Refer to the guidelines below to recommend a purchase to enhance the library collections.

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  • Overview
    • Guidelines have been approved by the Faculty LITS Committee
    • Aligned with the strategic goals and priorities of Hamilton College and LITS
    • Diverse resources reflecting our curriculum and student body
    • To support teaching and learning at Hamilton
    • Variety of formats, including print and electronic
    • Access as well as ownership (e.g. ILL, pay-per-view)
  • Acquisitions
    • Through purchase, subscription, pay-per-view
    • Patron request and librarian recommendations
    • Limited acceptance of gifts
    • Physical and/or electronic, consideration given to appropriate functionality
  • Scope
    • Current materials emphasized
    • Variety of geographic regions
    • Primarily English and Western European languages materials; other languages selectively
  • Maximizing Access
    • Consortial agreements & collaborations
    • Digitization of materials unique to Hamilton (within copyright guidelines)
  • Reappraisal and Deselection
    • Collaboration between librarians and members of the faculty
    • To enhance the value, utility and relevance of the holdings - goal is “optimized collection”
    • May allow space for new and needed materials and/or activities
    • Many factors to be considered
  • Conclusion
    • These guidelines shape the work of collection managers, library subject specialists, and faculty selectors and are clearly aligned with the strategic goals and priorities of Hamilton College and LITS.

Collections Guidelines

The collections of the Hamilton College Libraries have been developed and maintained across two centuries to support teaching and learning at Hamilton. The Libraries continue to develop our collection of diverse resources reflecting our curriculum and student body. In addition, librarians also select items of local and global scholarly interest. Strategies to acquire and maintain these resources necessarily have evolved as well; we are continually adopting new acquisition models to provide the most economical access to needed research materials. The Hamilton Libraries collect, organize, preserve and provide access to materials in a variety of formats, including print and electronic.  

  • Acquisition process - The Libraries acquire material through purchase, subscription, or “just in time” models such as pay-per-view. Librarians use strategies that provide for the anticipated needs of patrons; faculty are encouraged to submit requests for new or previously published materials that will support curricular needs. The Library accepts gifts within the limitations of our collection guidelines and our space considerations. 
  • Formats – Hamilton College Libraries continue to make significant investments in formats that best support teaching and learning activities. 
    • Books/Monographs – Monographs are acquired in print or electronic formats. Dissertations and textbooks are collected only very selectively, when requested by faculty and reviewed by librarians.
    • Periodicals and Databases – We subscribe to journals, newspapers, databases and newsletters. Online-only subscriptions are preferred; print subscriptions are initiated or continued when an online edition is not available, not stable, or not adequate.
    • Audiovisual materials – DVDs are acquired very selectively, primarily in response to faculty demand. We subscribe to several streaming audio and video services, as well as image databases.
    • Microforms – Hamilton Libraries have extensive microform holdings supporting teaching and learning. However, due to the increasing conversion of microform collections to digital formats and the interlibrary loan availability of microform sets from the Center for Research Libraries, microform is now acquired on demand only.
    • The Libraries purchase perpetual access to databases/electronic resources when possible, but also purchase subscriptions of these products if necessary. In addition, the Libraries attempt to collect the underlying data of databases/electronic resources. As traditional material formats are supplemented or supplanted by new ones (e.g., cassette to CD to streaming), the Libraries replace the older format when appropriate, always preferring only one format, usually the latest, of any individual item.
    • In considering electronic versions of the above formats, we look for the following preferred functionalities for e-books that reflect our priorities:
      • Supporting the Needs of Research and Instruction - Licensing terms that do not limit fair use, consistency of content, persistent URLs, simultaneous access
      • Discovery & Positive User Experience – variety of access, IP authentication and/or EZproxy, ADA compliance, ability to print, copy, save, highlight, download chapters
      • Sustainable and Fair Business Models – perpetual access rights to purchased content, protection of patrons’ right to privacy, reasonable and flexible pricing models, minimal, or no, maintenance or access fees, accessible across a variety of platforms and devices, evolve with the emergence of new technologies. 
  • Scope
    • Current materials are emphasized, with out of print materials purchased to replace damaged or lost copies of significant works, in response to faculty or student requests, or to support research of primary sources. Time periods covered in the materials themselves range from prehistoric to contemporary. 
    • The library attempts to build collections covering a variety of geographic regions. No areas are excluded, although the greatest emphasis is placed on the regions that are most relevant to curricular needs.
    • English and Western European languages materials are collected extensively and other languages selectively.
    • We recognize that much of the collection has cross-disciplinary implications.
  • Maximizing Access
    • Academic libraries have limited resources to collect comprehensively in all subject areas and therefore supplement their collections through interlibrary borrowing and lending. Hamilton Libraries participate in several consortial arrangements with regard to resource sharing, print retention, and group purchasing. We seek collaborations with other libraries, publishers, commercial and open access enterprises, open source communities, and digital initiatives, in order to maximize access to resources.
    • Hamilton Special Collections are expanding and accelerating efforts to identify, digitize, describe, and make discoverable material unique to Hamilton; three collections of special emphasis are Beinecke Lesser Antilles, Ezra Pound and Communal Societies.
  • Reappraisal and Deselection– Deselection (also called deaccessioning or weeding) is a consultative and systematic endeavor between librarians and members of the faculty aimed at enhancing the value, utility and relevance of the holdings, and to allow space for new and needed materials and/or activities. This process should always begin with reappraisal of the collection or items in question; reappraisal does not always lead to deaccessioning. Factors to consider in the reappraisal and decision process include but are not limited to the following:
    • Relevance to the current teaching, learning, and research needs of Hamilton College
    • Appropriate accessibility by electronic means and/or resource sharing
    • Circulation / Usage data 
    • Length of time in our collection. (Books held less than five-ten years have not been in the collection long enough to determine usefulness.)
    • Possession of duplicate copies and earlier editions
    • Physical condition
    • Format (obsolete, inaccessible)
    • Librarian review
    • Special Collections & Archives review
    • Faculty review

These Collection Development Guidelines shape the work of collection managers, library subject specialists, and faculty selectors. Collection development priorities and operational approaches for specific disciplines vary as appropriate, but all collection development work is clearly aligned with the strategic goals and priorities of Hamilton College and LITS.



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Last updated: June 27, 2023


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