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Policies and guidelines

Manchester Metropolitan University Library's Collections Policy

This policy determines the type and extent of stock-based collections held or subscribed to by the Library. Stock includes :

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Magazines
  • Subscriptions to electronic books ,journals and referencing documents
  • DVDs, videos, etc

Library staff work with Academic staff who are subject experts to select appropriate resources to support student learning and research.

Manchester Metropolitan University Library Services: Collections Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose of Policy

The purpose of this policy is to outline the philosophy and broad principles which enable Library Services to provide access to high quality collections in support of learning, teaching and research. It includes guidance on
 Selection and acquisition of material
 Management of and access to collections
 Withdrawal of materials/information resources

1.2 Scope

This policy applies to all staff, researchers and students

1.3 Roles & Responsibilities

The Library’s Management Team is responsible for implementation of this policy.

2. Overall Principles

2.1 Intellectual Freedom

In accordance with the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals' Statement on Intellectual Freedom, Access to information and Censorship the Library supports the reader's right to choose.
Intellectual freedom is an essential value in the life and work of any university. Accordingly, the Library purchases materials that represent a wide variety of viewpoints as long as they support current learning, teaching and research in the University.
The Library supports inclusivity and does not censor materials on the basis of the author or subject's race, gender, sexuality, creed, nationality, religion, political party, social affiliations, beliefs or opinions. The inclusion in our collections of works that some groups might find offensive does not constitute endorsement or promotion of the works in question. The Library does not add or withdraw, at the request of any individual or group, material that has been excluded or chosen on the basis of the policies and principles outlined in this document.

2.2 Supporting Learning, Teaching and Research

The Library’s collections aim to support current learning and teaching needs. In terms of information requirements, research is supported through a combination of our collections and a fully subsidised inter-library loan/document delivery service. The Library is particularly strong
in the field of art & design where its collection is deemed to be of national significance.

2.3 Open and Closed Collections

It is Library policy to make as much of our physical collections available on open shelves as possible so that staff and students can browse and retrieve items for themselves. However, some of our collections are housed in Reserve Stock which is a secure area of the Library. All items kept in Reserve Stock are listed in the library catalogue and are retrieved by library staff on request.
Most of the items held in Reserve Stock are for reference use only within the Library.

2.3.1 Criteria for Holding Material in Reserve Stock

Monographs and Journals Relevant to Current Teaching and Research in Art, Design and Humanities
 Primary and research material of ongoing value to researchers
 Secondary material which compliments and supports material held in Special Collections
 Material in a fragile state of repair, for which replacements are not easily obtained, and for which suitable binding would be prohibitively expensive
 Valuable material vulnerable to theft or vandalism
 Journals which cannot be physically stored on the open shelves, e.g. oversize, stored in boxes
Dissertations and Theses
 Undergraduate dissertations of local interest
 Higher degree theses which have not yet been digitised

3. Formats/Types of Material

The Library aims to make material available in relevant ‘formats’. The chief formats supported are as follows:

3.1 Print and E-books

Format choice depends on availability, cost/value for money, licence terms, accessibility issues, anticipated demand, importance of illustrations, etc. However, it is Library Services’ policy to provide essential reading electronically wherever possible. In relation to e-books, preference is to purchase individual titles, but collections may be considered where appropriate.

3.2 Print and E-journals

Policy is to purchase electronic in preference to print, but where appropriate, decisions will also take into account the factors above. There is a user-preference for electronic over print in most subject areas because of the ease of searching and linking to full-text. In relation to e-journals, both individual titles and collections are purchased.
Limited library funding means that purchase of electronic backfiles is likely to be limited. However, where there is heavy use of a title, no existing archival electronic access, and significant space might be saved by discard, then backfile purchase will be given serious consideration.

3.3 Print and E-newspapers

Policy is to purchase electronic in preference to print. The Library provides access to a comprehensive collection of current and historical newspapers online, although this includes many overseas publications, the vast majority of these are in the English language.

3.4 Other Electronic Databases

Both bibliographic and full-text databases are purchased. Services such as Library Search as well as search facilities embedded in full text databases are starting to reduce dependence on abstracting and indexing services.

3.5 Other formats

The Library collects materials in other formats including, but not limited to,
DVD, CD, streaming media, audio collections, images, learning resources and other digital objects where they are relevant to current learning, teaching and research. Some material is also in video and microform. However, in many cases these are gradually being phased out, either because the format is becoming obsolete, because of space/access issues, or because provision is no longer seen as a core library function.

3.6 Chapters and Articles

Digitised copies can be made under the CLA licence from material already in stock or from copyright cleared copies, with links from TalisAspire or from the relevant unit area in the VLE.

3.7 Theses

All theses submitted for MMU higher degrees are deposited electronically into e-Space, the Library’s e-repository. Hard copy theses already deposited will be retained by the Library until they have been digitised and added to e-Space. Undergraduate and taught postgraduate dissertations may sometimes be deposited in the Library
by negotiation between departments and the relevant Library Services Manager, but are subject to a stringent discard policy.

4. Selection

4.1 Reading Lists

Reading lists are now available via the student portal with direct links to the Library catalogue, and it is essential that they are accurate, specific, up-to-date and include material which is available via the Library. The Library’s top priority is to ensure good access to material specified as essential on reading lists, providing this digitally wherever possible, and allowing purchase of a wider range of background reading. The expectation in relation to any item specified as essential on a list is that, provided it is available electronically, it will be purchased in electronic format with multiple accesses.
Because of pressure on the budget, teaching staff should consult their subject librarians about the content of lists, to ensure that best use is made of existing material (print or electronic) and that requests for new material are affordable. As well as essential reading, lists may include further reading and recommendations for students to purchase items. See the Resource List Policy for further information.

4.2 Non Reading List Items

Suggestions for non-reading list items to be added to stock are also welcome from academic staff, it is ultimately the Library’s decision, based on information provided by academics, usage of existing stock, experience and funds available, whether books are purchased, and if so whether in printed or electronic format. Subject librarians will decide how many copies of print items should be purchased and whether they will be made available for two week loan or reference. For items in electronic format they will also decide whether to order single or multiple accesses.
To support taught courses and to ensure a balanced collection Subject Librarians will also purchase materials which are not on reading lists:
 to encourage use of a wider range of materials;
 to support cross-disciplinary modules;
 to provide general materials e.g. reference works;
 to support academic literacy including English language;
 to develop subject collections and fill gaps in coverage;
 to assist staff in keeping pace with developments in the subjects they teach.

4.3 Journal and e-resources

Requests for new journals titles and e-resources are considered annually, usually in the spring term, alongside potential cancellations.
New subscriptions typically commence from the following January. Trials of potential new e-resources are established in advance, because of the considerable cost. Where there is a choice of interface/data provider, the decision on how to provide access will rest with Library Services.

4.4 Free Web Resources

Free web resources are added to the Library catalogue and Library Search at the request of a subject librarian who has judged these to be useful. The Library does not attempt to give a comprehensive overview of open access materials in any subject area.

5. Donations

The Library is happy to accept donations of material, provided it supports the University’s teaching and research. Items may be added to stock using the following assessment criteria: relevance to the current collections, existing stock availability, physical condition of the item/s. Once added to stock, the item/s become part of the Library’s collections, and cannot be returned to the donor. The Library reserves the right to dispose of material appropriately if it is not considered suitable for addition to stock.

6. Access for disabled users

Users with a disability might seek information in different ways and it is our policy to provide resources in alternative methods and formats. For example, coloured overlays are available to assist dyslexic students and text may be scanned for further manipulation or access through a speech synthesizer; Library Services endeavours to check in advance of subscription/purchase how accessible e-resources are and to ensure that suppliers are aware of the needs of disabled users. Relevant services are outlined in the Disabled users’ guide. Library staff are happy to work with lecturers and the Disability Service to try to assist students with specific needs in the way which best helps them. In relation to Equalities Impact Assessment, no other groups are affected by this policy.

7. Withdrawing Out-Dated or Unused Material

Withdrawing out-dated or unused material is an essential aspect of maintaining a lively and relevant collection for our academic staff and students and to make the most effective use of library space by ensuring an appropriate balance between library materials and study spaces.

7.1 Criteria for retention/withdrawal of printed books

Decisions are made principally on usage of material, with items normally being withdrawn if not borrowed in the last 5 years. Exceptions will be as follows:
 By its nature, art & design stock does not date and retains its historic relevance. Furthermore, loan statistics are not always a reliable indicator of use as art & design books are often used within the Library only. Stock withdrawal in this subject is therefore done by subject librarians, on a book-by-book basis, along with a knowledge of the rest of the collection and what is currently being taught and researched (Appendix 1).
 A small number of fast moving and mainly textbook based subjects have shorter usage cut-off dates, e.g. for business, law and computing, the cut-off date is 3 years for most items; for engineering material it is 4 years.
 A small number of subjects, principally English and foreign literature and history have longer cut-off dates and are selected for withdrawal if not borrowed within 10 years.
 Where a later edition supersedes an earlier one, we retain as a maximum only the current and pre-current edition. Earlier editions are given a sticker saying ‘More recent edition available'. In each case all editions of the same work have the same classmark.

7.2 Withdrawal of outdated or unused E-Books

 Where a later edition supersedes an earlier one, we retain as a maximum only the current and pre-current edition.
 Subject librarians are responsible for the stock editing of e-books. Approaches will vary depending on the subject areas but a similar approach is taken as to current practices with print books.

7.3 Consultation/liaison in relation to withdrawal of books

Library staff consult academic staff in humanities and art and design subject areas but do not normally consult in areas which are largely textbook based. Justification will be requested from academic staff in respect of requests for retaining material, to ensure there is sufficient space for acquiring new titles and to maintain the right balance between study spaces and library materials.
In addition, older or out-dated stock that has been borrowed more recently is reviewed in consultation with academic staff, with the aim of replacing older material with newer, more relevant books where possible.

7.4 Criteria for retention/withdrawal of print journals

In all areas except art and design (where illustration/colour is important and the electronic equivalents lack the same quality), back runs of journals are normally withdrawn where electronic archival access is guaranteed.
Journals that have ceased publication or are no longer taken by the library ('dead runs') and have minimal usage are not retained, on the basis that inter library loans provide a fast and inexpensive source to fulfil occasional need.
Print holdings of trade journals will not normally be maintained where there is an electronic version via any of the service providers.
Except in Art and Design and some areas within Humanities, Languages and Social Science, holdings of printed journal back runs are not normally maintained for more than 15 years. General recommendations for periods longer or shorter than the 15 year norm are listed in the table below. However, relevant Library Service Managers make proposals for withdrawal of print holdings on a title by title basis, and therefore for retention of longer or shorter runs based on usage.
Subject Holdings Art & Design No discard of back runs Business & Management trade journals 5 years Computing 5 years Consumer Protection/Consumer Law/Trading Standards 10 years Engineering 10 years Education 25 years Event management 2 years Fashion/clothing business 10 years Humanities 25 years Information & Communications 10 years Psychology 25 years Science 10 years Social Sciences & Social Care 25 years

7.5 Consultation/liaison in relation to retention/withdrawal of print journals

There is normally no consultation where electronic access is the norm and electronic archival access is guaranteed. Where appropriate, however, consultation over dead runs will be initiated.

7.6 Physical disposal of withdrawn items

The Library undertakes to dispose of material in the most appropriate way:
 Material of potential use elsewhere is offered to other libraries, including within NoWAL (North West Academic Libraries), the NHS and the British Library.
 Other material is collected by a company who sells them on behalf of the library. A proportion of the income from the sales comes back to the library and some goes to an educational charity.
 Any valuable material may be offered for sale (but note that we are likely to have very little of this type of material for disposal, and that the income from such a source is unlikely to warrant staff time)
 Material which cannot be sold or gifted in any of the above ways is disposed of via the university’s waste management contractor.

8. Funding

The Library receives an annual budget from the University to pay for materials to support learning, teaching and research. A proportion of these funds are required for recurrent expenditure (journal subscriptions, standing orders and subscriptions to electronic databases/resources). The remainder of the budget forms the book fund and is used to purchase items on reading lists and other material recommended by subject librarians, academic staff, researchers and students. It is the Library’s policy to maintain a balance of spending between recurrent and non-recurrent expenditure. Any requests for new subscriptions are managed carefully and they are normally funded by cancelling lesser used resources so as to protect the amount available to purchase books and other non-subscription resources.
The Library regularly acquires e-books using models where large numbers of titles are provided by a supplier for a short agreed period, and then purchase is triggered by use (Patron-Driven Acquisition/PDA).
The acquisition models of PDA and some e-book packages which regularly change content, mean that some e-books may be withdrawn from the collection at short notice by the Library’s suppliers.
The Library will use those models which provide the maximum amount of content relevant to teaching and research in the most cost-effective way.

Appendix 1: Stock Editing Policy - Art & Design

The Manchester School of Art has a distinctive 160-year history and is one of the oldest and largest providers of art and design courses in the UK. MMU is one of the top universities for research in art & design and in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, MIRIAD was judged to be the highest rated research centre for art and design in the North West. Within this context, MMU Library is one of the largest university art libraries in the country and the Art Library must ensure that it retains excellent current and historic collections in order to support the needs of both the undergraduate students and as a centre for research.
The Nature of the subject
“…art books have particular characteristics which make special consideration of their retention of the greatest importance. They do not, on the whole, go out of date, in the way that medical or legal textbooks do; opinions, attributions and fashions may change, but the information found in art books seldom becomes dangerously misleading. These changes are themselves of interest and need to be documented: a scholarly approach to the subject requires access to material which reflects taste and opinion at a particular period. Art books are also more likely than many to have intrinsic value as designed objects in their own right. They reflect not just what was being published, but how.”1
Stock editing
Loan history is not always a reliable indicator of value since books may have been consulted in the library without having been borrowed. Art & Design students and researchers are often ‘grazers’ in the printed materials and do not necessarily take the books out. The size and weight of some of the art books can also deter issue. A survey in the All Saints Library showed 50% of items re-shelved in Art & Design were from in-library use rather than returns – far exceeding figures in any other subject area.
1 ARLIS Guidelines on stock disposal 2000 (last accessed 04/05/2016)

Version Number and Approval Dates
Version 1.1 Author Name & Job Title: Fiona Hughes Library Services Manager Date EIA Approved Approved Date Approved by: Date for Review: 21/08/21
9. Related Policies and Documents
 Resource List Policy
 Ordering books and journals
 There are separate collections policies for Special Collections and the North West Film Archive.