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Library Collection Development Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy guides the University Library collection development activities to ensure the creation and maintenance of collections of scholarly information that aligns with the learning, teaching and research focus of the University.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(2) ) For the purposes of this Policy, definitions that apply can be found in the Policy DDS Glossary, in addition to the following:

  1. Authorised user: means those eligible for Library Membership as defined in the Library Collections Access Policy. 
  2. Electronic resource: means scholarly materials obtained and accessed in an online format. This excludes materials originally in print/hard copy scanned to PDF or other formats. The terms Electronic Version/Digital Version/Digital Resource/Online materials are synonymous with an electronic resource.
  3. Open Educational Resources (OER): means freely available educational material that the author has licensed, often under a Creative Commons licence, for others to re-use and adapt.
  4. Open access resource: means learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license permitting no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others.
  5. Licensed electronic materials: means scholarly materials where a licence fee is paid to an external vendor providing access by authorised users to these materials subject to the terms of a specific licence agreement.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement


(3) Library collections aim to be:

  1. Relevant. The Library acquires, preserves and provides access to diverse collections of scholarly information that align with the information needs of the University.
  2. Digital first. The Library recognises the multi-campus operating environment of the University as well as its strategic direction require electronic/digital formats to ensure the highest level of access to scholarly materials is maintained.
  3. Open. The Library supports the University's commitment to the use and development of Open Educational Resources and Open Access to Research.
  4. Culturally safe. The Library is mindful of Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) and restricted cultural materials in the context of its current collection and the acquisition of and access to new material.
  5. Sustainable. The Library is committed to providing access to information and integrating the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets across Library collection development and management.


(4) The acquisitions budget is determined as part of the approved expenditure for the Library from the University's annual allocation. The Library endeavours to ensure expenditure on collection-related matters is no less than 40% of the Library annual budget.

(5) The acquisitions budget is managed by the Information Resources team and decisions are subject to the Procurement Policy and audit requirements.

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

  1. Ongoing commitments and current subscriptions which are reviewed annually based on changing teaching and research needs, overall cost and cost per usage
  2. Support for teaching and the acquisition of textbooks and recommended readings for all subjects taught at the University
  3. Material which supports subject areas taught by the University and research outputs of the University.

Collection Maintenance

(7) Deselection of Library materials is essential to ensure an active and current collection. Library staff are responsible for conducting ongoing evaluation and maintaining the quality of the collection on the following basis:

  1. Superseded editions will be withdrawn unless they continue to provide valuable relevant information.
  2. Currency of information is extremely important especially in disciplines such as medicine, health sciences, technology, and business. Materials older than five years will be regularly deselected to eliminate outdated or inaccurate information.
  3. Material which has not been used for five years based on circulation statistics will be moved into off-site storage.
  4. Physical items which are replaced by electronic/digital formats will be removed from the collection
  5. A single 'last copy' of all titles will be 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.

Acquisition of Material

(8) Other than in exceptional circumstances, all materials will be purchased by Information Resources 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 Personal and Discretionary Expenditures Policy.

(9) A Digital First approach is adopted based on:

  1. the highest level of equitable access to support a multi-campus environment and hybrid learning, teaching and research.
  2. enabling  licensed materials in preference of multiple-user concurrent access and publisher platforms, where materials are provided without restriction.
  3. consideration being given to limited user options based on type of resource and cost.
  4.  not purchasing items available on platforms where access is licenced to individual users

(10) Print/Physical materials will be considered when library-licensed electronic/digital versions are not available.

(11) The purchase of multiple copies of material required for teaching/coursework will be based on the number of students enrolled in the relevant program and which campuses the program is being taught at.

(12) The Library will work with Schools with regards to materials required for teaching/coursework.

(13) Schools will be encouraged to progress the uptake of Open Educational Resource (OER) materials in support of enabling a modern curriculum.

(14) The Library will use patron-driven and evidence-based modes of collection development to ensure that material purchased are driven by need.

(15) The Library will consider all requests to include new items in the physical or digital collection. This includes books, professional publications, audiovisual materials, journal subscriptions and database access.

(16) Due to the substantial and ongoing cost of new journal and database subscriptions, requests for new journal subscriptions over $2000 AUD will be evaluated in consultation with the relevant School Librarian and School.

(17) Open access material will be added to the Library collection at the discretion of the Information Resources team and reviewed with the relevant School Librarian and School as required.

(18) Open access materials will be reviewed annually to ensure they are of a scholarly nature and aligned with the learning, teaching and research focus of the University.

(19) In accordance with the Personal and Discretionary Expenditures Policy, 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.

(20) In accordance with the Personal and Discretionary Expenditures Policy, all materials acquired utilising University funds remain the property of the University and must be returned to the Library when employment ceases.

Gifts and Donations

(21) The Library welcomes financial gifts, bequests and donations of appropriate material that enhance the quality of the collection.

(22) The Executive Director, Library Services will assess potential donations in line with the Donations and Fundraising Policy and will make the final decision whether the donation is appropriate for the Library's collection.

Theses and Research Material and Exam Papers

(23) Theses submitted for University Masters (Research) or higher will be made accessible through the Library.

(24) The Library only accepts a digital version of approved theses.

(25) The Library collects research outputs from University researchers and makes them available via the institutional repository in accordance to the Repository Guidelines.

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

Special Items and Collections

(27) The Library is responsible for the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection. The Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection (WPMC) was established to accommodate, preserve and facilitate access to public and personal records relevant to E. G. Whitlam’s vision, life and leadership. The development of the WPMC is guided by and complies with all of the principles and requirements of the 2000 agreement between Western Sydney University and the Hon. E.G. Whitlam, AC, QC and the Deed of Gift: Prime Ministerial Collection, 2003.

Legal Deposit Titles

(28) Under C2022-02 Deposit of New South Wales Government Publications: New South Wales Government agencies are required to deposit publications available in print only, with Western Sydney University to ensure that Government published information will remain available now and into the future to the people of New South Wales.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(29) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(30) Nil.