In a speech given at Harvard on June 8, 1978, Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities.”1 With this in mind, this policy is here set forth as a guide for selection of materials for the R. A. Williams Library. In general the following criteria will guide the staff in the selection of materials. The ideal situation is to have all relevant resources which have been published or produced in each area of the curriculum. Because this ideal is impossible to fully realize due to limited space and budget, a good selection policy must be implemented to ensure that there is adequate support of the total curriculum. These guidelines are crafted to support rather than to restrict.
The goal of collection development is to further the mission of AdventHealth University and the library by first providing access to resources which support and enrich our curriculum and then providing spiritual, general, and recreational resources for the University community. Electronic resources are available equally to students who are on campus and who are distant, and are selected based upon traditional criteria as listed below.
Responsibility for Selecting Library Materials:
Determination of the educational resources of the R. A. Williams Library is a professional consideration of great magnitude, requiring the cooperative efforts of the librarians, staff, faculty members, and students. Ultimately, the librarians have the responsibility for the overall development of the library's collections. The Library Director is charged with the responsibility for the adequacy of the collection.
Faculty, students, and staff are encouraged to select materials to be added to the collection. Librarians may question the appropriateness of selections. The librarians will also recommend material to the faculty for their consideration, and the faculty may recommend the titles they feel are appropriate for support of the curriculum as they teach it.
Faculty and staff are urged to participate in the selection process by making suggestions for the acquisition of materials in their area of expertise. They may submit suggestions for purchase anytime. Throughout the year, the library staff actively seeks their input. Students are also urged to participate in material selection during orientation tours and information literacy sessions. Faculty, staff, and students can submit suggestions through the Online recommendation form
By the term materials, this policy refers to information in any form, including the following: books, e-books, periodicals, e-journals, audiovisuals (such as DVD, VHS and streaming video), databases, and software.
Some or all of the following criteria may be considered while selecting materials to be added to the collection.
In general, materials selected for the library are designed to support the curriculum and are chosen as needed and in anticipation of future need. Occasionally other library materials may be selected to round out the collection in areas not specifically related to the curriculum.
The authority of the publication or product will be noted. This may include an evaluation of the auspices of a publication and the background, reputation, and history of the publisher or producer of material under consideration. The selector may consider the qualifications of the author of the book or other library media.
The scope of a product or publication shall be considered. The date of publication may be a factor in selection, as is the coverage or range of the subject and/or its limitations. The selector shall try to ascertain the purpose of the publication as stated by the author or publisher to see if that purpose fits the needs of the collection. Bibliographies found in library materials may be examined to see if they are current and reliable.
The price of the material may be a factor. Some library materials are overpriced; the same or similar information may be available in more reasonably priced publications or products.
The treatment of the material in a publication may be a factor in selection. The selector may examine the material for accuracy, objectivity, and style to see that it is suitable for inclusion in the collection.
The arrangement of the material will be noted to see if it is suitable for reference or otherwise arranged to best present the subject matter to the reader or viewer.
The format of the material will be noted. For example, bindings should be appropriate to the expected use of a book in the future. Some materials may be selected in paperback if the validity of the material is expected to be out-dated or obsolete in the near future. Illustrations should be considered. In some materials, color illustrations are important; in others, clear black and white images are satisfactory. Illustrations should be appropriate to the subject matter and placed next to the pages wherein the subject is discussed. Library and media materials should be pleasing to the eye to view or read; therefore, such items as size of print, clarity of images, and margins may be important. For web resources access, design, archiving, cost, licensing, and control should also be considered.
Special features may be a consideration of selection. Access issues may be the reason for selection of one resource over another on the same subject. Useful appendices may also be another factor in choosing one resource over another.
Consideration will be given to reviews of materials when convenient and available. The library subscribes to several journals and services which carry reviews. Standard bibliographies, indexes, web sites, reviews and recommended reading lists aid in the selection of materials.
Electronic resources are further examined through the following lenses.
Accuracy: Consider the internal integrity of the electronic information resource, examining spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typos. Librarians seek also to identify a responsible party for the electronic resource, whether individual, institution, or business.
Authority: Determine the purpose of the electronic resource and if the sponsoring organization is verifiable through a linked site or print citation. Address, phone numbers, and identifiable credentials are also noted.
Coverage: Verify if there are print equivalents of electronic resources and note any discrepancies between print and electronic versions.
Currency: Examine the date of creation and/or the date of the last modification. Electronic periodicals are tested for latest edition, embargoes and date of publication.
Objectivity: Note the domain and source of the electronic information resource, in general giving more credibility to .gov, .org, and .edu domains. Biases in writing and research style are also noted. Excessive advertising is noted as potentially compromising.
Gifts and Donations
The library retains the right to accept gifts and to dispose of donated materials as the collection development team sees fit. Donations are examined and judged by the compatibility of the contents to the curriculum and the mission of the University as stated above and may be added to the collection or disposed of depending on the decision of the collection development team.
Collection Development Resources Frequently Used in the R. A. Williams Library
The following listing consists of authoritative sources utilized in the library’s collection development practices. Because the process of collection development encompasses the total curriculum, and goes beyond curricular borders (in instances of institutional history and history of health professions), librarians traditionally lean heavily upon authoritative review sources, which range from specific to broad. A few are listed here. In addition to review sources, faculty, staff, and student input are relied upon to further assure the relevancy and quality of the library’s collections.
AJN “Book of the Year Awards” appears annually in the January issue of The American Journal of Nursing. It contains an annotated list of the most valuable nursing books of the year, as chosen by AJN's panel of judges. Books are listed by nursing specialties. Additional book lists are published in current issues of AJN, Nursing Resources section.
Books & Culture, A Christian Review. Published 6 times a year by Christianity Today.
Choice, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. Published monthly (except for July/August) by the Association of College and Research Libraries, primarily to support undergraduate collections by providing reviews to librarians, faculty, students, scholars, and the public. Through its print and electronic products, Choice informs these groups of current significant publications in terms of the relative place of the work in its subject field and in an undergraduate library collection.
Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). In addition to journals, CINAHL includes and indexes book reviews, standards of practice, government publications, patient education material, practice acts, research instruments, dissertations, and other materials.
Doody’s Review Service (formerly Doody's Electronic Journal). This web-based journal offers structured expert reviews of medical, nursing, and allied health books and software. See < href="http://www.doody.com/dej.htm">http://www.doody.com/dej.htm for more information. Many of the nursing book reviews are written by members of Sigma Theta Tau International.
Hill, D. R., and Stickell, H. N. Brandon/Hill selected list of print books and journals for the small medical library. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association. 2001, April; 89(2): 131-153. This list contains 630 books and 143 journals for medical reference. Available at http://www.brandon-hill.com/. This outstanding resource is no longer being published.
Hill, D. R., and Stickell, H. N. Brandon/Hill Selected List of Print Nursing Books and Journals. Nursing Outlook. 2002, May-June; 50(3):100-113. Updated every two years. The 2002 edition includes 370 books and 86 serials, including one nursing index. It is available online at http://www.brandon-hill.com/. This also is no longer being published, but is still a guiding standard.
JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association is published by the A.M.A. to promote the science and art of medicine and the betterment of the public health. It contains a review feature entitled, “Books, Journals, New Media”.
Journal of Christian Nursing is a quarterly publication of Nurses Christian Fellowship. JCN reviews and briefs books and other media as a reader service in the featured column entitled: “Resources”.
Journal of the Medical Library Association is the official journal of the Medical Library Association and is published quarterly. It contains comprehensive book and electronic resource reviews.
Library Journal provides 7500 evaluative reviews annually on books, audio, video/DVDs, online databases, CD-ROMs, magazines, web sites, and more.
New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Owned and published by the Massachusetts Medical Society, it contains weekly book reviews.
Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section, Medical Library Association, serves the interests of librarians responsible for services to the nursing and allied health professions. http://nahrs.library.kent.edu/. It links to member libraries include nursing resource websites. Also it describes section activities, including current research on nursing literature.
OT Practice is a comprehensive source for practical information to help occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants to succeed professionally. Published 22 times a year by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
Science & Spirit, published bimonthly, explores life and its complexities by fostering inquiry into how science affects the human spirit. It regularly features book reviews.
Attention is also given to publishers’ and jobbers’ catalogs and websites. New editions of standard works are often first noticed in these venues. Extra care is taken to follow selection criteria when selection is made from a catalog because publishers’ reviews are often biased.
1. Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. (1978). Text of address by Alexander Solzhenitzyn at afternoon exercises, Thursday, June 8, 1978. [11 pages].
Deselection, or weeding, is the review and removal of materials from the R. A. Williams Library. The materials covered by this policy include, but are not limited to, videos, journals, software, and books.
Criteria: The library uses the following criteria to systematically assess the collection:
Age in some subjects is vital, where currency is a factor
Responsibility: Responsibility for weeding the collection resides with the Library Director. The Library Director delegates responsibility to the collection development team.
The collection development team will evaluate ½ of the collection by Aug. 15 of each year, so that in a two year period, the entire collection is evaluated.
Because serials are purchase on a yearly subscription basis, all serials are evaluated yearly at the time of renewal.
Material will be checked for physical damage and those in poor condition will be repaired or replaced if they are determined to be of continued value.
Material will be evaluated for currency, particularly in the professional collections (for example, nursing, sonography, radiography, and occupational therapy), which contain resources from fields that are in constant change.
Faculty with expertise in the area being weeded will be recruited to assist in the evaluation of materials for currency and accuracy.
Appropriate bibliographies may be consulted before discarding material.
Material of historical or retrospective value will be placed in the historical collection.
Material selected for removal will be withdrawn and discarded according to established policies and procedures.
Information gaps revealed by the deselection process will be noted and efforts will be made to obtain materials to fill these gaps.
In addition to this formal program of deselection, all staff members are encouraged during pursuits of their duties to pull materials which are candidates for removal. If a large number of materials for possible withdrawal are discovered, it will be brought to the attention of the Library Director.
All staff members may review material identified for deselection, and with reason, may reverse the decision to deselect the material.
Library users who question the value or appropriateness of library materials will be asked to complete a re-evaluation form and give it to the Library Director.
Additional Procedures for Serials:
Bound volumes of serials are kept for 10 years. After 10 years, the volumes are deselected unless an academic department has requested that the volumes be kept in the collection. Nursing journals are always kept unless replaced by electronic archives.
Print subscriptions are discontinued if the library begins subscribing to the same title in electronic format.
For popular and trade journals, the library keeps only the current year. Issues from previous years are deselected.
For Seventh-day Adventist publications, the library keeps the current year and one year previous. Older issues are deselected. At the discretion of the Serials Coordinator, other religious publications may kept for the same length of time as Seventh-day Adventist publications.
As the curriculum dictates and at the discretion of the Serials Coordinator, some journals may be kept past the normal point of deselection.
Disposal of weeded materials
A sale of weeded materials deemed to have some value will be conducted so that AHU faculty, staff, and students may purchase them for a token fee.
All remaining materials may be offered free to AHU patrons and other interested parties.
All remaining materials shall be discarded in the trash (or recycled if possible).