Collection Development Policy

About the Collection Development Policy

The purpose of this policy is to communicate the standards used by the Libraries in building and maintaining the Libraries’ physical and digital collections. Contact the Senior Director for Outreach and Engagement for questions about our policies.


Our primary audiences are Binghamton University’s faculty, students and staff.

Responsibility for Collection Development

The Libraries’ Subject Librarians have primary responsibility for developing collections in their subject areas. Contact your Subject Librarian for any resource needs.

Scope of the Collection

As a research university, we maintain a support-level collection for all disciplines taught on campus. Depending on the degrees and programs offered by each department, we will build up to research-level collections in subject areas. Our collecting priorities are aligned with the priorities of the University; as the University’s strategic priorities change, our collections change. We collect materials primarily in English and in other languages as appropriate for each discipline.

Selection Criteria

We use several criteria in selecting resources, including but not limited to:

  • Relevance to existing collections and to the University curriculum
  • The scholarly importance of the material
  • The material’s subject and scope of content
  • The currency/timeliness of the resource
  • The extent to which the resource contributes to our efforts to promote diversity and justice and understand and combat racism
  • Compliance with University and SUNY policies for electronic information technology accessibility
  • Cost and, for ongoing resources such as journals and databases, annual price increases

Types and Formats of Materials

The Libraries collect in a variety of formats, including: print and electronic books and journals, databases, audio/visual resources, and microfilm. When materials are available in multiple formats, the Libraries generally acquire the material in one format to save space and money.

E-Books and Print Books: The Libraries have an e-preferred book policy, but still collect print in academic disciplines that are print-oriented.

Journals: We have an e-preferred journal policy. We only purchase print journals if it is the only option or if there is a compelling reason to do so. Our policy is to discard print journals for which we have sustainable perpetual access to an equivalent electronic copy.

Electronic Resources: The Libraries collect databases, e-journals, digital archives, data sets, research tools and other electronic resources. Additional criteria for selecting e-resources include accessibility, compliance with ADA standards, and availability of use statistics.

Microforms: The Libraries continue to collect microforms, specifically microfilm, as these are considered reliable archival formats. We may replace microfilm with digital copies if provisions are in place for long-term preservation.

Audio: Our preference is for streaming audio with perpetual access. We also collect CDs or digital files, in keeping with current technology trends.

Vinyl records: The Libraries do not actively collect vinyl records, but maintain a robust collection of records gifted by donors, including the Conole and Hagan record collections. 

Video: Our preference is for streaming video with perpetual access. We also collect DVD, Blue-Ray, or digital files, in keeping with current technology trends.

Obsolete Formats

The Libraries do not collect in formats considered obsolete unless there is no other option. We may preserve materials in obsolete formats for archival purposes (according to copyright rules), but will seek to upgrade the format if possible.


The Libraries do not collect: textbooks except where a general work on a subject is desirable or temporarily as part of course reserves; reprints of previously published materials or new editions of works that lack substantial change from earlier editions; materials that are out-of-scope of our teaching and research.


Due to space limitations and the effectiveness of our document delivery services, with few exceptions, the Libraries do not collect duplicates of print titles. Exceptions include: Duplicates may be acquired if: required for a course; circulation rates justify having an additional copy (we would not retain both copies once demand wanes).


See the Libraries’ Donation of Book and Materials Policy.


Deaccessioning materials is a vital part of our ongoing collection development and maintenance program. Deaccessioning, also referred to as deselection or weeding, is the process of removing materials that are longer needed from the collection. Our goal is to build and maintain a vital, working collection. Removing outdated, damaged or out of scope materials makes space for new items and creates a better experience when patrons interact with our collections. Subject Librarians are primarily responsible for identifying materials to weed. Deselection criteria include: an item is no longer appropriate for the collection; an item is outdated; an item is not being used and can be readily obtained if needed; an item is outside of the scope of the collection or in a format we no longer collect; an item is damaged beyond reasonable repair; and the item duplicates other holdings.

Special Collections

As the repository for scarce, distinctive, and primary source materials in a variety of formats to support teaching and research, Special Collections has its own collecting scope and selection criteria. While our primary audiences are the students and faculty of Binghamton University, we also serve the worldwide research community. Material is added that will augment collecting strengths and anticipate new collecting emphases of interest to our users. Selection of materials is made by the librarians and archivists within the department, in consultation with library administration and Subject Librarians when warranted.

Materials that fall within our collecting criteria are acquired through transfer from the circulating collection, through gifts, and through purchase. University Archives material that documents the institution’s history and student experience are acquired through transfer from departments and student groups, and through gifts from alumni, faculty and other university members. Materials that fall outside our criteria, are duplicative, or have substantial preservation issues are not selected. On occasion items and collections are deaccessioned when they no longer meet our collection parameters, are redundant, have little scholarly value, or have significant damage. 

Take Down Policy

See the Libraries’ Take Down Policy.