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Policies: Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Goals

This Collection Policy is intended to provide guidance in the collecting activities for the Douglas D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons in support of the library’s mission and the goals of Wentworth Institute. The collections directly reflect the programs, curriculum, and community information needs at Wentworth Institute. Wentworth is a master’s-granting institution with a primary focus on professional degree programs, according to the Carnegie classification, and this helps to guide the level and extent of collection development activities as is delineated throughout the document. The Schumann Library collections are maintained in various formats, including but not limited to monographs, journal subscriptions, reference resources, technology tools and other resources to support the intellectual and personal growth of members of the Wentworth Institute.

This policy has been developed to help achieve our goal of building and maintaining a strong, relevant, and accessible library collection that supports the Institute’s program of an Externally Collaborative, Project-based, Interdisciplinary Culture (EPIC).  It is designed to ensure that our budget is wisely spent in providing the Wentworth community with easy access to high-quality informational resources, both on- and off-campus. To keep pace with the rapid changes in publishing, curricular needs, and best practices in librarianship, this policy is reviewed on an annual basis, and is implemented on the first day of each fiscal year.

Guiding Principles

Intellectual Freedom:

In order to advance the cause of intellectual freedom in an institution that strives for the highest standards of librarianship, the Douglas D. Schumann Library and Learning Commons proudly asserts its adherence to the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights. The library abides by the Library Bill of Rights statement that “all libraries are forums for information and ideas” and thus promotes and advocates for Intellectual Freedom for all members of the Wentworth community.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement:

The Library endeavors to maintain a diverse collection that supports varied viewpoints, different perspectives, and allows for all members of the Wentworth community to feel included and represented in the materials provided through the Library. To this end, the Library takes direction from the Wentworth Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The Library also draws upon the ACRL Diversity Standards cultural competency as a guide in collection development.

Open Access:

The library supports and promotes Open Access (OA) resources and publishing, as well as Open Data and Open Educational Resources and whenever possible will incorporate and advocate Open resources to support the academic programs and curriculum at Wentworth Institute. Librarians will monitor developments around Open Access to share with and support faculty and students at Wentworth Institute, paying special attention to organizations such as SPARC.

Fenway Libraries Online (FLO):

Our membership in the Fenway Libraries Online consortium grants our faculty and students access to more than one million books, which may be obtained through interlibrary loan, or by borrowing directly from the member library. Librarians are encouraged to consider the easy availability of FLO resources when selecting materials for acquisition.

Collection Development Guidelines

Our Acquisition Priorities:

The library collects materials in various forms to support the Institute’s curriculum; to aid in student and faculty research; and to provide recreational opportunities for reading, viewing, and listening. We collect with both current needs and the expected needs of the future in mind.  Emphasis is placed upon the acquisition of core materials that support WIT academic disciplines and programs. These materials include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Core resources considered essential to the curriculum, as well as new, revised or previously published editions of significant materials.  
  2. Representative publications, reference resources, and databases considered essential for the curriculum or for faculty research.
  3. Supplementary texts or materials that are deemed significant contributions for student and faculty study and research.

Collection Specialists

MLS and MLIS degree-holding librarians will be assigned to serve the various research disciplines as collection specialists.  Each librarian will acquire pedagogical materials in particular collection areas, based on curricular need and subject expertise. The librarians will also work as a team to provide support and consultation to one another in collection development. Librarians will work within a specific budget amount for a particular discipline, and will be expected to spend down their accounts by the end of the fiscal year.

These specialists will also consult with faculty members and students; find faculty CVs to identify key areas of interest and review syllabi to build collections aligned with both the curriculum and faculty research take note of new developments in publishing and publishing technologies; to keep abreast of the latest advances in their respective collection areas; and to be aware of the evolving needs of the community that they serve. They will also provide the deans and department chairs with a yearly update on the portfolio of library resources for their subject area, along with an overview of usage statistics, and the details of any resources in danger of de-selection.

Collection Planning:

The library consults the Collection Depth Indicators when considering materials for selection and acquisition (from the IFLA Conspectus Guidelines for a Collection Development Policy). Most materials selected will be in the range of Basic Information Level (2) and Study/Instruction Support Level (3), based on the library’s Carnegie Classification and the programs of study at Wentworth Institute.

2 = Basic Information Level:

Collections that serve to introduce and define a subject, to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere, and to support the needs of general library users through the first two years of college instruction include:      

  • A limited collection of monographs and reference works.
  • A limited collection of representative general periodicals.        
  • Defined access to a limited collection of owned or remotely-accessed electronic bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc. The collection should be frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information should be withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained.
3 = Study or Instructional Support Level:                                                            

Collections that provide information about a subject in a systematic way, but at a level of less than research intensity, and support the needs of general library users through college and beginning graduate instruction include:              

  • An extensive collection of general monographs and reference works and selected specialized monographs and reference works. 
  • An extensive collection of general periodicals and a representative collection of specialized periodicals.          
  • Limited collections of appropriate foreign language materials, e.g. foreign language learning materials for non-native speakers or foreign language materials about a topic such as German history in German.
  • Extensive collections of the works of well-known authors and selections from the works of lesser-known authors. Defined access to an extensive collection of owned or remotely-accessed electronic resources, including bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc. The collection should be systematically reviewed for currency of information and for assurance that essential and important information is retained, including significant numbers of classic retrospective materials.

The Types of Materials Collected:

Material Selection Criteria:

The following criteria shall be considered when selecting and acquiring print and electronic resources:

  • Accuracy, authority, currency of information
  • Relevance to the collection and to the scope of the collection
  • Relevance to curricular and community needs
  • Accessibility and usability
  • Cost

Statement on Electronic Publishing:

Electronic publishing has become the standard method of scholarly communication in the sciences, the applied sciences, and in reference resources for several reasons.  Digital publication allows the latest research to be made available without the lengthy mechanical and editorial processes inherent in traditional print publication.  It permits multiple users to access and search entire collections of books and journals at any hour of the day or night with an internet connection. Also, because online resources eliminate the need to handle, store, and maintain physical objects, they permit valuable library space to be put to active use.

The preference for electronic formats will not, however, entirely preclude the purchase of necessary print materials when needed titles are either unavailable or overly expensive in e-formats, or when library patrons express a strong preference for printed materials.

Language Code:

Resources will generally be purchased in English to support the existing curriculum at the Institute. Foreign language resources may be purchased as requested or as to support the academic programs and curriculum.

  • E: English language material predominates; little or no foreign language material is in the collection.

Books (print and electronic):

  • Due to physical space limitations and the expanded access of the electronic, networked medium, E-books are prioritized, with patron-driven acquisition (PDA) programs, and unlimited users, when possible. Single-user e-book licenses will not be purchased unless essential to collection needs and required by publisher restrictions. E-book databases that provide downloadable MARC records are strongly preferred.
  • Print books will be maintained when necessary, when relevant or preferred, or when the cost difference between e-books and print is prohibitive.
  • Selected books and e-books will be written in English. Foreign language books may be selected as needed.
  • Multiple copies of print titles that receive heavy use may be ordered as needed to satisfy patron demand.
  • Paperback copies shall be preferred to hardcover when available. Hardcover copies will be purchased when the book is likely to be heavily used, or when the difference in price is negligible.
  • Whenever possible, print books will be added to the circulating collection. Non-circulating materials will be limited to those in heavy use on a regular basis, necessary for reference questions, or difficult to replace if lost or stolen.
  • Popular reading, current issues, and other general knowledge-related resources will be collected at the discretion of the librarians, working in coordination with one another.  

Electronic Journals:

E-journal databases subscriptions are preferred to print journal subscriptions. These will be purchased as needed to support the curricula of the various departments, and will be added to existing platforms. Online journal databases will support multiple users; be searchable; permit proxy servers; permit IP authentication; provide full-text articles in PDF format whenever possible; and contain search and citation tools (RefWorks option preferred).  Publishers that enforce highly restrictive digital rights management (DRM) policies that interfere with the accessibility, fair use, and transfer of information will be avoided whenever possible.

Citation and citation-abstract databases will be purchased only if necessary for curriculum needs.  Single-user online databases will not be purchased because they offer poor accessibility.  Optical disc databases will not be selected due to their fragility and obsolescence.

Although every effort will be made to minimize coverage overlap, some journals may be found in multiple databases.

Citation and Bibliographical Software:

The Library maintains a subscription to RefWorks and supports use of Zotero and other citation management tools.  Accordingly, RefWorks and other citation export capabilities will be considered when evaluating databases.

Open-Access Resources:

Open-access resources may be added to our collections by cataloging in the OPAC; by inclusion in the online database list; and/or in online course and subject guides.  The library promotes and support Open Access resources whenever possible.

Language-Learning Resources:

Because foreign languages are not taught at Wentworth, foreign language learning resources are collected on an as-needed basis.   English-as-a-second-language (ESL) resources may be collected in both print and multiple-user, electronic form to support curricular needs.

Images, Slides, Paintings, and Photographs:

Multiple-user, online image databases are preferred.  The Library does not collect slides, paintings, or photographs, but does collect books of art images and photographs that are relevant to the curriculum.

Print Serials:

Printed serial publications will be collected only when necessary to fulfill the curricular needs of the Institute.  In subject areas such as Architecture and Design, print journals are preferred due to the need for high-resolution photographs and plans, and because of the general unavailability of quality e-journals in these disciplines.  Core subject journals shall be library bound in buckram covers to ensure their good condition.  Whenever possible, back issues will be purchased or solicited to replace missing copies, or to fill gaps in coverage. Selected print journals will be written in English. Foreign language journals may be chosen only if accompanied by an English translation.

A small number of popular magazines is maintained and selected by library staff in relation to patron requests and interests.  All print journals are for in-library use only, and are not permitted to circulate.


The library subscribes to several online news databases that provide access to contemporary news articles from thousands of newspapers. Patrons may acquire online access to historical newspaper databases by registering for a Boston Public Library e-Card.  The Library also receives daily print issues of The Boston Globe; The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; and The Financial Times.  These are kept for one month; but the texts of the news articles may also be found in the newspaper databases, which are updated daily.

Audio Resources:

Because Music courses are not taught at Wentworth, and because audio files are widely available on the Internet, the Library will collect music CDs and books on music only to support curricular needs. Music resources may be borrowed from our FLC partners -- the New England Conservatory of Music and Emerson College -- or obtained through interlibrary loan.

Film Resources:

Multiple-user, online streaming film resources are strongly preferred to DVDs.  However, films that support the curriculum, or that provide opportunities for recreational viewing, may be purchased in standard, Region 1 or PAL, DVD format.  These shall be placed in the DVD circulating collection unless very costly, rare, or reserved for course use.


The library will acquire and maintain a collection of computer, electronic, and mechanical technology for experimental use in the Library’s Tech Sandbox. These may include, but not be restricted to hand tools, software, 3D printers, circuit boards, Raspberry pi kits, wiring, servo motors, robotics kits, and other such devices and materials.

Hardware and peripherals will be collected based on curricular need and faculty/student interest. Whenever possible, these materials will be available for loan to patrons. Software essential to the Institute’s curricular requirements may be downloaded from the Department of Technical Services (DTS) website.

Archival Materials:

The Library collects materials on the history, administration, curricula, social life, and physical growth of the Institute.  Access to the Archive is restricted, but requests for information may be submitted to the Reference Department.

Gifts to the Library:

Gifts of books, journals, or media will be considered only if such gifts fill a collection or archival need; are in very good condition; are not obsolete; and do not pose a health risk.  The assigned area collection specialist will make such determinations. Materials donated to the library become the property of the Institute, and the library will make determinations about accessioning. The Library does not make monetary estimates of gifts received.

Deselection Criteria

The staff of the Schumann Library and Learning Commons make every effort to build and maintain a Library collection that is fresh, authoritative, attractive, and useful to the students, faculty, and staff of the Wentworth community.  To achieve this end, it is necessary to weed out those items that no longer contribute to this goal.  To ensure that de-selection of each item is carried out with the greatest care, the following questions shall be considered:

  • What was the date of last circulation?
  • How many times did it circulate?
  • How many copies are in the collection?
  • What is its physical condition?
  • Is it available in an updated, more comprehensive, or more accessible form?
  • Is it relevant to curricular and community needs?
  • Is its format obsolete? (VHS; microfilm; CD-ROM)
  • Is it easily borrowed from another library through interlibrary loan?
  • Is it the last copy listed in WorldCat (

The deselection criteria listed above will be employed in the following ways:

Print books will be reviewed on an annual basis using circulation statistics, or as newer editions of existing books are purchased.  Items will be deselected based on low circulation, duplication, poor condition (if warranted, a replacement will be ordered or the book repaired), revised editions, or obsolescence.

Print journal subscriptions will be reviewed by the Head Librarian for Reference and Instruction in conjunction with the Head Librarian for Access & Organization, the Collection Development Coordinator and the area collection specialists, using browsing statistics, a review of online journal options, and the journal’s relevance to  academic programs. Print subscriptions will be discontinued when duplicated in a full-text database; for lack of use; and when no longer needed due to curricular changes.                                                                          

Printed reference and standard handbooks will be deleted when superseded by online, digital editions unless the older editions contain unique information useful to its discipline.

E-books that are unused, obsolete, or that have been superseded by newer editions, will be deleted in an effort to keep the online public-access catalog current, relevant, and usable.

Resources that have a high cost-per-use will be reviewed annually. A one-year grace period will be allowed for resources in danger of deselection, and department chairs will be alerted to the need for more usage of the resource if the library is to continue subscribing.

Standing orders will be reviewed annually to ensure their continued need and relevance.

Online databases, electronic journal subscriptions, and e-book packages will be reviewed annually. Cost-per-use analysis, review of collection overlap with other platforms, price increases, and relevance to the academic programs and curriculum will be considered.  

Disposal of Deselected Materials:

Deselected resources will be removed from the catalog by the cataloger. They will then be boxed and donated to AfriHope International Inc. or to Better World Books, both charitable organizations with 501 (c) 3 status, to aid in their mission of providing medical supplies, equipment, medicines, and of promoting technology in developing nations. 

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