University Library

Collection management principles and policies

Further information

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Strategic Plan

Collection policy documents should be read in conjunction with the University Library Strategic Directions 2015-2020:


Selection factors

lady holding a book

The Library has a set of principles by which it manages its collections. 

  1. Selection
  2. Allocation of funds
  3. Collection maintenance
  4. Access

1. Selection


1.1 Purchased material is selected for the collections to support and benefit the current teaching, learning and research needs of the staff and students of the University. 

Donated material is only selected where it meets the criteria for inclusion in the Special Collections, or where the author or a contributor is a University staff member. Exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the relevant Library Manager.


1.2 Collections are developed using evidence based principles, such as recommendations and demand-driven acquisition, to meet the needs of the University community.


1.3 Resources will be purchased in electronic format where available to ensure access from anywhere at any time. Exceptions to this may be due to issues of accessibility, quality, suitability for purpose and cost.


1.4 The Library gives preference to the acquisition of English-language materials. Material in languages other than English are included in the collection if they support teaching and learning in languages taught at UWA. Foreign language materials can also be acquired if they are required for research.

Special collections

1.5 The Library has a responsibility for the ongoing collection of all UWA publications and theses for higher degrees by research.

1.6 The Library also maintains and develops special collections in specific areas of focus, namely Australian literature and the Indian Ocean, which support the research community beyond The University of Western Australia.

Formed collections

1.7 Collections of information resources that have been assembled by individuals or groups (formed collections) are only acquired and retained as discrete collections when they have a value as a coherent collection which they would not have if dispersed.

Affordable and open access to information

1.8 The Library will support and promote affordable and open access to information and will resist unreasonable publisher and vendor price increases. 

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2. Allocation of funds

2.1 The information resources budget is allocated and managed by the Library.

2.2 The Library continually analyses its online and print collections to ensure they are meeting the needs of the UWA community and to provide the best return on investment from the Library’s ongoing financial commitments.
2.3 The information resources budget is used for acquiring information by purchase, demand driven acquisition, subscription, document delivery, and inter-library lending services.

2.4 In working to further the University’s goal of building strong community relationships, the Library seeks to supplement its recurrent budget for information resources with funds provided from bequests, endowments and gifts.

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3. Collection maintenance


3.1 Material in the Library's collections is retained whilst it is deemed to be of continuing historical or research value.

3.2 Textbook material selected to support the teaching needs of the University is not retained once it ceases to be current and relevant. Reference works are not retained where the information is outdated, misleading or inaccurate, unless the specific edition has intrinsic historical or research value.

3.3 Where the Library holds the same work in multiple formats or copies, one format or copy may be selected for retention and the others withdrawn where adequate access can still be provided.


3.4 Material which remains relevant that has become unusable in its current format is withdrawn and replaced with a usable format where possible.

3.5 Appropriate preservation measures are applied to ensure that material which is intended to be retained can continue to be used without difficulty.

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4. Access

4.1 Library collections are accessible to staff and students of the University. Other groups may also access the collections as far as licenses/contractual conditions permit. Walk-in users may access the physical collections.

4.2 To maximise the use of space in the Libraries low use items may be retained in offsite storage and made available to the University community upon request.

4.3 Items identified as valuable or rare may have mediated access.

4.4 Special arrangements are made to provide access to materials in high demand.

4.5 Library collections are supplemented by providing access to document delivery and inter-library loan services for eligible users.

4.6 The Library will facilitate the searching of, and access to, its collections and resources. To enhance discoverability and enable usage, the Library’s physical and online collections are documented and searchable through OneSearch, on the Library website.

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