Collection Development Policy

The mission of the UWM Libraries is to advance the campus mission of teaching, learning, research and service by providing scholarly resources and services. We facilitate the discovery and exchange of ideas, and the creation, preservation, and sharing of knowledge. The Libraries help develop information-competent users and connect our community of users with information and knowledge to succeed in a diverse society.

These policies guide the UWM Libraries in the selection of resources and provide a systematic basis for evaluating collections and access.

The general policies below cover the collections as a whole. See also:

Other library collection policies contains the policies of specialized collections in the UWM Libraries:

General Collection Development Policy

Collection Levels

  • Basic – Resources required for an undergraduate program or for general academic readers
  • Advanced – Resources required to support a master’s level program
    Research – Resources required to support doctoral and more advanced research
  • Comprehensive – Collections which strive to acquire all significant and relevant resources in all formats

Disciplines and Sub-Disciplines
Acquisitions reflect the research and teaching interests, strengths, and specializations of UWM’s academic departments. This requires continuous adjustment in collection procedures, as research and teaching patterns change. For a detailed description of academic programs, see UWM Academics.

Selection Considerations
Resources are acquired based on their authoritativeness, currency, comprehensiveness, ease of use, and relevancy.

Language Considerations
Most of the resources collected are in English, but works in other languages are collected as appropriate.

Format Considerations
Collection of and access to information may depend on the best available format. This may vary by the type of information, the format compatibility with existing infrastructure, and the discipline.

Duplication of Resources
Generally the Libraries acquire only single copies of works. Exceptions to this practice may apply to:

  • Works of UWM faculty and staff
  • Works requiring an additional non-circulating copy
  • Works frequently on reserve
  • Resources in high demand

Retrospective Collecting
Old materials may be collected upon request.

The Libraries attempt to replace materials of continuing value that are missing due to loss, theft, or damage.

The Libraries do not routinely purchase textbooks. Instructors may provide access to textbooks via course reserves.

Dissertations and Theses
Copies of UWM dissertations, Master’s theses, and Senior Honors theses are collected.

Monetary gifts to the UWM Libraries are always welcome. Gifts of materials are also accepted.

Access materials the Libraries do not own
The Libraries cooperate with other libraries and consortia to gain access to information resources.

Intellectual Freedom
UWM Libraries’ collection policy is in accord with the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights.

The Libraries comply with existing copyright law and promote copyright compliance among users and staff.

Resource Decision Making

Selection Process
The selection process is guided by the needs of academic programs and research interests. Resources are acquired based on a combination of recommendations from the UWM community and approval plans, which are arrangements with major distributors to provide publications selected according to predetermined specifications.

The Libraries will remove worn or dated materials from the collections. Additional factors for consideration include: current availability, format of item, usage, historical value, availability via interlibrary loan, physical condition, and space.

Budgetary Considerations
Fiscal realities may require reducing the amount of resources purchased. Factors for consideration include: academic need, price, accreditation requirements, usage, and format.