Rensselaer Libraries

Collection Development Strategies

The primary objectives of the Rensselaer Libraries collection development program are to identify, evaluate, create, and provide seamless access to the information resources that support the teaching, learning, and research activities of the Rensselaer community. Developing specific subject areas of the collection is the responsibility of the subject librarians in collaboration with the academic department library liaisons. This activity is guided by the descriptions of curriculum and research of the schools, departments, and centers contained in the current Rensselaer Catalog and the Rensselaer Plan.

The Libraries’ vision for collection development includes the following principles:

  • Maximize technology to enhance the access and use of collection resources.
  • Maintain an appropriate balance between undergraduate needs and the research needs of graduate students and faculty.
  • Provide access to collection resources regardless of the user’s physical location.
  • Provide a mix of publication formats appropriate to the needs of specific areas of research and teaching.
  • Develop access to resources of distinction in areas of current strength and future growth as indicated in the Institute’s strategic plan.
  • Maintain an appropriate balance for collection budget support among the Institute’s research and teaching areas in science and engineering, arts and humanities, and the social sciences.

To fulfill this vision, the Libraries will employ the following strategies:

  • Acquire and maintain resources in networked electronic format whenever possible and appropriate.
  • Acquire and maintain print resources when appropriate.
  • Acquire appropriate indexing and abstracting tools in electronic format to enable researchers to identify relevant publications.
  • Cancel print subscriptions when networked, electronic versions are available except in the following cases: the print subscription is required for online access; important graphic content is inferior or not available in the electronic version; electronic version is significantly less complete than the print version; the viability of the electronic source is problematic.
  • Monitor and keep to a minimum overlap among electronic subscriptions.
  • Provide subsidized document delivery of articles that are not owned or licensed by the Rensselaer Libraries.
  • Link indexing and abstract tools to full-text journals and other holdings of the Rensselaer Libraries, and where possible, to online document delivery services.
  • Continue to improve traditional interlibrary loan services.
  • Participate in consortial agreements to maximize purchasing power to reduce costs and improve terms of licenses.
  • Explore with the Institute faculty and administration alternative outlets, such as an institutional digital repository, for disseminating scholarly information to enhance access and maintain ownership of property rights.
  • Develop consortial relationships for the purpose of sharing resources and developing regional collection development strategies.
  • Continually evaluate subscriptions and holdings in light of use statistics and collection metrics.
  • Conduct and participate in user studies, evaluations, and surveys and to apply findings to collection development activities.
  • Reallocate collection development funds to areas identified in the Institute’s strategic plan.
  • Identify sources of electronic serial back files and archives and expand these resources as appropriate.
  • Evaluate and incorporate new technologies that improve access to research information.
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