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Collection Development Policy

Revised April 24, 2020


Collection Development means the selection, purchase, and processing of resources, both electronic and print, for the Texas Medical Center (TMC) Library’s collections.

Division of Duties

Basic collection development decisions are initially discussed and recommended by the Library’s Collection Development Committee (CD-C). The committee is chaired by the Head of Resource Management. Members of the Team include the Executive Director, department heads from Research and Instruction, the McGovern Research Center and Circulation/ILL. The Team also includes two liaison librarians and other library staff.

A Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet March and August to provide budget review and feedback to the CD-C.  This committee is chaired by the Head of Resource Management and is comprised of faculty leaders from each of the Library’s governing institutions, along with selected librarians from the TMC Library.

The Head of Resource Management schedules CD-C meetings and prepares the agendas. Meetings are generally scheduled, as needed, the 2nd Tuesday of each month. The Team discusses all resources, whether current or potential, to make recommendations for retention or purchase.

It is the responsibility of the Head of Resource Management, the Executive Director, and the Chief Financial Officer to ensure that total collections expense and capitalized collections do not exceed the Board approved budget without additional revenues to offset any increase in expenditures.

The Head of Resource Management provides Team members with up-to-date lists of the Library’s resources (electronic journals and databases), as well as usage statistics, pricing, license, renewal and cancellation information as needed, as well as information about potential new resources for the Team’s consideration.

Vendor demos are arranged for new resources of strong interest. A vendor demo does not guarantee acquisition of the resource.

Bookshelves inside the library

Faculty and Student Input

The Research and Instruction Department and Head of Resource Management solicit feedback from faculty and students at the TMC academic institutions regarding potential new acquisitions.  This feedback is acquired via email, webforms, classes, and invitations to vendor demos.

Decision Process

Faculty and student requests for new resources are vetted and approved by the CD-C, per availability of budget funds, and adherence to Collection Guidelines.  The Library maintains a list of requested resources via their New Resource Request form.

The Resource Advisory Committee provides recommendations on purchasing and cancellation decisions, twice a year to the CD-C.

The CD-C typically makes purchasing and cancellation decisions in March and August.  Patrons are notified by email if their resource requests are approved for acquisition.

New Resource Request/Collection Development Guidelines

  • Selection Criteria
    • Need: Relevance of online materials to the needs of the Texas Medical Center’s (TMC) educational, research, and clinical programs is of primary importance. Turnaway statistics will be considered as a metric to assess need.
    • Accessibility – links to electronic resources must be readily discoverable, and platforms must support authentication via Open Athens. Exceptions may be made for society publishers whose platforms cannot support federated authentication.
    • Cost – must meet the parameters of each fiscal year Collections Budget. Considered along with all other selection criteria.
    • Quality — Determined by criteria such as the reputations of the author, editors, and publisher, and the degree of scholarship.
    • Interlibrary Loan — The Library will consider ILL needs and copyright costs when selecting resources.
    • Depth of existing collection – All attempts are made to provide content for all academic programs supported by the Library, niche disciplines included.
    • Scope & content — Emphasis on research, education and clinical-level materials in medicine, the health sciences and related subject areas. Out of scope content will not be considered for purchase.
    • Language — Materials acquired are in the English language.
    • Currency — Preference is given to items which report new and revised information, to maintain an up-to-date collection.
    • Redundancy —All attempts are made to ensure that no electronic resource duplicates the coverage in another resource.
  • Consortia Agreements
    • The Library participates in four consortia for purchase of electronic resources:
      • University of Texas System Digital Library (UTSDL) – Currently the Library purchases the majority of its electronic resources (journals and databases) via an agreement with the UTSDL. Through the purchasing power of the UT System, the Library gains extremely high cost avoidance. The licenses negotiated by UTSDL include caps on annual price increases. The Library’s users also gain access to a wider range of resources because of this agreement. Partners in this consortium may gain access to the resources subscribed to by each member, depending on the vendor license.
      • SCAMeL (South Central Academic Medical Libraries) – This consortium which includes 14 academic medical libraries in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, operates in similar fashion to the UTDL. As a SCAMeL member, the Library can often purchase resources at a lower price, to extend its buying power.
      • Texas Health Sciences Libraries Consortium (THSLC) Public Services and Technical Services Committees – These teams are comprised of members from the five libraries of the THSLC. Individual members are appointed by each library’s director. The Directors of the THSLC appoint the chairs each year, and the teams meet monthly to discuss any issues surrounding resources and access. The team may schedule vendor demonstrations of new or updated products. The Library may participate in joint resource purchases with other members of the THSLC, where deemed appropriate (Ovid, ProQuest). Cost is currently shared according to the FTE count of each library’s constituency. The TMC Library’s allocation is usually 64%/year.
      • TexShare – This program comes through the Texas State Library. Via participation in TexShare the Library gains access to a suite of databases at a reduced cost.
  • Collections Selection Overview
  • Standing Orders:

    These are print titles that are published on a regular and continuing basis, whether monthly, yearly, biennially, or on some other schedule.

    The Library continues to acquire a minimal amount of print materials through its Standing Orders.  Currently there are 22 titles on Standing Order.  Some SO print titles are necessary for basic reference assistance. Other titles are part of a series, generally research-level monographs that have proven useful to Library users.

    The library continues to move its print standing orders to online only-based resources when available.

    Certain titles are automatic purchases (e.g., new editions of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine) because of their known value to library users and their reputation in their respective subject areas.

    Firm Orders:

    When funds are available for in-scope print books or ebooks, the Resource Management department places “firm” orders for these titles.  Electronic or print orders will continue to be honored when applicable.

    Electronic Journals, EBooks, Databases:

    When funds are available for online journals, ebooks, or databases, the CD Committee will make appropriate purchasing decisions based on the Selection Criteria noted above. Ebook purchases must be placed with an established ebook vendor platform already supported by the Library.

  • Donations:
  • The Library will accept newly published materials by TMC authors. Donations of pre-1950 books will be forwarded to the TMC Library’s archivists for review, and if appropriate, kept for special collections. The Library does not accept journal donations.  The Library reserves the right to discard any materials it cannot use.  The Library does not assign value to donated materials.


    Approved, June 1, 2020
    Joanne V. Romano, Head of Resource Management—               Date

    Approved, June 1, 2020
    Debbie Sibley, Executive Director—                                Date


    Distribution:  CD Committee

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