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Collection Development Framework

The California Digital Library (CDL) is a “co-library” of the University of California whose primary collection responsibility is to develop electronic content and make it available to all faculty and students. Some of the electronic content will be licensed and acquired from commercial sources, and some will be produced by digitizing University collections. The same three considerations used to develop library collections in the ten UC campus libraries guide collection development for the CDL:

  • the user base
  • the programs that are to be supported
  • the resources available to support those users and programs

In the case of the CDL, the resources available are electronic resources, which support common needs of programs and users on the nine campuses of the University. In May 1996, the University of California Libraries Collection Development Committee endorsed the Principles for Acquiring and Licensing Information in Digital Formats. Among those principles, the following are particularly important for building the collections of the CDL:

  1. Conventional collection development criteria are paramount and will be applied consistently across formats, including digital resources.
  2. Principal considerations include:
    • Establishing a coherent rationale for the acquisition of each resource, meeting faculty and student information needs
    • Providing orderly access and guidance to the digital resources, and integrating them into library service programs
    • Ensuring that the advantages of the digital resource are significant enough to justify its selection in digital format.
  3. Balance must be maintained among:
    • Disciplines
    • Information formats (i.e., printed, audio-visual, and electronic media have different but equally essential purposes and audiences).
    • Instructional and research tools (i.e., a balance of material types such as reference, abstracting/indexing, full-text)
    • Different needs of each campus
  4. Priority will be given to digital format acquisition of those resources that offer economies of scale by benefiting the most faculty and students (locally and/or system-wide). Documented faculty support and demand increases the priority for acquisition.
  5. Priority will be given to digital resources when they offer significant added value over print equivalents in such ways as:
    • more timely availability
    • more extensive content
    • greater functionality such as the ability to invoke linkages to local and/or related resources
    • greater access because they can be delivered universally, rapidly, remotely, at any time
    • improved resource sharing due to the ubiquity of digital resources
    • ease of archiving, replacing, and preserving
  6. UC should retain authority for selecting and deselecting materials (content and format) and sound selection decisions should not be compromised by provider-defined packages or linkages between print and digital products.
  7. A digital collection must contain a sufficient critical mass to evaluate its utility and to justify its selection. 

    With respect to the collections of the CDL, the following principles are also important:

  8. Collections focus on disciplines in which a substantial quantity of electronic content is available and on user groups willing and able to accept such content.
  9. The CDL collections include both those that support undergraduate instruction and those that support faculty research.
  10. Collection activities encourage societies with high impact titles to distribute their materials electronically.
  11. Electronic materials are selected that increase access to the installed base of UC Library collections and build on the investments already made by the University in digital resources.
  12. Collections will be distributed more or less evenly among the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Area Studies, Science & Technology and Instructional Support so as to maintain a balance between broad subject categories.
  13. For each discipline, the needed breadth and critical mass of electronic material should be provided. Material may be licensed or acquired from commercial sources or digitized from the University owned collections.
  14. Priority is given to UC faculty-created resources.
  15. Selection of material within a specific discipline should follow the relevant principles noted above. While material is selected based on the needs of a particular discipline, it may also be necessary in some cases to develop models for creating and accessing particular material types (e.g. numeric files, images) across disciplines. These models may need to be in place before such material can be added to the collection, and advisory groups to develop those models should be appointed by the CDL.
  16. Lower priority will be assigned to materials where access is already adequate, where there is no systemwide cost advantage, where there is comparable open-access material, or to materials that present technical difficulties.
  17. Publication by a non-profit organization and/or represents an innovative, sustainable business and access model.
  18. Resources should be evaluated according to CDL licensing and technical standards.