Collection Development Policy Statement
It is the primary responsibility of the RIT Libraries to provide collections to directly support the curricular needs of Rochester Institute of Technology's career-oriented undergraduate programs. The research needs of the RIT community are served through a combination of on-site collections, electronic resources (indexes and full-text), interlibrary loan and document delivery services, including ConnectNY.
The selectors (i.e. Information and Education Services staff) are responsible for specific portions of the libraries' collection. In their assigned disciplines, selectors in collaboration with their faculty, provide for collection development, bibliographic instruction and academic department liaison activities. Other library staff and patrons may suggest titles by submitting a "Suggest New Library Materials" form available on the library’s website or by contacting any of the Information and Education Services Department staff.
General Description of the RIT Libraries Collection and Its Use
The subject scope of the RIT Libraries collection is broad. The collection is developed in support of the current and anticipated instructional, research and service programs of the eight individual colleges at RIT (applied science and technology; business; computing and information sciences; engineering; imaging arts and sciences; liberal arts; National Technical Institute for the Deaf; and science). The functional core areas coincide with the curriculum taught in the eight colleges on campus or at a distance as well as general interest areas such as sports, travel, career and resume resources. The collection primarily supports undergraduate and masters level courses (student research, faculty teaching needs) and faculty and doctoral student research. Administrative staff also frequently draws upon the resources of the collection.
RIT Libraries Mission Statement and Goals
RIT Libraries will be seen as an acknowledged resource on applying innovation in developing cultural collections and customer connections.
As an active partner in quality education, focusing on curricular support and enrichment of the academic experience, RIT Libraries will offer quality services to meet our community's needs by:
- Providing current technologies to access onsite collections and global networks.
- Delivering innovative instruction and responsive help services.
- Maintaining a welcoming environment that is comfortable, secure and accessible for our community.
Building Improvement - Repurpose and improve the library facility to meet Academic Affairs and patron needs or accommodate collection evolution.
Outreach - Foster a collaborative community by providing academic, research and scholarship support and opportunities to disseminate focused archival, current and cultural information services.
Customize Services - Provide customized library services that match the unique information needs of our constituencies.
Assessment - Develop assessment tools to measure library service outcomes.
Evolve the Collection - Evolve collections that support student and faculty research and scholarship by expanding the availability of materials, digitizing collections and increasing electronic offerings
Organizational Needs - Shift specific organizational resources to meet new or existing organizational priorities.
Collection Development Objectives
The primary objective of the RIT Libraries is the support of undergraduate and graduate academic programs at RIT.
Library collection development and library acquisitions programs work in support of these programs. In addition to curricula-based development the Library collects in these related areas:
- Acquisition of research material (print, electronic, media, microform, etc.) of lasting value that is requested by faculty and administration.
- Acquisition of materials for general reference and information outside of the areas of academic instruction (career information, resume writing resources).
- Acquisition of popular reading material that will promote a life-long reading habit.
- Acquisition of a variety of materials to provide different perspectives on controversial issues.
- Acquisition of archival material pertaining to RIT
Description of the Programs Served by the Collection
- Undergraduate Programs-See Section I.
- Graduate Programs-See Section I.
Criteria for Selection of Materials
Institutional goals, relevancy to the RIT curriculum, quality of content and fulfillment of academic needs are the primary factors taken into consideration when selecting materials. Specific considerations in choosing individual items include some or all of the following:
- Lasting value of the content
- Appropriateness of treatment level
- Strength of present holdings in same or similar subject areas
- Demand, as determined by, e.g. circulation data and interlibrary loan requests for material on the same or similar subjects
- Cost effectiveness
- Suitability of format to content
- Authority of author
- Reputation of publisher
- Reviews in subject-specific and standard library reviewing sources
The general emphasis is to acquire and retain materials which are currently the most authoritative in their fields. The library recognizes the need for retrospective purchases, and systematically uses standard bibliographies and other evaluation tools to locate and fill gaps in the collection when warranted by curriculum changes and new program additions. However, in view of the difficulty and expense in obtaining out-of-print and reprinted material, it is most important to spend funds for valuable current publications of long-term worth, thus preventing a future need for retrospective buying.
Except for foreign language dictionaries, learning foreign languages materials, and a small number of foreign language newspapers, the library acquires primarily English language reference and research sources.
Pamphlets are acquired only if substantial enough to justify cataloging. No pamphlet/vertical file is maintained.
Selection of materials is the responsibility of the Library Liaisons in the Information and Education Services department and the Manager of aforementioned department. Faculty members are encouraged to make recommendations for library acquisitions from their professional literature as well as for materials supporting their courses and students' research needs. Students' requests for acquisition of materials are also welcomed, and are reviewed by the same standards as are requests from all other sources.
Note: Exceptions to the above statements will appear within individual subject area policy statements.
Cooperative Collection Development Agreements
No contractual cooperative collection development agreements have been made between RIT Library and any other library. However, RIT Libraries participate in ConnectNY which allows direct access to several other library collections (i.e. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Colgate University, St. Lawrence University, Siena College and Union College). Informal working relationships with other members of the Rochester Regional Library Council (RRLC) also exist for specific disciplines.
Where faculty and student research needs fall outside the primary undergraduate curriculum-based scope of the onsite collection, access to this information will be provided through traditional, as well as, commercial document delivery services.
RIT Libraries also participate in other local, regional and national cooperative efforts that allow us to optimize our buying power to procure large online databases.
Types of Materials
When there is an option of paper, hardcopy or electronic format, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of content, and cost differential. While all formats will be considered in the library's purchase and/or access decisions, increased emphasis will be on electronic format. When available and budgetary constraints allow, the electronic format will be the primary format purchased.
Textbooks are not normally purchased. The exceptions are those which have earned reputations as "classics" in their fields, or when a textbook is the best or only source of information on a particular topic. Duplicates are purchased only under unusual circumstances. Examples of exceptions include multiple copies purchased for “If All of RIT Read…” or the RIT Summer Reading Program. Pamphlets are acquired only if substantial enough to justify cataloging. No pamphlet/vertical file is maintained.
The serials collection supports the research needs of RIT undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Serials are issued in paper, microform and electronic format. While all formats will be considered in the library's purchase and/or access decisions, increased emphasis will be on electronic format. When available and budgetary constraints allow, the electronic format will be the primary format purchased.
General Selection Criteria
Serials will be selected and deselected based on how well they support the continuing information needs of the college community. Factors to be considered are:
- Support of academic programs
- Cost, including such data as rate of price increases and cost of storage
- Uniqueness of subject coverage
- Standing or reputation of the journal within the professional community
- Full-text availability through electronic means.
- Usage or projected usage
- Availability of indexing for the serial being considered
- Holdings at other institutions
- Availability through database aggregators
RIT Libraries has a long standing annual serials review process to determine which serial subscriptions should be added/cancelled. Through this process the most appropriate and cost-effective formats are determined.
- The intellectual content of the electronic resource, whether purchased or free, must meet curricular needs based on the judgment of the relevant subject bibliographer(s).
- Selection criteria need to be consistent with RIT Libraries plans for establishing an electronic information environment.
- Electronic resources considered for acquisition should fall within current collecting guidelines as described in the subject collection development policies and other appropriate guidelines.
- The electronic resource will provide sufficient added value over other formats.
- The search interface must be powerful, flexible, user-friendly, and well-indexed, with numerous points of access.
- Whenever possible, access to the electronic resource must meet these goals:
- Support remote users of library and information resources
- Deliver reliable remote access
- Be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Utilize a unified and intuitive interface
- The cost of the resource must be sustainable by the electronic resources budget or Subject Bibliographer’s monographic fund(s) for the foreseeable future.
- The technology and staff to deliver and support the resource is available at the RIT Libraries.
- RIT Libraries will participate in consortia purchases for desired materials when the agreement provides a significant price advantage over the cost as an individual institution.
- RIT Libraries will purchase available back files of an electronic resource if affordable and deemed necessary to the support curricular and/or research needs of the RIT community.
- The product should reflect the quality expected of similar materials in other formats.
- The product should be “user-friendly,” that is, provide ease of use and guidance for the user via appropriate menus, help screens, or tutorials.
- RIT Libraries will maintain the stability and consistency of electronic titles offered to the RIT community whenever possible.
RIT Libraries concentrates collecting electronic materials available in a Web based format. Other formats are considered on a limited case by case basis when the information is critical to our community and is not available in a Web based format.
- The resource employs (whenever possible) a user interface already familiar to the RIT community.
- Ideally the format provides a single-search access to the entire electronic resource.
- RIT Libraries will not support more than one version of an electronic resource (such as electronic and print) unless there are overriding and compelling reasons for maintaining multiple formats such as accreditation factors.
- When moving an electronic resource from one format to another, there must be compelling reasons to make the change; and the content of the new resource should be comparable or better than that of the existing format, unless others factors prevail.
Vendor and Licensing
- The license must be in accordance with the RIT Libraries established electronic resource licensing policy.
- The vendor should be stable and reliable, and offer technical support.
- A change of vendors will occur only when a new vendor can deliver a superior search interface, enable greater and more reliable remote access at a reasonable cost, or provide other key factors, such as archives.
Limited purchases of non-print materials (i.e. CDs for learning foreign languages, DVDs for leisure, image collections, etc) are evaluated on the same basis as monographs, with special emphasis on the suitability of the format to the content, and on the quality of the production. Non-print materials needed by faculty to use in the classroom are handled by RIT’s Educational Technology Center (ETC).
The collection development policy statement for each college concludes with a list of "Subject Divisions" for that discipline and the "support level" provided for each of these divisions. The support levels assigned to each subject division are based on national standards developed by the American Library Association and explained in detail below. In most cases, support levels for on-site collections do not exceed C-1, the "advanced study level." When the curriculum dictates, on-site collections are augmented to higher support levels through a combination of selective acquisition, interlibrary loan, and document delivery.
A. Comprehensive level: A collection in which a library endeavors, so far as is reasonably possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other forms) for a necessarily defined field. This level of collecting intensity is that which maintains a "special collection"; the aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness.
B. Research level: A collection which includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It also includes all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as an extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field.
C. Study level:
- Advanced study level: A collection which is adequate to support the course work of advanced undergraduate and master's degree programs, or sustained independent study; that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs both current and retrospective, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.
- Initial study level: A collection which is adequate to support undergraduate courses. It includes a judicious selection from currently published basic monographs (as are represented by Choice selections) supported by seminal retrospective monographs (as are represented by Resources for College Libraries); a broad selection of works of more important writers; a selection of the most significant works of secondary writers; a selection of the major review journals; and current editions of the most significant reference tools and bibliographies pertaining to the subject.
D. Basic level: A highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes major dictionaries and encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, important bibliographies, and a few major periodicals in the field.
Continuous maintenance of the collection is carried out based upon availability of more recent publications, out dated information, and shifting demands of the curriculum. In general, all materials regardless of format, in the collection should be reviewed minimally every three to five years to remove materials no longer relevant to the curriculum and older materials where sufficient coverage is provided by contemporary titles.
Every effort should be made to replace lost or heavily mutilated titles if they are judged to be of continuing relevance to the collection. When mutilation is confined to a few pages, replacement copies of these should be requested through the Information Delivery Service.
Gifts which duplicate existing holdings should be used to upgrade the condition of the collection by replacing worn circulating copies with sounder gift copies. See separate Gift Policy for further information.
The condition of all materials should be monitored to ensure those in need of repair and rebinding is attended to before they are irreparably damaged.
See also Section on Types of Materials.
See subject specific policy statements for exceptions to this policy statement and the subject divisions.
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