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Library Collection Development and Access Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University Library is the primary scholarly information services provider of the University. The Library provides and promotes access to information resources that support the learning, teaching and research endeavours of the University.

(2) Electronic / Digital format of material is the preferred method of providing access. This recognises the multi-campus operating environment of the University as well as its strategic direction. Electronic /digital formats ensure the highest level of access to scholarly materials is maintained both on and off campus.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(3) Nil.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(4) The Library aims to acquire, preserve and provide access to diverse collections of scholarly information, made available ubiquitously to students, researchers and academics both on and off-campus.

(5) This policy guides the Library's collection development activity to ensure the creation and maintenance of scholarly information supports the learning, teaching and research focus of the University.

Part A - Collection Principles

(6) Library collections are developed in line with the learning, teaching and research endeavours of the University.

Budget Allocation

(7) The acquisitions budget is determined as part of the approved expenditure for the Library from the University's annual allocation. Materials expenditure will be maintained at no less than 40% of the Library annual funding. The Associate Librarian, Resources and Digital Services, is responsible for the allocation of the budget for acquisitions.

(8) Expenditure is carefully monitored, with reports available on request for designated School/Research affiliated staff outlining the School/area expenditure and committals.

(9) In allocating the acquisitions budget, priority is given to:

  1. Ongoing commitments and current subscriptions.
  2. Support for teaching and the acquisition of textbooks and recommended readings for all units taught at the University.
  3. Material which supports subject areas taught by the University and research outputs of the University.

(10) No more than 60% of the Library acquisitions budget is allocated to ongoing commitments and subscriptions.

Access to Collections

(11) Where a title is available in an electronic/digital format, the Library will not guarantee access to a physical item.

(12) Access to the Library collections is available via the Library website.

(13) The Library provides off-campus access to the majority of its collection. Off-Campus access is limited to current students and staff of the University.

(14) A subset of the Library's Off-campus collection is made available to Alumni who have a current GradLife membership.

Reserve Collections

(15) High demand, high use items in direct support of the teaching and learning endeavours of the University will be placed in the Reserve section of the Library.

(16) Reserve materials are restricted to physical items and subject to the following:

  1. Where only parts of an item e.g. chapter, journal article are required to be placed in reserve, these will be made, subject to copyright, electronically via Readings and Resources lists uploaded to the University's learning management system. The physical item will be returned to the general collection.
  2. Where an item is required to be placed in reserve, an additional copy will be purchased for the general collection for the same Library.
  3. Where an item is required to be placed in reserve at more than one Library, additional copies will be purchased for each reserve section.

Part B - Acquisition of Material

(17) Other than in exceptional circumstances, all materials will be purchased by Information Resources and Digital Discovery and Services staff using the Library's preferred suppliers from whom substantial discounts have been negotiated. This includes items for the Library collection, working tools and materials in accordance with the Non-Library Book Purchase and New Journal Request processes.

(18) The Library will only purchase foreign language material on request if they are aligned to the teaching, learning and research endeavours of the University. The Manager, Information Resources or Manager, Digital Discovery and Services have authority to approve such purchases.

Electronic / Digital Resources

(19) The Library employs an electronic preferred methodology for collection development, where possible the Library will purchase electronic versions of items in preference to physical items.


(20) All requests for new journal subscriptions must be submitted to the Library for consideration and decision. Such requests will be submitted online and accompanied by supporting documentation underlying the rationale for its inclusion into the collection. Given the recurrent commitment required to provide access to e-journals, all requests will be reviewed by the Associate Librarian, Resources and Digital Services.

Open-Access Journals

(21) Open access material will be added to the Library collection at the discretion of Manager, Information Resources or Manager, Digital Discovery and Services. These materials will be reviewed to ensure they are of a scholarly nature and aligned with the teaching, learning and research endeavours of the University.


(22) Where licenses permit, e-books will be purchased in preference over print materials. This includes textbooks, program readings, research support, and other areas of the collection, e.g. curriculum collection.

(23) The Library licenses materials in preference of multiple-user concurrent access and publisher platforms where materials are provided without restriction.

Patron-Driven & Evidence Based Acquisition

(24) The Library will use patron-driven and evidence-based modes of collection development to ensure that material purchases are driven by client use. Access to materials is provided to the University community with purchases only made once titles record significant use.

Print/Physical Materials

(25) Print/physical material will be purchased when electronic / digital formats are not available or carry a licence, which precludes the Library.

(26) Chapters from print books can be scanned and placed in Readings & Resources lists, within the copyright allowance. Out of print, or non-commercially available books in Readings & Resources lists can also be scanned under advice from the University Copyright Officer.

(27) Textbook material and essential readings will be purchased using the ratio below. These materials will be housed in the Library where the subject is taught. Workbooks will not be purchased in print format, as they have been designed for individual use and not applicable to the Library.

Number of Students Number of Copies
1 - 30 2
31 - 60 4
61 - 100 6
101+ 8

(28) The Library will only keep current items of the following materials:

  1. Print journal titles which contain information which is not useful long-term, such as newsletters and trade magazines.
  2. Regularly updated editions of guidebooks, handbooks, almanacs and directories, etc.

(29) In order to maintain a steady state collection, physical items which are replaced by electronic / digital formats, will be removed from the collection.

Document Delivery

(30) The Library will provide a Document Delivery service to academic staff and postgraduate (research) students as per the document delivery guidelines. The Library will obtain monograph and journal article items from any holding Library in Australia and New Zealand prepared to supply the required material. In exceptional circumstances material will be requested from overseas libraries.

(31) Where recently published monograph material is requested, the Library will purchase the item for the Library collections with a preference for the electronic / digital format.

Non-Library Purchases

(32) All books and journals acquired utilising University funds, internal or external research funds, and/or donations are to be recorded in the Library system for tracking and audit purposes. Where an exception has been granted allowing items to be purchased with University corporate credit cards, full details of each item is to be provided to the Library upon receipt for recording purposes. Purchase and procedures are located on the Library website.

Expensive Works

(33) Where the cost for purchase of requested items exceeds AUD 2000, the request will be returned to the relevant Library signatory for provision of supporting documentation upon which the Associate Librarian, Resources and Digital Services will base purchasing decisions.

(34) Where Library staff initiate a request to purchase an expensive item, supporting documentation will be endorsed by the Manager, Information Resources and forwarded to the Associate Librarian, Resources and Digital Services for approval.


(35) The Library does not normally accept donations. In exceptional cases, where donations are considered, the potential donor will need to sign the Waiver Form permitting the Library to retain or dispose of the material as is appropriate.

Legal Deposit Titles

(36) Legal Deposit items which are available in electronic / digital format will not be added to the collection in a physical format.

Theses and Research Material

(37) Theses submitted for University Masters (Research) or higher will be made accessible by the Library. The appropriate access form must be completed by the author - the preferred format for deposit of approved theses is via PDF file. All qualifying theses which have the appropriate signed documentation will be digitised and made available to the local, national and international research community via the National Library.

(38) The Library collects research outputs from University researchers. Materials should be self-submitted via ResearchDirect and adhere to the Repository Guidelines.

University Exam Papers

(39) Where schools agree to make past examination papers available for student access, the Library will make digital copies available via the Library website.

Part C - Collection Maintenance

(40) The Library aims to maintain a steady state collection. Deselection of Library materials is essential to ensure an active and scholarly useful collection. Deselection provides quality control for the collection by the elimination of outdated, inaccurate, and worn-out materials. Library staff are responsible for conducting ongoing evaluation and maintaining the quality of the collection.

(41) As an overall principle, the Library will retain a single 'last copy' of all titles held for a minimum of 10 years. Where the Library has the only holding of the item in Australia, the item will be retained indefinitely.

(42) Superseded editions will be withdrawn unless they continue to provide valuable relevant information.

(43) Currency of information is extremely important in some fields such as health sciences, technology, and business. Materials older than five years will be regularly deselected to eliminate outdated or inaccurate information.

(44) Material which has not been used for five years, based on circulation statistics, will be moved into off-site storage.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(45) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(46) Nil.