Our organisation


Date first approved:

18 August 2017

Date of effect:

18 August 2017

Date last amended:
(refer to Version Control Table) 18 August 2017

Date of Next Review:

August 2022

First Approved by:

Director, Library Services

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Associate Director, Collections & Scholarly Communications


Associate Director, Collections & Scholarly Communications

Responsible Division & Unit:

University Library

Supporting documents, procedures & forms:

UOW Philanthropic Fundraising, Gift Acceptance and Recognition Policy

Relevant Legislation &

External Documents:

Higher Education Support Act 2003

State Records Act 1998 (NSW)

Relevant General Retention and Disposal Authorities in their current versions as published by NSW State Archives and Records




1 Purpose of Policy 3

2 Definitions 3

3 Application & Scope - Exclusions or Special Conditions 3

4 Policy Principles 3

5 Intellectual Freedom 4

6 Selection Criteria 4

7 Subject Readings 6

8 Borrowing from other Libraries 6

9 Special Collections 6

10 Collection Management 9

11 Responsibilities 9

Version Control and Change History 11

    1 Purpose of Policy

        1. This policy provides a framework for the development and maintenance of library collections at the University of Wollongong (UOW). It reflects the Library’s vision and purpose to support esteemed research and scholarship at UOW by outlining the agreed means of acquiring and providing access to relevant collections and scholarly content.

        2. The purpose of this policy is to:

        a. guide the selection, acquisition, maintenance and provision of access to scholarly content to meet the research, teaching and learning needs of UOW;

        b. inform and guide Library and academic staff in the selection of resources;

        c. achieve optimal value for money from the UOW Library Information Resources Fund; and

        3. This Policy replaces the previous University Archives Policy and the local Collection Development Policy. The University Archives Policy was originally approved by Council on 1 January 1975. The Collection Development Policy was previously used within the Library.

    2 Definitions


Definition (with examples if required)


Archival Collections

The non-current records of an organisation, institution or individual that have been appraised and selected for preservation, because they have continuing or permanent value. In the case of the University, this value may be for administrative, legal, scientific, research and/or historical use. Archival collections may comprise a range of formats – paper, audiovisual, digital, artefacts etc.

Collection Development

Collection development is the process by which the Library assesses, selects and deselects information resources.

Special Collections

Collections of materials in various formats that receive special treatment in terms of storage, description and access.

University Archives

The administrative unit of the University Library responsible for managing archival collections.

    3 Application & Scope - Exclusions or Special Conditions

      • 1. This policy applies to all University of Wollongong Libraries and Library collections.

    4 Policy Principles

      • 1. Resources and collections are selected to support the vision, purpose and priorities of the University in its research, teaching and learning endeavours.
      • 2. The Library provides access to information resources across multiple national and transnational UOW locations, and in line with requirements outlined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003. Information resources are acquired in a digital format, where available, rather than in hard copy, to facilitate access regardless of time and location, with the exception of the University Archives where formats are dependent on the nature of materials.
      • 3. The Library participates in resource sharing consortia and networks, nationally and internationally, to support access to academic material not held. Due to budget and space requirements, resource sharing services may be more appropriate and cost-effective than purchase for the collection in some circumstances.
      • 4. Whilst the Library consults the UOW community on the acquisition of resources, the final decision on resource selection and deselection is the responsibility of the Director Library Services.
      • 5. The Library recognises its obligations to provide equitable access to needed resources for staff and students with a disability.
      • 6. The Library general print collections are steady state collections, in recognition of the finite physical space and the need for currency and relevance of the collection. Intake of new print material must be offset with deselection of resources.
      • 7. The University Archives comply with the State Records Act 1998 and NSW State Archives and Records policies to collect and preserve the historic record of UOW and the Illawarra region. These materials form part of the cultural record of NSW.

    5 Intellectual Freedom

      • 1. Aligned with the Australian Library and Information Association’s Statement on Free Access to Information the Library does not exercise censorship in acquiring or providing access to resources which may be considered controversial. Due to ethical or commercial sensitivities, access to some Higher Degree Research theses may be limited by the author.

    6 Selection Criteria

      • 1. Selection requests must support University teaching, learning and research priorities. The Library will purchase electronic versions of material in preference to print/hard copy in order to support changing client needs, 24/7 access and delivery across multiple locations, whilst taking into consideration the suitability of this format for particular discipline areas. Refer to section 9 of this Policy regarding selection of material for special collections including University Archives.
      • 2. The Library applies the following criteria to inform selection decisions for the purchase of scholarly information in areas pertinent to University programs. Particular criteria adopt greater or lesser importance depending on the type of material being considered and current available resources:

        a. Relevance to UOW teaching and research priorities

        b. Cost and value for money. Where better priced alternatives exist UOW Library will pursue this alternative

        c. Currency

        d. Number of potential users

        e. Usage analysis

        f. The primary language of the UOW collection is English. In certain areas content will be purchased in other languages to support the curriculum.

        The following additional criteria are considered for the selection of digital material:

        g. Ease of use/accessibility

        h. Authentication requirements

        i. License conditions regarding user access and use of content

        j. Hardware and operating system requirements

        k. Secure method of payment

        l. Quality of image content

        The Library does not purchase applications software, subscriptions, or teaching and learning content, such as online supplementary content, that entail restricted licenses for access by individuals or groups.

General Collection

      • The Library will acquire recently published books that support UOW research and teaching programs. Electronic books (ebooks) will be purchased in preference to print, and perpetual access models will be sought rather than subscription. The Library will not acquire ebooks that require clients to purchase specific proprietary technology to access content.

Texts and Recommended Readings

        The Library aims to provide access to a minimum of one copy of each prescribed text and recommended reading at the campus Library or access centre where the subject is taught. The Library will purchase electronic copies of books in preference to print, where available. Ebook access and pricing models vary from single user to unlimited concurrent access. To optimise access for students, at the time of purchase enrolment numbers are referenced to select the most appropriate available ebook access model.

        Where student numbers are large or a title is in heavy demand, additional copies may be purchased as follows for prescribed texts:

      • Print –1 copy per 25 students, to a maximum of 4 copies; recommended readings –one copy per 25 students, to a maximum of three copies.
      • Ebooks – a maximum of 2 ‘copies’ per access model. For example, where the model is three concurrent users, a maximum of two purchases, enabling six ‘copies’ for circulation.

Book approval Plans

        The Library has in place approval plans with major monograph vendors for the supply of Australian and international published books and undergraduate level works. Approval plans are developed and reviewed in consultation with faculty to ensure they accurately reflect current teaching and research areas.

Streamed Media

        Streamed media is a recurring cost, therefore, subscriptions will be considered based on available funds. Subscriptions to streamed content will be reviewed annually in consultation with relevant faculties.

Journals and Databases

        Journal and database subscriptions represent a significant recurring cost from the Library’s Information Resources Fund. More than 80% of the Library’s subscriptions are acquired in foreign currency, resulting in significant exposure to fluctuations in the currency market. The Library engages a number of strategies to minimise financial risk. The following principles and activities guide the management of these subscriptions:

        i. Decisions on titles to be subscribed, cancelled, or maintained, are made in consultation with faculties or on the basis of budget availability, usage, and continued relevance to teaching and research. It may be necessary for the Library to cancel another subscription of similar value from the same subject area to fund a new subscription.

        ii. The Library participates in the Council of Australia University Librarians’ purchasing consortium, where appropriate, in order to take advantage of reduced pricing achieved through economies of scale.

        iii. Electronic-only subscriptions are preferred to ensure client access at any place and any time.

        iv. Print titles also available electronically are not generally maintained. Consideration may be given to retaining print titles under limited circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.

        v. Trials of new products and demonstrations by vendors may be provided to academic staff and postgraduates, and feedback may be sought to determine relevance and ease of use before committing to purchase.


        Donations of published material are not generally accepted. Depending on the subject and material, donors may be referred to UOW Used Books (formerly the Alumni Bookshop), or in the case of rare, unique or significant donations, to UOW Archives.

    7 Subject Readings

      • 1. The Subject Readings service provides online access to essential readings for each subject delivered by UOW, at all locations. Library staff ensure that availability of all subject readings complies with the Australia Copyright Act. The Short Loans collection provides ready access to high demand, high use materials that are either unavailable electronically or cannot be made available electronically for copyright purposes.

    8 Borrowing from other Libraries

      • 1. The Library takes part in resource sharing arrangements with other institutions to support academic activity at UOW. Resource sharing services are generally provided free of charge to UOW clients.

    9 Special Collections

      • 1. The Library’s Special Collections consist of published and unpublished material in print, audio-visual and digital formats, including content associated with or published by the University and its predecessor institutions.

        2. The Library’s Special Collections include material held in the University Archives and/or the Library’s digital collections, including:

        a. Archival collections documenting the corporate and social history of the University

        b. UOW and other archival research collections

        c. Illawarra historical collections

        d. UOW Higher Degree Research theses

        e. UOW research outputs, journals and conferences, research data

        f. Digital archival and cultural materials, including born-digital content and materials that have been digitised by the Library

        g. Publications, including monographs of cultural and historical value, and gifts to the University Executive

        h. The Rare Books Collection

University Archives

      • 3. The University Archive’s primary role is to:

        a. Identify, collect and help preserve archival collections, documenting the corporate and social history of the University, contributing towards efficient and effective knowledge management; and

        b. Facilitate access to University and other archival collections supporting the University's present and future teaching, learning and research needs.

        4. The University Archives is administered by UOW Library. Material for inclusion in the Archives is acquired by purchase, or gift or bequest in accordance with the University’s Philanthropic, Fundraising and Gift Acceptance Policy.

        5. The University Archives holds certain important, unique and fragile items which require careful treatment, handling and storage to ensure they are preserved for future access. The University Archives reserves the right to refuse, dispose of, or relocate materials that, upon appraisal by Library and Archives staff, do not meet the selection criteria.

        6. Selection of material for inclusion in the University Archives is based on the following criteria which apply to both hardcopy and born-digital content:

        a. Archival materials that are related to the University and have potential enduring historical value;

        b. UOW and other archival collections that support the University’s teaching, learning and research needs;

        c. Local and Illawarra heritage collections aligned to current collection strengths;

        d. Available space capacity and suitable methods of storage;

        e. Condition of material, and preservation and conservation resourcing required;

        f. Access conditions.

        7. The University Archives is registered as a Regional Repository under the State Records Act. The University Archives is responsible for determining the retention of state records within the Archives collection and providing advice on the donation, disposal and relocation of local state records.

        8. A small collection of rare books, pamphlets and ephemera, dating from 1582 to the present, is housed in the Archives Reading Room. Material is included in the Rare Books collection based on uniqueness, rarity and value.

Digital Collections

      • 9. The Library’s investment in digital content is facilitated through the Library’s publication management service and digitisation program.

University research material

        10. The Library manages UOW’s annual publication collection through the capture, curation and verification of publication data in liaison with Research Services Office and academic staff.

        11. Guided by the UOW Open Access Policy and in collaboration with academic staff, affiliated research outputs will be added to the institutional repository and made freely available online.

        12. UOW-edited or hosted publications will be included in the institutional repository at the request of UOW staff or faculties.

        13. A preservation version of UOW PhD thesis files will be stored in the UOW Records Management System and, where possible, will be made available via the institutional repository. Other higher degree research theses may be held if they pertain to the Illawarra region, or are recommended for inclusion by an academic staff member.

Digitised Collections

      • 14. Growth of digitised collections is guided by the Library’s digitisation plan that outlines the key projects and resourcing to be included in the program. University Archives collections are the primary focus of digitisation projects to enable broad and open access to unique content held. Projects are assessed for inclusion in the digitisation plan based on the following criteria:

        a. Constitutes official records of UOW

        b. Increases public access to unique special collections

        c. Is at risk of being lost due to poor condition or obsolete media format

        d. Is of institutional significance or regional value

        e. Aligns with current UOW research, teaching and learning priorities

        f. Provides a strategic opportunity for institutional distinctiveness, innovation, collaboration or community engagement

        g. Is a non-duplication of effort

        h. Available staff and financial resources, and appropriate delivery system is in place to provide access

        i. Copyright permissions


      • 15. Archival materials are held in a secure area. Physical access to these collections requires the approval of Archives staff or the Director, Library Services. To facilitate access to special collections, the Library will:

        a. Make information about special collections available through the Library’s website and through discovery tools, relevant national and international databases, and online search engines where appropriate.

        b. Provide open access to digital collections, where copyright permits.

        c. Promote awareness and use of special collections through collaborative community-based projects, exhibitions, web pages, digital collections and special events.

    10 Collection Management


      • 1. Information resource funds are allocated to:

        a. Journal and Database subscriptions (recurrent expenditure) – focusing on research strengths, and current undergraduate and postgraduate needs.

        b. Monographs - Texts, recommended readings, academic and Library selections, student suggestions, new courses and revised subjects, new strategic directions, reference.

        c. Resource Sharing services such as consortial fees, transactions and postal charges.

Valuation and Depreciation

        2. Collection valuation and depreciation reporting is undertaken to meet the requirements of Australian Accounting Standard AAS29 “Financial Reporting by Government Departments”. This process recognises the collection as a valuable and measurable University asset.


        3. Deselection takes place across all national UOW locations to ensure continued relevance, currency and condition of the collection and to provide sufficient space for the addition of new material. Criteria for deselection may include:

        a. Material which no longer meets the learning, teaching and research needs of the university;

        b. Outdated or incorrect material e.g. incorrect or outdated medical or IT information;

        c. Multiple copies of previous editions where the newer edition is held;

        d. Material in obsolete format or for which access equipment is unavailable;

        e. Material in poor physical condition and beyond repair;

        f. Material held in the University Archives under State Records legislation, for which the retention period has expired. An appropriate method of disposal would be employed for this material: either via secure disposal or transfer to another institution.

    11 Responsibilities

      • 1. The Library is responsible for the state and content of the University of Wollongong Libraries and Library collections.

        2. The Library actively engage with the academic community in developing the collection to ensure it reflects changing teaching and research needs. Relevant Library staff work closely with academic staff to advise on reading lists and to select resources that support their particular discipline and research. General works and reference resources, as well as those that support multidisciplinary studies, are predominantly selected by Library staff.

        3. Decisions pertaining to archival collections should be directed to the Manager Archives.

        4. The Records Management Unit (RMU) of the Governance and Legal Division is the custodian of Records Management at UOW, including records management compliance and best practice. The UOW Archives work with the RMU as required in relation to the archiving of UOW records.

    Version Control and Change History

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By



18 August 2017

University Council

First version approved by University Council. Replaces the rescinded University Archives Policy and the local Collection Development Policy.

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