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SOAS Library

Library Collection Development Policy

February 2011

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Strategic Context
    1. Collaborative Collecting
    2. Access to Other Libraries
  3. Funding and Budget Model
  4. Selection Criteria
    1. Definition of Collecting Criteria
    2. Languages
    3. Research
    4. Teaching
      1. Multiple Copy Provision
    5. National Research Library
    6. Out of Print
    7. Donations Policy
    8. Grants
    9. Deposits
    10. Periodicals
  5. Selection Methods
    1. Specialist Staff
    2. Profiling
    3. Recommendations for Purchase
  6. E-Resources
    1. Online Repository
  7. Preservation and Binding
  8. Stock Maintenance
    1. Retention
    2. Deselection
    3. Disposal
    4. Replacement of Lost and Damaged Items
    5. Cancellation
      1. Cancellation of Print Subscriptions
      2. Cancellation of E-Resources
  9. Access

1. Introduction

  • The Collection Development Policy sets out principles and guidelines for developing and maintaining the Library's collections in all formats
  • The policy document is set within the context of the following strategic planning documents:
  • The purpose of the Collection Development policy is:
    • An internal library document to provide guidance to staff in the selection of resources, to assist with focus on user needs and to aid in the orientation of new staff
    • A public document to provide information on existing collection strengths and future collecting activity to inform SOAS academics and students, the wider academic community, funding bodies and other libraries with an interest in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
  • For a general overview of SOAS Library, see Brief Overview of Collections
  • For a more comprehensive account of the Library’s collections - their history and development, see SOAS Library: What makes it Special

2. Strategic Context

The Collection Development Policy is influenced by a number of internal and external factors:
(e.g. The Library is a HEFCE-funded National Research Library):

2.1 Collaborative Collecting
  • Nationally, the Library is a member of RLUK (Research Libraries UK) and participates fully in RLUK activities
  • The Library is a member of SCOLMA (Africa), MELCOM (the Middle East) and other groups for China (EASL, CLG), Japan (JLG), Korea (KLG) South-East Asia, Art (LCHA) and Law (FLARE)
  • The Library has agreements with other leading research libraries
2.2 Access to Other Libraries
  • Access to physical collections held in other institutions is made possible and regulated by a number of reciprocal access and borrowing schemes, namely: SCONUL Access, University of London agreements and RLUK’s Policy on Access

3. Funding and Budget Model

  • The Library's information resources budget is awarded annually by the School
  • The Library uses a weighting system to award percentages of its materials fund to the School's research departments and teaching commitments. An increasing proportion of these resources is based online

4. Selection Criteria

For details on individual regional and subject collections, see the Subject Statements

4.1 Definition of collecting criteria

The conspectus model definitions of collecting levels (see below) have been used. The collections have been described by subject/regional librarians in terms of Level 2: Basic Information, Level 3: Teaching and Level 4: Research.

4.1.1 Level 0: Out of scope

The Library does not intentionally collect materials in any format for this subject.

4.1.2 Level 1: Minimal information

Collections that support minimal inquiries about this subject and include a very limited collection of general resources, including monographs and reference works. Periodicals directly dealing with this topic and in-depth electronic information resources are not collected.
The collection should be frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information should be withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained.

4.1.3 Level 2: Basic information

Collections that introduce and define a subject, indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere, and support the needs of general library users by:

  • a limited collection of general monographs and reference tool
  • a limited collection of representative general periodicals
  • defined access to a limited collection of owned or remotely-accessed electronic bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc.

The collection should be frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information should be withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained.

4.1.4 Level 3: Study or instructional support

Collections that provide information for study of a subject in a systematic way, but at a level of less than research intensity and support the needs of general library users by:

  • an extensive collection of general monographs and reference works and selected specialized monographs and reference works
  • an extensive collection of general periodicals and a representative collection of specialized periodicals
  • limited collections of appropriate materials in languages other than the primary language of the collection and the country, for example, materials to aid in learning a language for non-native speakers or literature in the original language, such as German poetry in German or Spanish history in Spanish
  • extensive collections of the works of well-known authors and selections from the works of lesser-known authors
  • defined access to a broad collection of owned or remotely-accessed electronic resources, including bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc.

The collection should be systematically reviewed for currency of information and for assurance that essential and important information is retained, including retrospective materials.

4.1.5 Level 4: Research

Collections that contain the major published source materials required for doctoral study and independent research include:

  • a very extensive collection of general and specialized monographs and reference works
  • a very extensive collection of general and specialized periodicals
  • extensive collections of appropriate materials in languages other than the primary language of the country and collection
  • extensive collections of the works of both well-known and lesser-known authors
  • defined access to a very extensive collection of owned or remotely accessed electronic resources, including bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc
  • older material is retained and systematically preserved to serve the needs of historical research
4.1.6 Level 5: Comprehensive

Collections in a specifically defined field of knowledge that strive to be exhaustive as far as is reasonably possible i.e. "special collections"), in all applicable languages include:

  • exhaustive collections of published materials
  • very extensive manuscript collections
  • very extensive collections in all other pertinent formats
  • older material is retained and systematically preserved to serve the needs of historical research
  • a comprehensive level collection may serve as a national or international resource
4.2 Languages
  • The collections span the languages of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, European languages (primarily English) and Native American languages
  • For details on specific languages, see the Subject Statements
4.3 Research
  • The Library develops and maintains collections to support the School's current and anticipated research needs
  • For details on individual collections, see the Subject Statements
4.4 Teaching

The Library develops and maintains collections to support the School's taught courses

4.4.1 Multiple Copy provision
  • The Library normally acquires one copy of a printed work
  • The Library acquires additional copies of a work in the following circumstances:
  • to support teaching
  • where a book is in heavy demand
  • when a title is a core, seminal or major work
  • Unless the need is proven the Library does not acquire multiple copies of material in languages other than English
  • Multiple copy items are categorised as Long Loan, One-Week-Loan and 24-hour Loan. The latter two categories may only be borrowed by SOAS staff and students
4.5 National Research Library
  • The Library performs a national role by virtue of its scope and specialisation
4.6 Out of Print
  • The Library endeavours to obtain out-of-print titles where appropriate
4.7 Donations Policy
  • The Library welcomes offers of material relating to Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • The Library reserves the right to accept or decline donations
  • No restrictions by the donor are accepted
  • Donations become the property of the Library
  • The Library reserves the right to dispose of donations not required
  • The Library does not accept off prints of journal articles
  • The Library balances the value of the donation against the costs of cataloguing and storing it
  • The Library encourages all SOAS academic staff to donate a copy of their academic publications. (See also the Institutional Repository at Section 6.1)
  • For more details, see the Donations Policy
4.8 Grants
  • The Library welcomes offers of financial support for collection development
  • The Library submits applications for funding where appropriate
4.9 Deposits
  • The Library accepts deposited collections only in exceptional circumstances
  • Funding for deposited collections needs to be identified prior to any acceptance
  • SOAS Archives and Special Collections will accept deposits of material which falls within their remit. Contact the Head of Archives and Special Collections at docenquiry@soas.ac.uk
4.10 Periodicals
  • Periodicals are selected to support the current teaching, learning and research activities of the School in the fields of Asian, African and Middle Eastern studies, including Asian and African cultures in the wider world and diasporas
  • As the National Research Library for Asian, African and Middle Eastern studies, the Library develops and maintains collections of print periodicals relating to Asia, Africa and the Middle East for posterity as well as current access. In addition, the Library endeavours to provide electronic access to these periodicals, where available
  • For subscriptions to periodicals covering subjects of a theoretical, general or non-regional nature the electronic version is favoured
  • For information on electronic resources, see E-Resources at Section 6

5. Selection Methods

5.1 Specialist Staff
  • The Library employs a team of Subject Librarians including specialists in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Languages & Cultures of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. They oversee the selection of materials
5.2 Profiling
  • Subject profiling is being adopted by the Library with a view to streamlining the process of acquisitions
5.3 Recommendations for purchase
  • The Library welcomes suggestions for purchases from staff, students and members of the public, see the Recommendation Forms

6. E-Resources

  • The Library selects and purchases e-resources which support the current teaching and research activities of the School
  • For more details, see the Electronic Resources Policy
6.1 Online Repository
  • SOAS Research Online is a free, publicly-accessible repository of the research outputs of the School
  • The repository contains both full-text papers and descriptive records of research carried out by SOAS staff
  • For more details, see SOAS Research Online Policies

7. Preservation and Binding

  • Books and periodicals comprising delicate or flimsy material and covering the regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East are bound
  • The Library investigates digitization of materials in need of conservation which fall within copyright and within the areas of Africa, Asia and the Middle East

8. Stock Maintenance

8.1 Retention
  • The Library retains one print copy of selected scholarly titles which fall within its remit as a National Research Library covering Asia, Africa and the Middle East (including books, serials, microfilm and audio-visual media)
8.2 Deselection

The Library undertakes to deselect material from the collection on a regular basis as follows:

  • Material relating to Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Retain one print copy of selected scholarly titles within its remit as a National Research Library
  • Material of a general, theoretical or non-regional nature
  • Withdraw books no longer in use and superseded editions
  • Withdraw books and periodicals replaced by electronic versions
8.3 Disposal
  • Withdrawn books are sold and the proceeds used to fund further purchases
  • Materials of a general nature, typically newspapers, are recycled
  • Duplicate periodicals are offered to staff and students
8.4 Replacement of lost and damaged items
  • The Library replaces lost or damaged items as appropriate
  • Where a title is out of print the Library acquires one copy where possible
  • Where titles on taught courses are unobtainable the Library requests alternatives from the course convenor
8.5 Cancellation
8.5.1 Cancellation of print subscriptions
  • Print subscriptions are not cancelled for journals that SOAS holds relating to Africa, Asia and the Middle East
  • Cancellation of print subscriptions is considered when ownership of the electronic version or perpetual access can be guaranteed
  • Print subscriptions are retained in some cases where there is a strong demand
8.5.2 Cancellation of e-resources
  • Usage of e-resources is monitored and databases with low usage are cancelled
  • Price increases and changes of supplier or content may result in cancellation of electronic subscriptions
  • The Library will participate in content preservation schemes e.g. LOCKSS/Portico to ensure continued access to content on databases in case of cancellation by providers, cancellation by SOAS or technical failure

9. Access

  • The Library is open to the public, including members of the UK and international academic community and private researchers
  • For details on admission, fees and opening hours, see Using the Library