Collection Development Strategy


The Collection Development Strategy sets out the direction and principles underpinning collection development activities at UNSW Library ensuring the stewardship of the collections to support the overall aims of both the University and the Library.


The University of New South Wales Library identifies, collects and provides access to a broad range of scholarly resources on behalf of the whole UNSW community with the aim of facilitating innovative research, transformative education and a commitment to a just society. The Library is unable to collect comprehensively and in circumstances resources to support specific research projects or teaching materials on restricted commercial platforms may need to be acquired independently.


This strategy document covers identification, selection, evaluation and acquisition processes related to collection development and applies to any scholarly resource intended for use by the UNSW community. Collection maintenance is out of scope of this strategy. UNSWorks is out of scope of this strategy.


The Library will deliver on the purpose of this strategy in line with the University's values in action:

Demonstrates Excellence - the Library is fiscally responsible and conducts effective negotiations to procure resources in support of this strategy and that achieve excellent value for money in the short and longer term.

Builds Collaboration - the Library seeks to work in partnership with sector peers, the Council of Australian University Librarians Consortia (ACUL), external relevant community groups and the University stakeholders. Additionally, the Library works closely with commercial publishers, open access publishers, publishing agents and vendors with the aim of having mutually beneficial relationships that support the purpose of this strategy whilst understanding the limits of the commercial aspects of these associations.

Drives Innovation - the Library, guided by its principles, will lead in transforming scholarly publishing and scholarly communication. The Library will continue to work with commercial publishers and open access publishers to transition to open access models for research publications and monographs. The Library will work with Faculties to deliver leading practice in library collections that support teaching and learning to maximise access.

Embraces Diversity - the Library embraces the diverse needs of our communities and recognises this difference constitutes a strength in what it acquires and collects. This strategy aims to recognise local indigenous voices and the value they bring to the Library's collections.

Displays Respect - the Library is socially and environmentally responsible, taking into consideration UNSW policies that support basic human rights and sustainability, and in alignment with ALIA's endorsement of the IFLA code of ethics where it intersects with collection development.

Procedures & Definitions

Acquisition Recommendations

Recommendations for acquisition may be made by members of the UNSW Community as per the guidelines for UNSW Sydney resource recommendation or the UNSW Canberra suggest a purchase. Recommendation does not automatically equate to acquisition and specialist librarians will review recommendations for alternative resources already held.

Approval to renew subscription resources requires a written recommendation from the Collection Development Unit and written approval from the University Librarian or Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Quality.

Approval to acquire resources can only be made through the:

  • pre-approved profile plans including Demand Driven Acquisition
  • request for resources to the High Use Collection and/or required for course resources
  • resource recommendations (where the request is in line with the Collection Development Strategy)
  • Collection Development Unit for any other items.

Selection Guidelines


Electronic/online is the default format for acquisition. Physical resources will only be acquired with an accompanying valid business case or when the electronic version has restrictive conditions. Formats in risk of obsolescence will not be acquired.


UNSW Library does not acquire duplicate copies of material in the same format. Where duplication is requested, it must be related to Course Resources.

Course Resources

UNSW Library acquires or provides access to required course resources and supplementary materials in accord with TEQSA guidance. The Library does not acquire course material for a restricted number of users and will favour the acquisition of scholarly monographs that are Digital Rights Management (DRM) free in order to provide improved equity of access for students.

The Library reviews and applies copyright for all course materials on a library managed course resource system and works with course coordinators to provide access to course resources that meet copyright requirements.


Acquisition of excessively priced resources will require a justification by the requestor. Alternative funding sources may be required. The definition of excessively priced is related to the scholarly publishing market and can include the average cost of resources in the subject area, prohibitive access conditions accompanying the price, and in the case of subscribed resource consideration is given to the trend of expected incremental price increases.

The above criteria are not comprehensive.

Licence terms

Materials will not be acquired where licence terms cannot be adhered to by UNSW Library or where acceptable licence terms cannot be negotiated. For example, the Library will not acquire resources that have licence agreements specifically restricting interlibrary loans, cannot be included in Course Resource systems, or provides access that is different to or more restrictive than the students' experience.


The Library does not encourage or accept unsolicited gifts of material (2 exceptions are noted below). Unsolicited material may be disposed of at the Library's discretion without reference to the donor.

The exceptions to the above are:

  • donations by UNSW Press of new titles
  • donations by UNSW authors of their newly published work.

In both of these cases, donations are welcomed and encouraged. Electronic versions can be deposited in UNSWorks in line with copyright requirements.

Exceptional donations including donations of unencumbered funds must be approved by the University Librarian and will be maintained or discarded in accordance with Library requirements without reference to the donor or their descendants.

UNSW corporate publications

UNSW Library is not the University archive and therefore does not collect UNSW corporate publications.


Collection materials may be digitised by the Library subject to copyright. Titles considered for future digitisation but not yet acquired must first be approved for acquisition by the Scholarly Resources Committee.

Interlibrary loan services

Access to items not held in UNSW's collections may be supplied through interlibrary loan services subject to client eligibility and availability.


Collection maintenance: Ongoing conservation, preservation and deselection of collected materials.

Scholarly resources: Resources in any format that contain content directly and may include records that describe and point to resources (that contain content) relevant to the UNSW community. Resources or tools that manipulate content, including bibliographic content, are not collected. Resources collected reflect the broad and comprehensive range of courses and research activities at UNSW and collecting will be targeted at advanced academic-level resources.

Teaching, learning, and research functions: Functions related to research and educational pursuits and excludes commercial and administrative functions including staff training resources.

UNSW community: Anyone with a valid and current zID.

UNSWorks: The online institutional repository of UNSW research output and HDR output.


July 2023