Guidelines for Collection Development and Management


The Library is committed to providing access to a variety of information formats including, but not limited to, print and electronic books, journals (primarily electronic), databases, streaming audio and video, other video materials, datasets, maps, manuscripts, archives and special collections. The choice of format for these resources is dependent upon cost, availability, physical and electronic storage space, technological compatibility, licensing terms and changes in the publishing environment. The format of materials affects how researchers can use them; as we are able, we create versions of digitized materials from our collections that are optimized for computational analysis. We acknowledge that financial and human resources are limited and recognize the need to approach collection building in a smart and proactive way to satisfy the information needs of both on-campus and distance learning users.

The collection policies for each format are detailed below:

Electronic Resources

The selection of electronic resources for the Library’s collection (e.g., books, journals, databases, streaming video), as with other formats, must support the teaching and research needs of the university community. Other criteria related specifically to e-resources are also considered. These include license terms, digital rights management, accessibility, technical capacity, access options, customer support, usage statistics, publisher business models and long-term preservation.


Books collected for the University of Delaware Library span nearly all subjects and time periods, and include a vast array of publishers. Titles are purchased to serve the current and future needs of the University community. All books are added with careful attention to scholarly needs and user preferences.

Books published by trade publishers are generally acquired as e-books. These e-books may be purchased and owned in perpetuity, or they may be made available via a DDA (Demand Driven Acquisitions) plan or an EBA (Evidence Based Acquisitions) plan. Such plans allow the Library to provide access to a large number of e-books without necessarily purchasing them. Thus, the Library has greatly reduced the number of print copy books in recent years.

In general, university presses publish primarily in the humanities and social sciences. The Library acquires these publications in a format suitable for the specific discipline.


E-journals are preferred over print. This has been the case since 2000 when the Library began to change journal subscriptions from print to digital format. This has guided and influenced the acquisition of new and existing journals. The digital environment for journal content has significantly improved accessibility and usage, and enhanced research and scholarship at the University.

Print journal subscriptions have been greatly reduced but some print subscriptions continue due to lack of electronic availability, lack of archival rights, subscription purchase models and/or preference of content use.


The Library subscribes to and purchases a large number of databases. Like other acquisitions, these are intended to support the teaching and research needs of the University community. Databases may be discipline specific or interdisciplinary, specialized as well as general. Formats include citations and abstracts only, full-text, image, audio, video, data/numeric and archival material.

Film and Video

The Film and Video Collection consists primarily of commercially distributed audiovisual materials and video games that meet curricular or supplemental needs of students, faculty and staff of the University of Delaware. Content types include documentary and instructional films, performances, performance art, animation, console-based video games and feature films, including independent, foreign-language and popular features. The Film and Video Collection supports a variety of current and legacy formats.

See additional information about the Film and Video Collection Development Policies.

Open Access (OA)

Open Access refers to scholarly research outputs that are made freely available on the internet in perpetuity. Any user can find, freely access, read, download, copy, distribute, print, search  and link to these research outputs. Use is subject to full and proper attribution, and usually will have an appropriate license, such as those available from Creative Commons. Some licenses allow remixing and adaptation of materials, while others require that they be shared in unaltered formats. The open access movement has existed for quite some time, but has become increasingly important as many universities, including the University of Delaware, have formally established open access policies. The importance of OA is also due to rising costs of electronic resources and their impact on library budgets.The University of Delaware Open Access Resolution was passed unanimously by the Faculty Senate on April 6, 2015.

The UD Library supports Open Access in several ways:

    • Providing direct access to OA e-journals, e-books and other materials via DELCAT, research databases and related Library webpages.
    • Open Educational Resources (OER)
      Supporting the use and development of Open Educational Resources (OER) that have been created for teaching purposes and released free of cost under an open license, such as a Creative Commons license. These licenses typically allow customization and remixing, giving the course instructor full control of the content. OER can include syllabi, textbooks, lecture notes, simulations, question banks and more. Faculty who are interested in incorporating OER into their courses should contact their subject specialist, who can provide the best starting points for finding and using open resources.
    • Open and Affordable Teaching Materials Grants
      In partnership with the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning (CTAL), the Library provides small, one-time Open and Affordable Teaching Materials Grants to UD faculty and instructors who make their courses more affordable for students by using low-cost materials, Library content or OER. Subject librarians and other academic support units assist in locating these resources, adapting them to specific course requirements, and integrating them into the learning management system.
    • Institutional Repository – UDSpace
      UDSpace provides open access to University of Delaware original research in digital form. It includes articles, books, datasets, images, research reports, working papers, technical reports, conference papers, theses, dissertations, documents, the University’s undergraduate and graduate catalogs and more. By making these materials openly available, UD is able to contribute to a growing set of scholarly resources that serve the public good. UDSpace contains digital research materials for which the copyright is owned by the author or the University, as well as material that is in the public domain.Faculty and graduate students may also submit their publications to UDSpace to make them Open Access.See additional information about UDSpace Policies
  • Artstor Digital Collections
    Artstor hosts visual materials such as postcards, photographs and maps that have been digitized from holdings in Special Collections. Some of these materials are available open access; others are restricted to the UD Community based on copyright or donor restrictions. Staff in Museums and Digital Collections and Preservation are engaged in reviewing these materials on an ongoing basis in order to transition materials from restricted to open access when they pass into the public domain.


The Library does not add undergraduate-level textbooks to the collection but will selectively acquire graduate-level textbooks when a long-term research value is demonstrated. See the Library’s Complete Textbook Policy for additional information.


Over the course of its history, the University of Delaware Library has benefited greatly from the many generous donations that have contributed to building a broad and diverse collection that supports teaching, research and scholarship.

Potential gifts are evaluated by the same standards and policies used to evaluate any new additions to the collection.

Space limitations, costs associated with processing and an item’s relevance to the collection determine whether or not a gift is accepted. We may accept gifts that meet the following criteria:

  • Scholarly books not already included in the collection
  • Works that fill gaps in the collection
  • Rare books and other unique items
  • Primary source material, such as archives, correspondence, etc.
  • Videos and games in current formats not already included in the collection

The Library does not accept the following:

  • Duplicates of materials already in the collection
  • Incomplete or single issues of journals
  • Materials in poor condition
  • Popular fiction or magazines, such as National Geographic
  • Resources in outdated formats
  • Textbooks

See the Library’s complete policies related to Gifts of Library Materials for additional information.

State and Federal Documents

Most state of Delaware publications are currently available online. However, the Library receives Laws of the State of Delaware and the Delaware Code in print format. Additional information is available in the Library’s Delaware Research Guide.

The University of Delaware Library is a member of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and, as such, collects selected United States federal publications that support the information needs of residents of the State of Delaware and the University community. The University of Maryland College Park serves as Delaware’s Regional Depository Library and provides access to publications not available in the UD collection.

Most current U.S. government publications are available online. The Library also holds historical publications including print books and maps, microfiche and optical discs. Additional information is available in the Library’s U.S. Government Information & Congressional Publications Research Guide.

Maps and Spatial Data

The Library’s preferred format for maps is digital. The Library holds a legacy collection of printed maps and charts and continues to collect printed maps of Delaware and the surrounding region that document the history of the area. These maps are located in Special Collections, Morris Library and the Library Annex. Additional information is available in the Library’s Cartographic Resources, Maps, and Spatial Data Research Guide.


The Library continues to collect selected materials in microform format for preservation purposes, to supplement the collection and when they are not available in other formats.

Leisure Reading

The Library provides access to some leisure reading material in print, eBook and audiobook formats. Focus is placed on recent bestsellers, award-winners and other titles supporting the leisure reading interests of the University of Delaware community. An effort is made not to duplicate titles already owned by the Library, regardless of format, though some exceptions may apply (e.g. high popularity, UD Common Reader, campus author events). Two collections are specifically oriented toward leisure reading as it is described above. The OverDrive Online Collection includes eBooks and audiobooks. The Browsing Collection is a collection of print books. Both collections include fiction and non-fiction materials.

Collection Review

The Library’s collections are reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that the collection continues to meet the teaching, research, curriculum and informational needs of faculty and students. Materials that no longer meet the needs of the university community may be removed from the collection. Librarians assigned as liaisons to specific departments are responsible for tracking research trends and working with faculty in their assigned academic departments to ensure the Library’s collection is maintained in a manner that meets the research needs of students, faculty and staff.

Other Campus Collections of Interest

Connected reading: Library Collection Development Policy