Rutgers University Libraries Collection Development Policy

Rutgers University Libraries primary collection development goal is to make available to all Rutgers students, faculty, and staff wherever they are located, in an equitable, convenient and cost-effective fashion, the digital, print and other scholarly resources that they need. The level of collecting needs to be commensurate with university aspirations to be one of the most distinguished public universities in the American Association of Universities. The Libraries will also provide access to in-depth research collections in areas of special interest to the university. The Libraries will make these collections accessible to the residents of New Jersey and to scholars throughout the world as far as is allowed by law.

Our vision for collection development on behalf of the university includes the following:

  • Take full advantage of technology to facilitate the acquisition and use of collections resources.
  • Base our decisions on User needs as identified through such measures as liaison ties with faculty, staff and students in all subject areas, Patron Driven Acquisitions and surveys of our user population.
  • Maintain an appropriate balance between needs of undergraduates and the research & teaching needs of graduate students and faculty.
  • Maintain appropriate balance for collection budget support among the broad subject areas: arts and humanities; social sciences; biomedical sciences and health professions; science and technology based on the programs and activities of the university.
  • Maintain an appropriate mix of formats of publication as is relevant to each field of study
  • Develop collections of distinction in areas of current strength and future growth as indicated in the university strategic plan.
  • Develop collections that reflect the perspectives of an increasingly diverse world, and further the multiculturalism that makes Rutgers and the State of New Jersey global leaders.

In order to fulfill this vision, the Libraries will employ the following strategies:

Acquisition and Licensing of Resources:

  • Acquire and maintain resources in networked digital format wherever possible and appropriate.
  • Acquire, house and preserve print resources as appropriate.
  • Refine subscription lists of core journals based on impact data and Rutgers specific usage data.
  • Cancel print subscription(s) when reliable networked, digital versions are available at Rutgers except when: the print subscription is required for online access; important graphic content is inferior in digital form or it is not available in the digital version; the digital version is significantly less complete than the printed one; or the viability of the digital source is questionable.
  • Monitor and keep to a minimum overlap among electronic resources.
  • Acquire appropriate Media resources, including acquisition of licenses to stream for classroom use as needed.
  • Continue participating in consortial agreements to maximize purchasing power, contain costs and improve the terms of licenses.

Digitization and Services:

  • Acquire appropriate indexing and abstracting tools in electronic format to identify relevant publications.
  • Link indexing and abstract tools to full-text journals and other holdings of RU Libraries and, where possible, to online document delivery services.
  • Provide subsidized document delivery of articles that are not owned or licensed by RU Libraries.
  • Continue improving interlibrary borrowing.
  • Work with the teaching faculty and administration to provide alternative outlets such as Open Access publication for disseminating scholarly information, enhance access to information and recapture the ownership of content from commercial publishers. Participate in national and international efforts in this regard.
  • Make use of RUcore, our institutional repository, to preserve and disseminate Rutgers scholarly resources, including faculty publications and research data.
  • Digitize our unique resources in Special Collections / University Archives, the Institute of Jazz Studies, and other Libraries collections to make them available to university, state, national and international users.
  • Pursue digital preservation of brittle, damaged or physically endangered resources, emphasizing those resources unique to Rutgers.
  • Preserve the born digital publications of the university.
  • Provide digital resources within the framework of state, national and international laws and regulations.
  • Ensure that selectors add resources in the appropriate formats reflecting the great diversity of populations and viewpoints of our user community.

The balance among these strategies - digital, print, media, and document delivery - depends on faculty and staff expertise, funding, law, technology and the needs of the academic users served.

The Rutgers University Libraries acquire materials in all formats for a variety of reasons. These include curriculum support, especially acquisition of “core” materials on subjects studied at the university, support of research by faculty and students, and materials representing major trends in scholarship. The Libraries seek collection continuity, maintaining strong existing collections, and they fulfill agreements with other academic libraries to take responsibility for collecting on particular subject areas. In addition, the Libraries represent a wide variety of cultures and viewpoints, including publications about controversial topics by partisans of differing opinions. This diversity of coverage is essential to the mission of an academic library in a rapidly changing world.  The Libraries acknowledge that some titles in our collections may not be compatible with the values of all the university community, but free expression is part of the ethos of academic libraries. Representative examples of titles representing the viewpoints of these patrons are welcomed by the Libraries as gifts, and others may be purchased by the librarians.

Comments or concerns about items in the collections may be submitted in writing to:

  • Camden: Director, Paul Robeson Library
  • New Brunswick/Newark Health Sciences Libraries: Director, Health Sciences Libraries
  • New Brunswick/Piscataway: Associate University Librarian for Collection Development and Management
  • Newark: Director, John Cotton Dana Library

The Libraries will acknowledge in writing all concerns, offer the opportunity for discussion, and undertake a review of all such concerns. No changes will be made to the collections during the review. At the conclusion of the review, a written response will be sent. An appeal of the outcome may be made to the Associate University Librarian for Planning and Organizational Research.


Approved by Cabinet: August 26, 2014