Collection Development Statement
Newspaper Acquisitions

  1. Purposes of the Newspaper Acquisitions Policy.

    1. To provide a framework for the development of the Rutgers University Libraries newspaper collections.
    2. To establish guidelines for individual newspaper selection/de-selection decisions.

  2. General Policy.

    A very selective collection of foreign, United States, and local United States newspapers is maintained by the Rutgers University Libraries for supporting Rutgers University's teaching and research programs. Most newspaper holdings are located at the Alexander Library, which is the research library for the humanities and the social sciences at Rutgers. Other newspaper holdings within the Rutgers University Libraries are restricted to newspapers that directly support the missions of individual units.

  3. Definition.

    A newspaper is defined as "A publication issued at stated and frequent intervals, usually daily, weekly, or semi-weekly, which reports events and discusses topics of current interest." (ALA Glossary). Newspapers are usually printed on non-durable newsprint.

    This policy refers to general newspapers, although certain very well-known specialized publications in newspaper format, such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, are covered by this statement. Most publications on newsprint of a specialist nature, such as The Scientist, are considered serials and are excluded from this policy.

  4. Scope.

    1. Language:

      While there are no automatic exclusions, newspapers at Rutgers are overwhelmingly in English, except for a limited number of titles acquired primarily for advanced language/literature, history, and social science courses. Foreign language newspapers acquired by Rutgers are normally in languages taught at the University and also those of ethnic communities in New Jersey.

    2. Geographical Areas:
      1. Campus. Each of the six major units, except the Library of Science and Medicine, is responsible for holding at least current files of the campus newspaper of most interest to its users. In some cases, longer runs, including microfilm, are retained at appropriate libraries, but the University Archives is the collection of record for all campus newspapers. Back files of selected titles through 1987 at the University Archives are on microfilm.
      2. New Jersey. Master negatives of all New Jersey titles are stored at the New Jersey State Records Center. Special Collections acquires all available New Jersey titles published before 1866 on microfilm. These are available in the microforms department of the Alexander Library.

        Special Collections also acquires, selectively, New Jerseytitlespublishedafter 1866 on microfilm based on geographical and topical (political, social, ethnic, and other) coverage. These titles are available in the microforms department of the Alexander Library.

        Special Collections acquire New Jersey titles regardless of publication date if the title and/or issue(s) are unique (and unlikely to be acquired at another cooperating repository) for the purpose of adding to the bibliographic record and eventual filming.

        In addition, each major unit, except the Library of Science and Medicine, subscribes to the local newspaper(s) from its area; these are generally held for short periods, six months or a year.
      3. United States.

        The Rutgers University Libraries acquires a number of newspapers of high interest which are deemed essential to support a wide range of scholarship. It attempts to have representation from various geographic regions of the country and to acquire those newspapers with a national reputation. It does not generally attempt to duplicate titles within a region.

        Special Collections acquire all available United States newspaper titles published before 1821 on microfilm. These titles are available in the microforms department of the Alexander Library.
      4. Foreign.

        Foreign titles will be acquired very selectively.
        1. The Rutgers University Libraries will give priority to those areas in which programs of research and instruction are offered, collecting newspapers which provide national and international perspectives.
        2. The Rutgers University Libraries will also acquire titles from major areas of the world to support current awareness needs of University students and faculty.
        3. Newspapers which reflect the viewpoint of particular religious, political, ethnic, or other special groups will be acquired only when the paper is of value for research.

          When choosing a current title from a foreign country, consideration will be given either to newspapers held or obtained in microfilm by the Center for Research Libraries or to newspaper already being filmed on a continuing basis by other sources.

          Only under unusual circumstances will the Rutgers University Libraries acquire more than one newspaper from a single foreign country. For a small number of foreign newspapers, the Rutgers University Libraries maintains a microfilm backfile.

  5. Selection.

    All requests for newspaper purchases will be examined by the appropriate selectors and unit directors. Their recommendations will be reviewed and approved, denied, or held for later action by the Associate University Librarian for Collection Development and Management with the advice of the Standing Advisory Committee on Collection Development and Management. If a number of requests need to be reviewed, a temporary sub-committee may be formed. This procedure applies to newspapers, especially those of a general character with an annual cost of $300.00 or more, including microfilm or other files. Back files at all cost levels should be reviewed.

  6. Newspapers on Microfilm.

    The decision to acquire a general newspaper on microfilm represents a major continuing obligation. Duplicate microfilm newspaper files can be justified only if there is a constant need to access a particular title at the unit library wishing to hold a duplicate back file.

    Priority should be given to building a research collection at the designated research locations through the acquisitions of microfilm files. It makes no sense to spend heavily on subscriptions to current newspapers that are soon discarded without making an investment in permanent microfilm files.

    In times of financial difficulty permanent microfilm copies should be preferred to current, disposable newspapers.

    Section IV. B. 2. above discusses the acquisition of New Jersey newspapers on microfilm.

    Non-New Jersey newspapers are purchased on microfilm on a very selective basis. Criteria for purchase of a microfilm subscription include:
    1. The historical importance of the newspaper.
    2. The need for the newspaper in support of research and instruction at Rutgers University.
    3. Cost of the subscription.
    4. The availability of newspaper indexes for the particular title.
    5. The availability of the microfilm edition at other libraries, including the Center for Research Libraries.
    Back runs of newspapers will be acquired only on microfilm. Priority for the purchase of retrospective runs of newspapers will be given to filling gaps in newspaper titles held on microfilm.

    The Rutgers University Libraries will retain a microfilm backfile of a title held by the Center for Research Libraries when the demands of teaching or research make it imperative to have a newspaper of record from a particular political, geographic, or linguistic area locally available.

    If Microfilm is not available for a title for which research interest is anticipated, that title will be filmed as funds permit and the paper copies discarded when the film arrives.

  7. Gift Subscriptions.

    Gift Subscriptions to newspapers will be accepted based on the criteria noted above for regular subscriptions. The Rutgers University Libraries will be under no obligation to retain such newspapers beyond normal time limits or to subscribe to a title when the gift subscription has expired.

  8. Other Resources.

    The Rutgers University Libraries have access to a variety of newspapers through online and CD-ROM sources, including Newsbank and Dialog files. In some instances, coverage of newspapers is partial; in other cases, it includes full texts. VU/TEXT is in available in all libraries through dial-up access.

    Important collections of newspapers are located in this area. Special note is taken of the strength of newspaper holdings at the New York Public Library.

    The Center for Research Libraries in Chicago subscribes to a limited number of current United States newspapers and has an extensive collection of current and retrospective foreign newspapers. Rutgers University is affiliated with CRL and, therefore, its resources are readily available to the Rutgers community.

  9. Future Growth.

    The newspaper collection should expand in areas directly supportive of the University's teaching and research programs. More specifically, growth may be anticipated in United States newspapers, current and retrospective, and in newspapers to support a variety of language and area studies programs.

    In terms of United States newspapers, additional titles need to be acquired in both paper and microfilm. Moreover, a number of gaps in existing holdings need to be filled. Finally, indexes need to be acquired for as many present and future titles held as possible.

    The foreign newspaper collection, in terms of geographic representation, is sparse at best. Only five of the Western European countries: Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and Great Britain are represented and back runs are only available for Great Britain and France. The Soviet Union is represented by two newspapers, only one of which is maintained with back runs. There are no other Eastern European newspapers in the collections. Latin America is represented by only two newspapers, and these have no back runs. There are only three newspapers for the entire Eastern world, other than those in the East Asian Library.

    It is clear that selectors from the social sciences, history, andliterature, at least, should come together and expand the foreign newspaper collection. Back holdings for the newspapers currently received should also be considered for purchase.

    Of high priority is the inclusion of papers from Brazil, a Caribbean newspaper, and one from French-speaking Canada. The possibility of adding newspapers from Scandinavia, the Low Countries, and additional English-speaking European should be discussed.

    Asian recommendations should include a newspaper from Hong Kong and one from Singapore. There are no newspapers from Australia and other Oceanic countries. The African collection must also be expanded. A high priority might be a selection from South Africa.

  10. Policy and Subscriptions Review.

    The policy and newspaper collection-building are subject to change. Therefore, every two years both the policy and the list of current newspaper subscriptions will be reviewed by the Associate University Librarian for Collection Development and Management and the Standing Advisory Committee on Collection Development and Management.

    Continuing efforts to measure newspaper use will be made at each major library unit, in order to generate concrete data which will contribute to the making of appropriate changes in the policy and the pattern of newspaper subscriptions.

January 1992 Appendices to the Newspaper Acquisitions Policy

  1. "Report on the Status of U. S. Newspapers Holdings at the Rutgers Universities Libraries and Recommendations," prepared by Dr. Stanley Nash. "Foreign Newspapers" at Rutgers, prepared by Dr. Joseph Consoli.


November 25, 1991

Report on the Status of U. S. Newspapers Holdings at the Rutgers Universities Libraries and Recommendations.

Dr. Stanley Nash, Humanities Resource Librarian for North American and British History.

This brief report is based on a survey of the current newspaper subscriptions and holdings of RUL, as well as six years of experience assisting patrons with reference and research questions.

Overall, the newspapers we do subscribe to are good choices; however, several significant papers are not collected. There are three glaring omissions. The Detroit Free Press and the St. Louis Post Dispatch head the list. These are old established papers which offer quality coverage of events and opinions in America's heartland. The Free Press is number 9 in circulation in the U.S.and the Dispatch is in the top 25. Also important is the San Francisco Chronicle, which ranks 10th in circulation. Other papers which have large circulations and represent regional points of view from various areas not now fully covered in our newspaper collection are the Denver Post, the Kansas City Star, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. We should also be getting USA Today. This paper is second only to the Wall Street Journal in circulation, having more subscribers than both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Its coverage of the nation at large makes it important as being the only "popular" ongoing major national newspaper in this country. With the addition of these newspapers, the ones mentioned below, and perhaps a few other big city editions, I believe our current subscriptions would be of a sufficient quality to meet the demands of our patrons in the social sciences.

In terms of New Jersey current subscriptions, the only major gap is the lack of the Asbury Park Press. The Record (Hackensack), the Star Ledger, and the Press are the only New Jersey newspapers among the top 75 in circulation in the U.S.A. Since we subscribe to the first two, I believe it would be logical to get the third as well, given our status as the center of New Jersey Research.

Another major gap exists in terms of black newspapers. With the recent cancellation of the Chicago Defender (Kilmer) and the Afro American (Camden),we presently do not subscribe to many newspapers covered by the Black Newspapers Index (which patrons are commonly referred to when researching recent events concerning Afro-Americans). We should strongly consider subscriptions to several of these.

More of a problem than any of the above items is the problem facing historians and students of history who are seeking newspaper information dating from the twentieth century. The following newspaper subscriptions and corresponding Rutgers holdings are illustrative of this problem: San Fransisco Chronicle (l855-1948), Atlantic Constitution (1868-1900, 1982+), Chicago Tribune (1849-1929), Asbury Park Press (1857-1967), and the Philadelphia Inquirer (1861-1950, 1982+). I strongly recommend we work towards filling in the gaps in these holdings, which already constitute a strength in our collections. It has proven very frustrating for historians of the twentieth century to discover that our newspaper holdings so often stop short of the period they were studying.

Finally, for any newspapers purchased, every effort should be made to obtain indexes for the same.


Foreign Newspapers submitted to Newspaper Subcommittee by Dr. J. P. Consoli

Holdings: Europe
Corriere della Sera1 year       
Tuttolibri (La Stampa)5 months       
Italian Tribune News   

Die Zeit (New York)1 year       
Frankfurte Allgemeine 1 year       
The German Tribune1 month   

Humanite1 year       
Le Monde1960+   

El Pais1 year   

Soviet Union              
Izvestia1 year       
Sovietskaya Kultura1 year   

Times (London) 1785+

Latin America and the Middle East

La Nacion1 year   

El Excelsior1 year   

Jerusal Post1 year       
Maariv4 weeks   

Baghdad Observer?   

Standard 1 year

The Eastern World

Asian Wall Street Journal1979+   

The Times of India1 year   

The Japan Times3 months 

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