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Collection Development Principles and Procedures

The Library provides resources as outlined below to support the teaching, learning and research needs of the faculty, staff and students at Ontario Tech University and Durham College (DC). As feasible, the individual research initiatives and projects of faculty are also supported. 

The focus of this document is collection development for the University. A separate document addressing College collection development can be found on the Durham College Library web site


Collection development is responsive to the courses offered at both institutions. As funding and librarian support permits for Ontario Tech, the Library may also purchase online subscriptions that overview academic research performance within university communities. While a minimum amount of leisure reading material is included in the collection, the primary focus is academic resources. Depending on the subject and program level, collection development is done at varying degrees. The Library’s collection, therefore, reflects the range from certificate level courses offered by the College to Ph.D. courses offered by the University. A detailed overview of collecting levels is provided by the Library of Congress (RLG (Research Libraries Group) Conspectus).

Collection development is generally confined to English language materials; French may be provided in the verso of government documents and there are French materials in the Lois Sleightholm Teacher Resource Collection as part of the Ontario Tech Education Library.

Since neither the College nor the University offers international humanities courses, Canadian resources are primarily the focus for social, political and cultural information. Materials obtained from the United States, Europe etc. are usually scientific /factual in nature.

Materials added to the collection are generally current (e.g. published within the past five years), unless historical perspectives, classic texts, or older core works are required to provide users with necessary information about the topic. Back-issues of periodicals (magazines, journals, newspapers), especially in electronic format, are acquired as feasible and appropriate to support the research initiatives of the college and university. Subject to collection criteria, older paper periodicals are acquired through donations.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected

The following are collected in print and/or electronic format as available:

  • Books – monographs and encyclopedic sets
  • CD-Roms  only when included with monograph
  • Indexing and abstracting services
  • Periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • Government Documents (Ontario and Canada)
  • Statutes, Regulations and Case Law (Ontario and Canada)
  • Statistics/Data Sets
  • Technical Reports
  • Transactions and Conference Proceedings
  • Standards
  • Theses (Ontario Tech postgraduate level)
  • Media
  • Specialized online Library Research tools (e.g. SciFinder Scholar, Journal Citation Reports)

Electronic access is often preferred as a larger audience can usually be reached outside the boundaries of the physical library on a 24/7 basis and shelf space is not required. Electronic products can also generally be manipulated to accommodate those who are visually impaired. 

Wherever possible the Library collects material available in accessible formats and investigates patron requests to make existing library materials accessible. If arrangements cannot be made (e.g. vendor does not allow for reformatting) then alternative products are offered. As much as possible, new media purchases are confined to titles that include closed captioning and/or descriptive video.  

The Library maintains a number of Special Collections many of which are located separately within the third floor Special Collections Room and others such as the Archives that are located on the Library’s lower level and the Teacher Resource collection located within the Ontario Tech Education Library. These are materials that are best presented as a set, are difficult to integrate into the regular collection under the Library of Congress (LC) cataloguing rules, and are directed to a specific audience. While many or all of the resources listed above may be found in these Special Collections, other types of materials are unique to a particular Special Collection.  For example, the Archives is a historical collection of college and university-related material including memorabilia, articles and photographs, and engineering society papers; the TRC includes Trillium list (elementary and secondary school) textbooks, curriculum documents and kits.

The Library has responded to the evolution of Ontario Tech as it has grown from offering only undergraduate courses to including Masters and Ph.D. programs in its portfolio too. There are additional subscriptions that provide research metric analysis, and the Library’s institutional repository E-Scholar is being enhanced. As well as hosting electronic copies of graduate theses, E-Scholar can house Ontario Tech research papers in accordance with Open Access Green policies (Tri-Council) and can be used for research data management projects.

Due to fiscal and shelving constraints, the Library DOES NOT:

  1. Purchase or accept through donation more than two copies of a book. Heavy demand materials may be placed on short-term loan or reserve.
  1. Maintain a collection of ALL textbooks for ALL courses for either Durham College or Ontario Tech. A faculty member who wants his/her course text available in the Library must make advance arrangements. For example, an order request should be made in June for a textbook that a professor wants students to consult at the beginning of the term in September. Another option is for the professor or the Department to place a personal copy on Reserve. The Library WILL NOT go to the Bookstore and buy a text for a given course.
  1. Purchase or accept through donation workbooks, study guides, laboratory manuals or question and answer books that accompany texts or are meant to improve one’s proficiency in a particular topic. Comprehensive test preparation guides are only included in the Collection for those examinations that directly affect program admission (e.g. GMAT, LSAT) and professional accreditation (e.g. NCLEX). 
  1. Purchase instructional or training/lab software. Professors are directed to their Faculty/School and its supporting labs. Media purchases are restricted to videos (DVDs, streaming) that are informational rather than interactive.
  1. Purchase individual memberships for faculty professional development or research. While every effort is made to acquire relevant database and electronic or print periodical subscriptions, some organizations are simply not set up to deal with large non-profit entities supporting large populations such as schools and libraries; academic institutional subscriptions are not available. 
  1.  Purchase resources that are unique to a research endeavour. For example, the Library subscribes to data resources that address the requirements of numerous patrons; data sets specifically needed for a project are not purchased.

Material Selection

The Library as a shared service facility is unique in that subject collections are expansive and extensive in order to accommodate the academic range spanning from the College environment to the Post-graduate level. Subject librarians are responsible for selecting materials (books, media, periodical titles, web sites) according to their assigned programs. Amongst their criteria for recommending a purchase are:

  • development of the existing collection
  • suitability of the subject, style, and language to the intended programs and audience
  • stature/significance of the author and/or publisher
  • quality, factual accuracy, bias, integrity, stimulating presentation, imagination, and creativity
  • instructional, intellectual, aesthetic, literary and social merit
  • cost, readability, organization of content, and physical and technical quality
  • anticipated demand and availability elsewhere (see Inter-Library Loan section below)
  • Canadian content
  • statistics (usage statistics of materials in each subject classification)
  • reviews from library collection development tools

In terms of controversial and/or ethical issues, efforts are made to maintain a balanced collection by selecting factual material that supports different viewpoints.

Advice and opinions are sought and accepted by experts in the field (e.g. faculty, other subject-specialist librarians, book reviews). While each School and Faculty are invited to select a faculty representative to liaise with the appropriate Subject Librarian regarding discipline-specific information needs, individuals may also submit their suggestions in writing to their librarian via e-mail or form. All recommendations receive final approval from the Associate Librarian – Collections.

The Associate Librarian-Collections is the contact for electronic resources and is the institutional representative on the OCLS (Ontario College Library Services) Ontario college consortium, and for the university consortia, namely OCUL-IR (Ontario Council of University Libraries – Information Resources) and CRKN (Canadian Research Knowledge Network). As such, in consultation with the Subject Librarians, this individual is primarily responsible for electronic database selections both reflecting subject-specific and multi-disciplinary packages of online journals, transactions, conference proceedings, data sets, etc. She is also responsible for the purchase of research support tools. Where curriculum needs dictate and consortia arrangements cannot be made, the Associate Librarian- Collections negotiates with vendors directly to acquire licensing and access to electronic products specifically for Durham College and/or for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.


The Library welcomes donations of materials meeting the selection criteria guidelines listed above, and retains the right to use donated materials as deemed appropriate. This includes weeding and selling donated materials when no longer of use to patrons.  All donations are subject to the guidelines noted in the Library Gifts and Donations Principles and Procedures.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Reciprocal Borrowing

As a means of immediately expanding access to collections and inviting users to look beyond Durham College/Ontario Tech holdings, the Library currently offers Interlibrary Loan free to all Ontario Tech staff, students and faculty.   

Similarly, the Library supports Reciprocal Borrowing or the practice of going to another academic library and borrowing materials directly with one’s student or staff card.

Maintenance and De-Selection (including challenges to Materials)

Where practical and feasible, bindings on books in the collection are reinforced before they are circulated. Damaged materials are repaired, withdrawn and/or replaced (where appropriate). 

The collection is weeded throughout the year. Items may be weeded to relieve crowded shelves and make room for new acquisitions, to discard outdated, superseded, and no longer useful materials, to enhance user satisfaction, to prevent the dissemination of out-of-date and/or inaccurate information, and/or to ensure the continued use of the collection.

The criteria used for weeding an item from the collection include:

  • accuracy of the information
  • presentation
  • organization of content
  • the relevance of the item to the subject
  • the relevance of the item to the courses being taught
  • historical relevance
  • age of the work
  • citation in bibliographies/current curriculums
  • frequency of use
  • availability of similar titles/newer titles/in other formats/elsewhere
  • physical condition

Instructors, students, or others in the school community may recommend materials for de-selection. If the Subject Librarian, in consultation with the Associate Librarian, Collections agrees that the item(s) no longer supports Collection Development principles, then the item will be removed.


Subject areas within the collection are reviewed on an ongoing basis to assess value in terms of

  • academic quality including both breadth and currency
  • changes in course content
  • ease of accessibility (especially for electronic products)
  • usage by faculty, staff and students
  • ongoing budget commitments (e.g. online and loose-leaf subscriptions)
  • staff maintenance

 The objective is to remain responsive to Durham College and Ontario Tech teaching, learning and research need in accordance with program offerings and the stipulations outlined above.

November 23, 2015 

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