to be consumed (e. g. workbooks, tests, software, etc. ).
  • Textbooks: UNT Libraries will not purchase or maintain a collection of currently adopted textbooks for coursework. Requests for purchases of textbooks will be considered on a case-by-case basis; textbooks must have value beyond that of a textbook to be considered for inclusion. Donated textbooks may be added to the collection.

Electronic Resources Selection

Electronic resources shall be selected based on the following characteristics in addition to those stated above:

  • Remote access availability and number of simultaneous users allowed. Resources restricted to a specific location will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Usability: Standards for the proper functionality of the resource include but are not limited to:
    • Absence of additional non-standard or proprietary technology,
    • Absence of additional fees or registrations,
    • Absence of barriers for accessing text directly in order to change displays for alternative methods of viewing.
    • Accessibility for patrons with disabilities;
    • Ease of use for novices;
    • Device compatibility;
    • Adequate help resources;
    • Adequate output options (printing, downloading);
    • Adheres to established standards for readability and usability;
    • Availability of digital archiving rights; and
    • Ease of archiving, replacing, or preserving.
  • Network hardware and/or software compatibility.
  • Quality and usability of retrieval/search engine.
  • Availability and quality of vendor support.
  • Compliance with minimum standards for licensing and contract terms. Licensing considerations include, but are not limited to:
    • Texas state contract requirements;
    • InterLibrary Loan rights;
    • Right to include in course packs;
    • Patron privacy protections; and
    • Restrictions on other activities such as resource sharing and data mining.
  • Treatment of graphics, formulae, and other nonstandard characters.
  • Availability of standardized usage statistics.
  • Other technical manageability concerns.

Continuing Resources

Serials selections and purchases will be guided by the following guidelines as well as those stated above:

  • Current serial subscriptions are reviewed annually by the Collection Development Department and subject librarians for continued appropriateness to the University’s and the Libraries’ mission;
  • to ensure the most efficient use of library funding; and
  • to meet consortial or system agreements.

Collection Maintenance


Because of the research status of the UNT Libraries, deselection, or “weeding,” is done on a limited basis. Any weeding from the collections will be the responsibility of the Collection Development Department and the subject librarian in consultation with appropriate library departments and/or unique collections. Types of materials that might be considered for deselection include, but are not limited to superseded materials, surplus materials, or deteriorated materials. See also Disposition of Library Materials Policy.

Placement Of Materials

  1. Patrons have access to library materials unless the needs of the Libraries’ primary clientele necessitate special placement in reserves. The primary reason for placing items on reserve is that they will be used repeatedly by large numbers of patrons, e. g. required or recommended reading selected for courses by faculty members.
  2. Materials may be considered for placement in a secured location or reserves for the purposes of preservation or security. The Head of Collection Development or subject librarian is responsible for making placement decisions for these purposes. Librarians will consult with heads of unique collections before placing items in those collections.

Reconsideration Of Materials

The UNT Libraries are committed to the principles of intellectual freedom as outlined in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. Challenges to collection development decisions are governed by our Reconsideration of Materials Policy.


Gifts are accepted in accordance with the current Gift Policy.


  • Approved: 06/25/12
  • Revised: 01/17; 02/19; 06/21

License Information

This Policy: "Collection Development Policy" by UNT Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.