View Current

Library Collection Management Framework

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This framework and its guiding policy:

  1. communicate the collection development principles of the Library, in support of the University Strategic Plan;
  2. provide transparency on the management of the Library's collections;
  3. inform decisions about the acquisition, rehousing, deselection, and withdrawal of material in all formats;
  4. inform duties and workflows related to the Library's collections;
  5. demonstrate compliance with Government legislation;
  6. facilitate relevant and collaborative collection management and resource sharing with other organisations; and
  7. facilitate activities, strategies and actions to ensure the continued accessibility, authenticity and integrity of digital content, regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change.

(2) This framework must be read in conjunction with the Library and Art Collection Development Policy.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Scope

(3) This document applies to:

  1. the University Library's General Collection, regardless of format or location; and
  2. all sites and services of the Libraries.

(4) Material to support the learning needs of students may be located at affiliated teaching hospital libraries.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Audience

(5) Staff, students, University affiliates and alumni, honorary academics, general public, and resource-sharing organisations.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Definitions

(6) In the context of this document the following definitions apply:

Defined Term Meaning
Aggregated databases Collection of searchable electronic publications and information that is aggregated and organised for rapid search and retrieval.
Bit-level preservation Basic preservation of a digital file in its original size. One step in the digital preservation process.
Collection Collection is a collective term that refers to the General Collection, research outputs, Special Collections, Archives, Rare books, and the Art collection.
Collection management Collection management refers to the strategies and processes of acquisition, retention and management, preservation, and provision of access to information sources to support the needs of a community.
Core textbooks Textbooks prescribed by Course Co-ordinators to support courses at the University.
Course readings Course readings are essential items identified by Course Co-ordinators to support courses at the University. They can include core textbooks, essential resources and further resources. 
Digital asset A digital file that has enduring value to the organisation and has sufficient information recorded to allow its re-use. It can be either born-digital or digitised.
Digital preservation Digital preservation means a series of managed activities, policies, strategies, and actions to ensure the ongoing accessibility, authenticity, and integrity of digital collections, regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change.
Digital Rights Management A way to protect copyright for digital media. This approach includes the use of technologies that limit the copying and use of copyrighted works and proprietary software.
Ephemeral materials Ephemeral materials include publications that are transitory, grey literature, street literature and fugitive publications. Examples include items produced in the form of advertising, pamphlets, handbills, leaflets, broadsides, position papers, minutes of meetings, information sheets, announcements, bulletins, newsletters, posters, moving images and photographic documentation. These materials may be published outside of official or normal channels.
Essential resources Materials that students should read, view or listen to in preparation for a lecture, tutorial or specific piece of course work.
Fixity The digital file is demonstrably unchanged at the bit configuration level.
Further resources Materials that students may choose to read, view, or listen to with the aim of expanding their understanding of course content.
General Collection Refers to the scholarly information resources of the Library, in all formats and in all modes of access, except those items located in the Special Collections.
Material Includes books, journals, multimedia, maps, art, artefacts, educational resources, archives, manuscripts and rare books. Materials may be in electronic, print, or other formats or media.
Open access Open access refers to materials that are free, easily discoverable and with re-use clearly defined using the most permissive Creative Commons licenses.
Open Education Resources Digital materials offered free of charge and most copyright and licensing restrictions for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research.
Paywalled content Information content that has restricted access, requiring a purchase or a paid subscription.
Perpetual access The ability to retain access to electronic materials after the contractual agreement for these materials has passed.
Relegation The practice of moving library material from a higher usage collection (open shelves) to a lower usage collection (storage).
Research outputs Research outputs refers to University research materials created by University authors. These are hosted and/or managed by the Library and within the Library's open access repository. These include: theses, data in a range of formats; audio-visual material, manuscripts, and individual articles and journals hosted on the Library's open source platform.
Staff collection Staff collection refers to a collection of publications authored, or published, by University staff, students, schools and research centres.
Streaming media Subscription services that license on-demand access to streaming video and audio content.
Withdrawal The disposal of unused duplicates, damaged and/or mutilated material, superseded, and duplicated editions.

Scholarly Resources Budget

(7) The Scholarly Resources Budget is managed by the University Librarian for the purposes of developing and managing library collections.

(8) Core budget allocations are made for:

  1. electronic and print subscriptions;
  2. one-off electronic and print purchases (e.g. books, multimedia);
  3. resource sharing services (including consortial fees, document delivery transactions and postal charges);
  4. University-wide copyright commitments; and
  5. system applications that facilitate discovery and access.

(9) Purchases are made according to the needs of colleges, schools, and research centres and any decisions made about the provision of scholarly resources are informed by the University strategic plan.

Valuation of the General Collection

(10) The Library's General Collection is valued by a University appointed valuer.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Selection Procedures

(11) The Library will distribute the Scholarly Resources Budget according to the principles outlined in the Library and Art Collection Development Policy.

Selection criteria

(12) As the Library's Scholarly Resources Budget does not allow acquisition of everything published in areas of relevance to the University's learning, teaching and research, the following criteria will be applied when evaluating materials to be added to the collection:

  1. Quality: The quality of each resource must be evaluated in terms of scholarship, creativity, lasting value, authority, and contribution to the collection;
  2. Authority: The authority of each resource must be considered to ensure the Library's collection provides a balanced, unbiased, and comprehensive view across the subject content;
  3. Currency: Material in certain disciplines (i.e. sciences) must be up-to-date, and preference will be given to titles which provide current information;
  4. Expected use: The level of expected use must be considered, particularly in determining the number and/or accessibility of holdings;
  5. Price: Although price is relative in terms of quality, demand, and usefulness, 'hidden' costs (e.g. processing, maintenance, foreign exchange rates etc.) must be considered. Any ongoing commitment, for example subscriptions, will also be considered;
  6. Format: The Library will take a ‘digital first’ approach to resource acquisition to facilitate access to the collection regardless of time and location. Alternate formats may be collected in the absence of any suitable electronic or streaming version;
  7. Licence conditions: Reasonable and acceptable licence conditions regarding user access and use of content must be evident before purchase. Where possible, the Library seeks best practice clauses allowing for the widest distribution and use of scholarly resources;
  8. Accessibility: The Library is committed to providing scholarly resources in formats that enable equitable access for staff and students with a disability wherever possible. For electronic format preference is given to selection of materials which conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.;
  9. Language: English language publications are given priority. Non-English resources may be purchased if specifically required for foreign language studies, research purposes or in exceptional circumstances, and
  10. Single use items: The Library does not purchase single-use items, such as forms for psychological tests, resources that require specialised software and/or special readers or items installed on a single workstation or other device for single/individual one-time use.

(13) The priority of certain criteria may change according to funding, subject matter, and the availability of alternative formats.

Suggestions for new material

(14) University staff and students are encouraged to make suggestions for new purchases or subscriptions via Library staff or the Library website.

(15) Suggested electronic resources, subscriptions, and monograph purchases over $1,000 require justification from the requester and will be referred to the Library's Collection Development Group who may recommend conditions of purchasing.

Selection process

(16) The University will consider the most cost-effective selection process to acquiring and accessing materials. Selection processes in use are:

  1. Purchase: single titles, book approval plans, backfiles;
  2. Subscription: databases, journals, eBooks, streamed media;
  3. Collection package purchases: Book and journal publisher collections which may be by subject discipline, year of publication or pick and choose;
  4. Consortia: The Library is a member of the Council of Australian University Librarians. The Consortium negotiates agreements aligned with strategic initiatives on behalf of member institutions to secure optimal acquisition of digital content, using the best possible pricing models, with the most favourable terms for members, and to deliver significant benefits of cost avoidance;
  5. Demand driven/evidence based acquisition: The Library will make use of models where publishers offer access to a profiled set of titles for discovery and use for an agreed period. Direct user engagement contributes to the selection process for outright purchase;
  6. Resource sharing: The Library will make use of resource sharing arrangements with other institutions to support academic and research activity at the University. This will be subject to format availability and the principles outlined in the Copyright Compliance Policy. In addition, the Library will meet the cost of supplying items through interlibrary loan and document delivery for current staff and students of the University.
  7. Transformative agreements: As a member of the Council of Australian University Libraries, the Library will actively support and participates in negotiated transformative agreements with publishers. These agreements seek to shift the contracted payment to a publisher away from subscription-based reading, towards open access publishing, and tend to require that copyright be retained by the author and not transferred to the publisher. The publisher thereby holds a right to publish, and the author is usually required to apply a Creative Commons license to the published article (mainly CC-BY or CC-BY-NC);
  8. University research outputs and publications deposit: The Library requests University authors to deposit their research outputs and publications with the Library; and
  9. Donations: Acceptance of donations will comply with the Donation Acceptance and Management Policy principles, and the principles outlined in the Library and Art Collection Development Policy. In support of the Library's ‘digital first’ approach, donations of print material are generally not accepted into the General Collection. Rare, unique, or significant donations will be referred to the University Librarian for review. The Library may direct enquiries for other donations to the Friends of the University of Newcastle.
Top of Page

Section 6 - Scope of the Collection

Course Readings

(17) The Library will work with Course Co-ordinators to provide access to high-demand materials for students and to determine the appropriate mix of electronic and physical material. Academic staff initiating new courses or areas of research must consult with Library staff about the course readings required.

(18) Course readings include the following core textbooks, essential resources, and further resources.

Core textbooks 

(19) This is the prescribed textbook for the course and students enrolled in this course should buy this text. However, in support of the University's commitment to Student Equity and Social Justice Strategic Framework, and supporting students from diverse and low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds, the Library will provide access to a limited numbers of textbooks.

(20) The following electronic textbook purchasing formula is subject to pricing limits. If there is an unlimited option at a reasonable price, this should be purchased instead of the other limited user models.

Number of Students Access Conditions
1 – 100 3 user limit (either 1 copy of 3 user licence, or 3 copies of 1 user licence)
100+ Up to 6 user limit (AUD $1,000+ requires approval)

(21) The below print textbook purchasing formula will apply to individual campus collections where the courses are offered. No more than 5 copies of a text should be held on any one site. The formula is:

Number of Students Number of Copies
1-50 1
51-100 2
100+ 3

Essential resources 

(22) Students should read, view, or listen to essential resources in preparation for a lecture, tutorial or specific piece of course work. For readings indicated as essential resources, subject to pricing and availability, the Library ensures concurrent access to online resources, or provides at least one print copy of a prescribed set textbook in the Library's course readings collection, and/or on short term loan in the relevant library.

(23) The essential resources purchasing formula is:

Format Access Conditions
Electronic Books 1 copy of a 3 user title at a maximum per price limit
Print books 1 print copy on short term loan in the relevant library
Other resources refer to resource types below.

Further resources 

(24) Students may choose to read, view, or listen to further resources to expand their understanding of course content. Readings indicated as further resources or with no importance applied will be acquired for Library collections subject to selection criteria and consultation with academic staff.

(25) The Library may amend the number of copies ordered, as and when necessary.


(26) Electronic book format is preferred.

(27) Preference will be given to the purchase and/or subscription of electronic books which have:

  1. user friendly functionality including processes required to access the electronic book and any limitations on searching, printing and downloading;
  2. platform stability and robustness;
  3. purchased (perpetual access), rather than subscribed;
  4. satisfactory Digital Rights Management (DRM) including copyright and licensing conditions;
  5. satisfactory pricing models;
  6. accessibility for users with print disabilities;
  7. suitable quality MARC (machine-readable cataloguing) records;
  8. usage statistics functionality;
  9. access must be available across all sites and remotely, conforming to secure University authentication requirements.

(28) Electronic books will not be purchased where they:

  1. require specialised software and/or special readers; or
  2. are installed on a single workstation or other device for single/individual one-time use.

(29) Print and other formats will be collected in the absence of any suitable electronic version.


(30) Electronic format is preferred.

(31) Cancellation of print titles will be actively pursued when:

  1. print back runs of titles are replaced by electronic format and when ownership of the electronic version can be guaranteed; or
  2. an equivalent digital version is available.

(32) Several criteria must be considered in the subscription to electronic journals, including but not limited to:

  1. completeness of content;
  2. purchased (perpetual access), rather than subscribed;
  3. satisfactory pricing models;
  4. accessibility for users with print disabilities;
  5. usage statistics functionality;
  6. access across all campuses and remotely conforming to secure University authentication requirements; and
  7. licence conditions and terms of use.

(33) The Library will conduct an ongoing review and evaluation of journals, in collaboration with colleges, to ensure value, currency, and relevance.

(34) Requests for new titles/cancellations of existing titles will be systematically considered by the Collection Development Group.

(35) Electronic journals will not be subscribed/purchased where:

  1. an archive for the electronic format is not guaranteed;
  2. the electronic content is variable; or
  3. print is more appropriate for requirements of discipline/subject content.

(36) Print journals will be collected in the absence of any suitable electronic version.

Databases (including aggregated databases)

(37) The Library licenses access to selected publisher databases, and databases of aggregated electronic content such as abstracting and indexing services, full text journals, books and other resources.

(38) Subscription to these services is informed by the regular monitoring of usage statistics by the Library.

(39) The acquisition of archival and primary source databases is often at a significant cost. Therefore, purchase will be considered based on available funds.

Multimedia and other formats

(40) Streaming media is a recurring cost and may incur additional copyright fees. Subscriptions will be considered based on available funds. Subscriptions to streamed content will be reviewed as required in consultation with colleges.

(41) Sound and audio-visual recordings, manuscripts, kits, anatomical models, graphic materials, microform, and realia are not actively purchased but will be considered in line with selection criteria and in terms of any special storage requirements, currency of format and the availability of suitable equipment.


(42) Access to datasets supporting University requirements (such as numerical, statistical and geospatial resources, as well as to standards and patents) is provided upon request. The Library encourages early active engagement from requesters, as access to datasets may incur additional costs, and negotiated access and procurement is time-dependent.

Open Access

(43) The Library aims to provide access to:

  1. Open access eJournals:
    1. The Library supports both Gold and Green open access (OA) publishing models for research. This includes the Library-hosted e-press (Open Journals System) and the University's open access institutional repository, NOVA.
    2. The Library does not pay for article-processing charges for University authors publishing in scholarly journals. However, the Library may consider a membership subscription to a resource or publisher which includes or enables discounts on these charges.
  2. Open access eBooks: The Library is a supporter of open access eBook publishing. The Library will actively encourage University researchers to publish and use eBook content on open access platforms with suitable functionality for teaching and research.
  3. Open Educational Resources: Selection of Open Educational Resources must conform to the principles outlined in the Library and Art Collection Development Policy and this document. The Library will support academic staff in the use and development of University-created Open Educational Resources.
  4. Open access discovery applications: The Library will actively seek to subscribe to cost-effective discovery applications which provide efficient and direct access to openly available scholarly content, as well as open access versions of paywalled content.

University Research Outputs and Publications

(44) The Library aims to comprehensively collect, store and facilitate access to scholarly research outputs by the University's Researchers, and honorary appointees.

(45) In support of the Open Access Policy, the Library manages the University's open access institutional repository, NOVA, to showcase the research outputs of the staff and postgraduate students of the University.

Higher Degree Research Theses

(46) The Rules Governing Higher Degrees By Research requires all research postgraduates to deposit an electronic copy of their thesis into the University's open access institutional repository, NOVA. Library staff actively manage the process of thesis deposit, including any required embargo periods.

(47) Theses from other universities will not be accepted into the Library's collection.

Research Data and Non-Traditional Research Outputs

(48) The open sharing of research data is supported by the Library, while taking into consideration regulatory responsibilities, ethical, legal, cultural, and other guidelines. The Library actively supports Researchers to make research outputs openly accessible through the University's open access institutional repository, NOVA, including meeting the requirements to manage their research data.

(49) In support of the Guidelines for Non-Traditional Research Outputs, the Library will make non-traditional research outputs as open and discoverable as possible and practical.

Research Publications

(50) To comply with the Research Publication Responsibility Guideline and government and funder policies, Researchers must make content openly accessible within a specific timeframe. Where commercial publication restrictions do not allow this, Researchers must deposit the author’s accepted manuscript version (sometimes referred to as the postprint) into the institutional repository, to be made openly accessible after any agreed period of embargo.

(51) Where a research publication is in physical format only, the Library requests the author(s) or research group to deposit one copy of their publication into the Library's Staff Collection.

(52) Items for the Staff Collection will be purchased, prioritising digital format, if a deposited copy is not forthcoming.

Top of Page

Section 7 - Collection Access

(53) Access to the Library's General Collection is governed by the Library, Galleries and Museum Use Policy.

(54) Specific access considerations for the General Collection include:

  1. the Library will manage its physical collection as a single entity, across a range of locations. However, the Library does not support or establish collections within schools or colleges;
  2. where subjects are taught at multiple campuses and/or in distance or external modes, where and as appropriate and available, resources will be purchased in electronic format, to ensure optimal access;
  3. when electronic format is not available or appropriate, the Library will locate printed resources at a suitable site. If a course is taught at multiple locations, prescribed printed texts for that course will be available at each location;
  4. the Library's physical collection is mostly available on the open shelves, and can be accessed at, or requested from, any library location. Valuable or low-use items may be located in storage;
  5. access to electronic resources is available online through authenticated platforms and applications, including the Library website. Access is governed by licensing agreements and generally restricted to current staff and students of the University, but some licence agreements do provide for alumni or “walk-in-use”;
  6. some materials may have restricted access due to embargoes, copyright, other legal restrictions or the nature/value of the items;
  7. all material purchased by Library funds and intended for use by the University community is held in the Library (including affiliate libraries) and not at any other location.

(55) In compliance with the Supporting Students with Disability Policy, the Library will provide services to persons with a disability to ensure equitable access to Library resources, including but not limited to:

  1. for electronic format preference is given to selection of materials which conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG);
  2. for print format, retrieval services are available;
  3. adaptive technologies are available at the University facilitated by AccessAbility.
Top of Page

Section 8 - Collection Management

(56) The Library reviews the collection on an ongoing basis to ensure the resources reflect the University's current and future learning, teaching, and research needs.

Collection review and evaluation

Analysis and review of subscribed content

(57) The Library continuously analyses subscription holdings to identify titles for potential cancellation, which is necessary to allow subscription to newly available content.

(58) The Library will make use of Foreign Exchange Risk Procedure to limit exchange rate fluctuation risk, however the Scholarly Resources Budget is limited by a combination of factors including exchange rate fluctuations, access models, publisher price increases and cost saving measures determined by the University.

(59) Print and electronic subscriptions will be regularly reviewed and evaluated by Library staff in consultation with colleges, schools and Research Centres to ensure relevance, subject balance, currency, and depth, through a range of mechanisms including:

  1. usage statistics in the last three years analysed;
  2. return on investment – cost per use for the last year calculated;
  3. overlap analysis of duplicated content; and
  4. academic staff review – academics will be consulted about potential cancellations.

Analysis and review of purchased content

(60) The Library conducts continuous analysis of purchased content to identify titles for deselection to ensure sustainable and cost-effective storage and access solutions.

Deselection planning

(61) The Library utilises a continuous program of deselection, including relegation of low use, superseded, and back runs of material, and disposal of damaged or ephemeral materials to ensure:

  1. availability of prime space for effective and diverse learning and teaching activities, and for the accommodation of the most relevant and current information resources; and
  2. maintenance of quality, currency, and relevance of collections.

Relegation of material to storage

(62) Material considered for relegation must be of scholarly value. Items considered for relegation will remain available for loan.

(63) Criteria used for identifying material for relegation will vary from discipline to discipline but may be based on the following:

  1. material with low borrowing statistics;
  2. publication date;
  3. purchase date;
  4. last copy of superseded editions;
  5. material available in a suitable online format but with no perpetual archival access;
  6. materials which are not relevant to current teaching or research;
  7. physical condition of the item; and
  8. last national copy of title.

Material to be withdrawn

(64) Items will be considered for withdrawal from the collection where:

  1. the item contains obsolete or misleading information, as determined by subject experts;
  2. material with low borrowing statistics;
  3. the material is in poor physical condition, beyond repair, particularly where there is a risk of contamination of other material;
  4. there are multiple copies of superseded editions; in some cases, one copy of each edition may be retained for historical research purposes;
  5. there are duplicates of items;
  6. they are an incomplete set of works (which cannot be used if they are not complete);
  7. the material is available in alternative formats such as VHS transfer to DVD format;
  8. isolated issues exist or there are incomplete runs of ceased serials with little use;
  9. the item is a printed material where the Library has secure, perpetual access to an electronic archive; and
  10. there are duplicate runs of print serials.

(65) Items considered core to the collection, for example materials of significance to the Hunter region, Central Coast and surrounding areas, Indigenous authors, seminal works and classic texts may be retained.

(66) The last national copy of any title may be retained to meet potential research purposes. Format, subject/discipline requirements and physical condition will also be considered.


(67) The Library will seek approval for the disposal of material in accordance with the University's delegation of authority for asset disposal.

(68) Material withdrawn from the Library’s collection will be disposed of in an environmentally responsible and appropriate manner.

Top of Page

Section 9 - Risk Management and Collection Preservation

(69) The Library will manage risk concerning its General Collections and the related space in accordance with the Risk Management Framework.

(70) The Library will conduct systematic and regular assessments of the risks concerning the following:

  1. safety and preservation of the collections (physical and digital formats); and
  2. health and safety of staff and clients.

(71) To ensure that resources are maintained in good condition for their usable life, the Library will employ a range of strategies including repair, replacement, environmental control, disaster planning, and staff and Library client education.

(72) The Library recognises that digital material is inherently vulnerable and at risk and requires careful management and planning to ensure its preservation. The Library will uphold the following digital preservation principles, in regards to all digital collections items and assets (digitised or born-digital materials) created, acquired or deposited to the Library that have long-term value:

  1. Fixity: the Library will invest in bit-level preservation of its most valuable digital collections and assets and other system needs for digital asset management and preservation, and advocate to include these in ongoing ICT systems planning.
  2. Integrity: the Library will periodically monitor and evaluate digital storage systems and platforms to ensure the integrity and accessibility of digital assets.
  3. Collaboration: the Library will maintain ongoing communication and collaboration with the broader University to advocate for, maintain and develop its ongoing storage requirements to meet the standards of this Policy.
  4. Risk and assurances: the Library will manage risk in accordance with the Risk Management Framework and undertake digital preservation activities to mitigate losses of valuable digital assets.
  5. Supporting Open Preservation: the Library will support external digital preservation activities when resources allow. This includes support for measures to prolong the life of digital journals and ebooks in an open environment.
Top of Page

Section 10 - Roles and Responsibilities

(73) Ultimate responsibility for the collection rests with the University Librarian.

(74) The Collection Development Group (comprising the University Librarian; Associate Director, Collections Discovery & Digital Experience; the Manager, Content and Discovery; Teaching & Research Support Librarians and Library staff) provides overall direction for collection development and management. The Group functions in an advisory capacity within the Library.

(75) Complaints concerning material in the collection should be addressed in writing to the University Librarian for resolution. All complaints will be handled in accordance with the Complaint Management Policy.

(76) Accountability for the disbursement of funds for the purchase of scholarly information resources lies with the University Librarian.

(77) The Manager, Content and Discovery is responsible for continuous monitoring of expenditure from the Scholarly Information Resources Allocation.

(78) Responsibility for deselection planning and monitoring lies with the Manager, Content and Discovery.

(79) Accountability for the collection valuation process lies with the University Librarian.