Collection Management Policy

Revised March 2023

Guiding Principles

Adaptive: We analyze data to understand the evolving interests, priorities, and experiences of our patrons. We develop the Libraries’ collection through both automated processes and human interventions. We select resources and develop services focusing on flexible and accessible resources that are adaptive and responsive to curricular needs. 

Collective: We use the library’s extensive staff and faculty expertise to connect the JMU community with more resources than it would be possible to obtain through traditional acquisitions methods and limited budgets. We leverage our local, regional, and national networks as active collaborators in student learning, teaching, and research. We recognize the future is shared.   

Inclusive: We are committed to providing accessible collections that reflect a variety of perspectives and lived experiences. We select and maintain resources that prioritize the user’s experience and that reflect the diverse ways that humanity communicates knowledge.  

Sustainable: We champion the success of our campus community by investigating, promoting, and publishing in open and alternative models of scholarly communications. We promote the dissemination and impact of JMU scholarship through our institutional repositories and open educational resources. We recognize sustainability requires community-driven, open infrastructure. 

Objectives of Collection Management 

Collection management is the process of planning, building and maintaining a useful, accessible library collection. This policy describes the considerations and practices that are employed to develop and maintain balanced collections across subjects. When this policy refers to “collections,” it implies all library resources, whether owned, leased, or borrowed, physical or electronic. 

JMU Libraries provides information for the JMU community at the point of need. JMU Libraries adheres to a comprehensive and collaborative model for collection management. JMU Libraries may exercise a preference for selection and access to digital resources to increase user access, where financially and ethically feasible. To assure the prudent allocation and expenditure of monies for resources, collection management is coordinated cooperatively. JMU Libraries is required to adhere to state and university procurement guidelines; resource solicitations are not guaranteed a response. 

Our collections are substantially supported by electronic resources acquired through the state consortium, the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA). JMU also participates in VIVA collection initiatives and resource sharing and other cooperative agreements to maximize purchasing power and favorable negotiation terms, while striving for equitable access to information resource holdings across the state. 

Collection Priorities

The Libraries’ collections directly reflect and support our mission and the goals of the university. Specifically, the priorities for building balanced collections across subjects include: 

  • Providing access to scholarly resources that support academic curricular programs and faculty research interests. 
  • Embodying the Libraries’ commitment to more accessible and representative collections that reflect a variety of perspectives. 
  • Supporting access to information resources not explicitly covered by curricular or research programs. 

In carrying out our collection management activities, the Libraries adheres to the principles expressed in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics. 


The Collection Management Committee (CMC) plans, organizes, and monitors activities related to all aspects of collection management for all types of information resources. The committee is committed to a collaborative model and develops policies and guidelines for collection development, management, promotion, assessment, and preservation accordingly.  The CMC has the primary responsibility for managing continuing expenditure commitments (e.g., journal subscriptions, databases) and making decisions on major purchases and licenses. While the CMC oversees collection policy and timelines for collection management projects, many JMU Libraries departments carry out this work. Some departments that support collections are: 

Access and Delivery: Delivers library materials to campus locations and maintains the condition of the Libraries’ physical collections. 

Data Analytics: Provides collection inventory and usage reports and creates data summarization products for decision-makers as well as the broader campus community.  

Interlibrary Loan and Course Reserves: Fulfills patron requests for materials that are not available at JMU Libraries through a system of borrowing and lending. Allows JMU faculty members to place high-use course materials on reserve for students to check out with shortened loan periods. 

Metadata Strategies: Creates and manages library resources’ metadata for scholarly, identity management, and cultural heritage purposes. 

Research and Education Services: Furthers JMU’s teaching, learning, and scholarship mission through liaison librarian’s work as educators, researchers, and collections managers.  

Resource Management: Licenses, purchases, and facilitates access to scholarly resources to meet the needs of the JMU community.  

Scholarly Communications Strategies: Provides holistic support for scholarly communications across JMU, including the development of inclusive and equitable practices related to publishing model support.

Collection Analysis

The Libraries collect resources in print and electronic formats, with an emphasis on electronic formats that provide users with the highest degree of access. We collect data about our resources from many areas. Some entry points for collection analysis before and after the library acquires materials include, but are not limited to:  

  • Accessibility 
  • Archival access and perpetual rights 
  • Authentication method for on and off campus access 
  • Availability of usage statistics based on accepted standards  
  • Company profile, authority, ethics, and supply chain  
  • Confidentiality and privacy provisions for all library patrons  
  • Copyright and fair use, including interlibrary loan privileges  
  • Cost and sustainability  
  • Currency of information  
  • Ease of use and usability  
  • Format 
  • Frequency of updates for electronic resources 
  • JMU faculty authorship  
  • Historical value 
  • Holdings of consortia and partner libraries  
  • Impact on the entire collection  
  • Language of the material  
  • Licensing requirements and restrictions, including adherence to state and university policy 
  • Population trends of students and faculty in the area  
  • Quality of material 
  • Readership level 
  • Resource sharing permission and activity  
  • Strength of holdings in the subject area or similar subject areas  
  • Support of curriculum, research, and user demand  
  • Support of JMU Libraries’ mission  
  • Technical support for storage and delivery of locally hosted content 
  • Uniqueness of content, delivery, metadata, or treatment of the subject  
  • Vendor support commitment 

JMU Libraries typically acquires only one copy of a title. The format preference is electronic for resources where possible and appropriate. We acknowledge there may be times when duplicate copies are most supportive of patron access. In these cases, JMU Libraries may order both print and electronic versions of a resource or duplicate copies of a print title. 

JMU Libraries considers the purchase or donation of alums works into the collection if these works otherwise meet the general selection criteria for collection management.  

Criteria for Electronic Journals and Databases

In addition to meeting general criteria, electronic journals and databases have technical requirements, including: 

  • Campus-wide access via IP authentication or another acceptable authentication method 
  • OpenURL compliant 
  • OpenAthens compliant, either SAML or proxy, for off-campus access 
  • Reasonable uptime threshold outlined in vendor service level agreement (SLA) and technical support available during business hours 
  • COUNTER 4 or 5 compliant whenever possible 
  • Exceed, meet, or make active progress toward industry accessibility standards 
  • Labor devoted to troubleshooting, improving metadata quality, in-house development to meet accessibility and usability standards, resolving errors, unsatisfactory customer support experiences, data analysis, accessibility, and other issues not explicitly covered by a service level agreement or license agreement are considered during negotiations, renewals, cancellations, and acquisition of new materials.


JMU Libraries adheres to certain standards for electronic resource licensing. These standards align with both JMU Libraries’ values and state-level requirements. See the Appendix for the current criteria.  

New license agreements are reviewed by the Resource Management department and JMU Procurement. Procurement serves as the signatory for all agreements. 

Materials not Collected

The CMC considers several criteria when deciding what not to collect. For example, it would be rare for the library to acquire materials with all these characteristics: 

  • Cost: Prohibitive or unsustainable for the library’s budget 
  • Audience: Limited curricular or research applications 
  • Access: Cannot be shared or have non-negotiable restrictions on use 
  • Scope: Beyond the scope and mission of JMU Libraries 

Certain licensed materials such as industry white papers, certain technical standards, and some proprietary assessment tools may be excluded because of high cost and limited access. However, if access allows for multiple users and/or inclusion in course packets and learning management systems, the library may acquire these kinds of materials.  

Popular, self-help, or genealogy resources may be excluded due to scope and are better handled through partnerships with local public library systems. However, courses use a variety of materials which might include graphic novels, films, music, or other media, and it would be reasonable for the library to develop a collection in support of those curricular goals. 

Academic and Intellectual Freedom

Academic and intellectual freedom allow members of the campus community to engage with a variety of sources. This can include works that are uncomfortable or offensive. JMU Libraries do not consider the requests of unaffiliated individuals or groups seeking the removal from the collection of materials chosen according to this collection management policy, nor will the Libraries consider requests to add to the collection materials if their addition contradicts the objectives of the policy.  

Demand-Driven Acquisitions (DDA) and Approval Plans 

JMU Libraries purchases materials using a variety of tools. The CMC recognizes the strengths and limitations of these methods and works to assess their effectiveness for inclusive and equitable collections, content, and access. Automated DDA and approval plans augment and assist existing library staff and faculty expertise; they are not a replacement. Resource Management staff and liaison librarians collaborate to maintain approval profiles.  


JMU Libraries greatly appreciates donations of materials that will enrich existing collections and support the instructional and research mission of the university. Because of the high cost of managing the gift process, acceptance of donations is limited. 

The Libraries may decline to accept items that: 

  • Are not within the scope of our collections. 
  • Do not support the instructional and research programs of the university. 
  • Duplicate existing holdings. 
  • Entail donor restrictions the Libraries cannot honor. 

In addition, JMU Libraries does not accept the following materials: 

  • Magazines and journals 
  • Textbooks (see Appendix for Course reserves exceptions) 
  • Analog recordings (vinyl LPs, 78 rpm discs, cassettes, videocassettes, etc.) 

The Libraries’ goals in accepting gifts are to acquire only materials which are highly relevant to the university’s needs. All potential gifts will be evaluated by librarians with subject expertise in accordance with this policy. 

Donors may make offers by describing the scope of materials offered. Because of the expense and labor required to ingest materials into the libraries’ collections, gifts of 10 or more items from a single donor will require a spreadsheet submission prior to the libraries accepting these materials for consideration. 

Gifts are accepted subject to the policies of JMU Libraries with the understanding that the library reserves the right to determine retention and disposition. Upon acceptance, gifts become the exclusive property of the university. The Libraries retains the right to determine gift book retention, use, and location. In cases where a donation is not suitable for the collections, the item(s) may be given to charitable organizations.  

Donation offers for Special Collections are handled separately and are subject to review based on the Special Collections Gifts policy

Donors interested in an appraisal of gift items are advised that this is the responsibility of the donor and that appraisals should be made before gifts are transferred to JMU Libraries. The Libraries does not provide estimates of cost or value for gifts. 


JMU Libraries is committed to partnering with faculty to reduce the cost of textbooks and other required course materials. Faculty are encouraged to adopt existing materials from the library’s collections, which include hundreds of thousands of e-books, scholarly journals and streaming video titles that are accessible by students at no direct cost. The library also supports faculty adoption and creation of Open Educational Resources through diverse efforts. 

The Libraries does not purchase print textbooks for all courses at the university, due to publisher restrictions and limited resources. Faculty who request textbooks through the Course Reserves system or their liaison librarian will have their request evaluated as per the criteria detailed within this collection management policy, whether the materials are in print or electronic format. 

Open Access Materials

Open Access (OA), according to SPARC, is the “free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access is the needed modern update for the communication of research that fully utilizes the Internet for what it was originally built to do—accelerate research.” 

The library pays for OA in labor, expertise, and time, just as it does for paid content. Inclusion of OA content in the library’s discovery system and catalog is considered throughout the year, but typically follows the same life cycle as licensed electronic resources. JMU Libraries invests in OA materials, tools, and initiatives when possible and in alignment with strategic goals. 

Music Materials

The JMU Libraries’ Music Library is a full-service branch of JMU Libraries, with its own collection and space for music materials. The Music Library supports the study and scholarship needs of the School of Music. 

 Because of space constraints in the Music Library, the selection of material considers the impact of new material on space allocation. Some strategies include replacement rather than addition, multi-work volumes over individual titles, and avoidance of multiple copies.  

Format or Type for Music Materials 

Scores are collected in paper and electronic formats.  

Digital audio recordings are preferred on CD or as streaming audio. Video recordings are preferred as streaming audio or may be either DVD or Blu-ray.  

Music materials not collected include:  

  • Parts for instrumental ensembles of more than 10 players  
  • Band, choral, and orchestral parts  
  • Octavo choral music  
  • Sheet music for popular songs  
  • Musical ephemera  

Media (film, sound, streaming)  

The Music Library actively develops the collection of audiovisual recordings in both CD/DVD/Blu-ray and streaming formats and maintains equipment to play older analog formats. 

Standards, Assessment Tools, Datasets, Case Studies 

The library has limited funds for single purchases of standards, case studies, assessment tools, and datasets. Priority use of these funds will go toward faculty and students conducting research. As with the rest of the collection, the library works to support the curricular and scholarly needs of students and faculty. We encourage interested students and faculty to contact their liaison librarian to begin discussion. 

  • Requests for data should demonstrate wide curricular application and impact to the university community. “Single user” datasets will not be purchased. 
  • Datasets must be accompanied by adequate documentation and metadata. 
  • Items with restrictive license terms or with technical requirements beyond the scope of other library resources will not be purchased by the library. We will not purchase or license data with dedicated terminal access, either online or mounted on a Libraries server. 
  • Standards, assessment tools, and datasets must meet the standards governing licensed electronic resources in this document.  
  • The library welcomes cost sharing and joint purchase agreements between individual researchers, departments, and schools, with the understanding that the library has distinct strategic goals and is unlikely to support the acquisition of materials outside those objectives. 
  • Typically, JMU Libraries will only review requests of up to $5,000 for a research data acquisition of value to a range of research or curricular interests, and up to $1,000 for data resources that address a niche curricular need. These amounts are flexible, and we encourage researchers to consider the value of the data to the widest number of affiliates. 
  • Like everything else the library acquires, standards, assessment tools, and datasets demand JMU Libraries’ faculty and staff expertise, time, and labor. The library’s ability to purchase takes these needs into account as part of the decision-making process. 

Streaming Media

The library subscribes to several streaming media databases and purchases individually licensed streaming titles. JMU Libraries pursues licenses for DVDs and other formats which can be converted and streamed to campus. The Libraries may also host clips and digitized streaming materials for instructional needs, pending fair use analysis or compliance with the TEACH Act criteria. Streaming media continues to evolve and JMU Libraries considers several factors, including but not limited to: 

  • Platform stability 
  • Acquisitions model 
  • Licensing terms 
  • Perpetual or ‘life of file’ access options 
  • Accessibility features, including accuracy of captions and searchable transcripts. 
  • Cost 

JMU Libraries does not automatically purchase Public Performance Rights (PPR) for films.  JMU Libraries handles requests for PPR on an individual basis, considering cost, screening details, licensing, and timeframe. JMU Libraries should be credited as a sponsor for events using Libraries licensed PPR titles. 

Electronic Collections Life Cycle

JMU Libraries facilitates trials for database resources. Occasionally journal or other resource trials are available, as well. Subscription or large purchase resources are added to the CMC Wish List for review and vote by the committee based on priority and available funding. Once established, electronic resources are reviewed in 3-year cycles unless circumstances dictate otherwise. These reviews primarily focus on relevancy, cost, and usage. 

As part of the assessment cycle, we also consider service issues, vendor relationship changes and business practices, metadata and search quality control questions, interoperability concerns, authentication changes, and the need for additional research into how well a production functions over time. Requests for additional research into a resource, platform, or tool can be requested by liaison librarians as part of the renewal and evaluation periods of the life cycle. 

Additions to electronic journal packages will be considered upon renewal, not added piecemeal. Statistics and other information are gathered throughout the year. 

Collection Maintenance

Periodic review and withdrawal of materials ensures that collections remain both current and authoritative, and match user needs at JMU. The Libraries considers a variety of data sources as part of evaluation and maintenance of the collection. Evidence used to evaluate the existing collection includes but is not limited to: 

  • Accessibility 
  • Bibliometric analysis of institutional research output 
  • Company profile, ethics, and supply chain 
  • Condition of materials and life of format 
  • Cost and sustainability 
  • Currency of information 
  • Ease of use and usability 
  • Feedback from subject experts 
  • JMU faculty authorship 
  • Holdings of consortia and partner libraries 
  • Inclusion in a set 
  • Item usage 
  • Language of the material 
  • License terms 
  • Population trends of students and faculty in the area 
  • Quality of digital surrogates 
  • Resource sharing activity 
  • Space considerations 
  • State and regional retention commitments 
  • Strength of holdings in the subject area or similar subject areas 
  • Support of curriculum and research 
  • Support of the library’s mission 
  • Uniqueness of content, delivery, metadata, or treatment of the subject 

Policy Revisions and Questions

Questions may be directed to the chair of the CMC.  

The Collection Management Policy is reviewed by the CMC every two years. 


Course Reserves 

JMU Faculty may put personal copies of textbooks on Course Reserve.  

E-Resource Licensing Criteria 

JMU Libraries pursues a variety of license terms depending on the nature of the resource. Regardless of the license, resources cannot be licensed without meeting minimum standards whenever possible. 


At minimum, licensed content and platforms provide a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) or accessibility statement to be evaluated by JMU Libraries. Content and platforms which are not compliant must show reasonable progress toward compliance, or otherwise hold the library harmless should an Authorized User file a complaint. 


JMU Libraries will not enter into contracts that give third parties the ability to physically audit hardware on JMU campus. In addition, JMU Libraries will not keep audit records of user activity for the vendor’s auditing purposes. 

Authorized Users 

Authorized users generally include anyone with an active JMU eID: current faculty, staff, students, and affiliates. Alums are not authorized users at this time. Walk-in users to the libraries can access many licensed electronic resources. 

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure 

JMU Libraries will not enter into contracts that contain confidentiality clauses of any kind or require the nondisclosure of license terms. If the Libraries and vendor are unable to come to an agreement regarding the removal of such clauses or terms from the license, then the Libraries will not license that content.  

Governing Law 

JMU Libraries will not enter into agreements requiring the application of the law of any state other than Virginia in interpreting or enforcing the contract or requiring or permitting that any dispute under the contract be resolved in the courts of any state other than Virginia. 

Indemnification and Warranties 

JMU Libraries cannot enter into contracts that indemnify the licensor for misuse on the part of authorized users or JMU Libraries. 

Patron Privacy 

JMU Libraries will not enter into contracts that require authorized users to register or opt-in to an additional information sharing policy as a prerequisite for access to licensed content. Vendors may not use data about library users’ research activities as part of surveillance products. 


This policy is heavily influenced by and draws from the good work at Grand Valley State University Library.  

Galvan, Scarlet, “GVSU Collection Development Policy 2021” (2021). Library Reports and Communication. 15. 

Source(s) of Authority: Collection Management Committee, Director of Resource Management

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