Collections and Library Services

Collections and Library Services TEST

Collections Development Policy

Collection Development Overview and Context


The purpose of the Collection Development Policy Manual is to provide a "living" framework along with specific policies and guidelines for the selection, retention, and de-selection of all information resources (print, non-print, and electronic, either owned or licensed) that comprise the Library's collection. These guidelines will ensure adherence to the Library's mission and values and promote consistency in selection decisions, and ultimately meet the information needs of the library's primary clientele (i.e. The Medical and Nursing Schools, the Medical and Nursing Research Centers, and the University of Virginia Health System employees) and enhance their work. Selection of digital resources is preferred, as this format better meets our clientele's needs. However, we are committed to seek and provide print resources that complement and enhance digital counterparts and which will provide back-up in the event of a catastrophic event (e.g. long-term power outage or loss of Internet access).

The University of Virginia Health System sponsors many research initiatives for which we provide information resource support. There are many other research areas (e.g. in the basic sciences) that we provide support. We proactively keep abreast of new studies and departments that arise within the Health System so that we can develop our collection to accommodate these needs.

Collection Development Philosophy

Our philosophy for collection development is patron-centric, with a spirit of service that incorporates quality, timeliness, and cost-efficiency. We strive to fulfill our clientele's biomedical information needs as called forth by our mission. Evaluating and selecting resources that foster effective teaching, research, patient care, and educational initiatives of the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and Medical Center at the University of Virginia Health System is at the heart of this process. All resources, whether listed on the Library's Web page or cataloged in the online catalog (VIRGO), print or electronic, flow through this system. Selection involves the discovery of needed resources along with extensive analysis to determine credibility, usefulness, and cost-effectiveness for the constituencies served. Additionally, these resources serve the larger University community, the Commonwealth of Virginia through proactive outreach services, and the nation through cooperative programs with other libraries and agencies.

Library Clientele

The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library provides services and resources for three major groups of clientele: UVA Health System affiliates, UVA affiliates, and Non-UVA affiliates. Each group is described below along with their placement in the library's collection development decision-making process.

UVA Health Affiliates

The educational, research and clinical needs of our primary clientele form the foundation for all our collection development decisions. Input from these users is solicited through liaison contacts, educational services and online forms available from the Library's homepage. Primary clientele may check out all print resources and have full access to all licensed electronic resources, either at the Library or from a remote location. Primary clientele comprises the following:

  • Faculty, staff, and students of the UVA Health System
  • Visiting faculty (officially designated)
  • Health professionals in the community who are officially affiliated with the Health System (includes special categories such as clinical faculty and UVA preceptors for the School of Medicine and School of Nursing)

Other UVA Patrons

The information needs of our UVA affiliates are met primarily through their affiliation with one of the 14 libraries at the University of Virginia. Purchase requests from this group are considered and filled if the item is health-related and is a good fit for our collection. UVA affiliates may check out all print resources and have access to all electronic resources that are available to our primary clientele.

Non-UVA Patrons

Non-UVA patrons have some borrowing restrictions and may access electronic resources by using a computer at the Library. 

Overview of the Library's Collection

The Library's collections are comprised of the following major sections:

  • The General Collection: A lean and current collection of research and instructional level book and journal titles that support the graduate and undergraduate curricula and clinical and research programs of UVA Health. Both the book and journal collections contain print and digital resources. The journal collection is predominantly digital, and the book collection will continue to have a print presence as well as a large digital selection.
  • Historical Collections: A collection of documents covering the history of medicine and nursing as well as the history of the University of Virginia Health System, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, etc. This collection is located in the Historical and Special Collections Division of the Library and located on the lowest level of the Library.
  • Reserves Collection: A collection comprised of permanent and temporary resources, located in the lobby on the main floor of the Library. Core biomedical titles constitute the permanent reserves, and resources placed on reserve for a fixed amount of time by health system instructors, make up the temporary reserves collection. 

Collection Development Guidelines

Overview of the Collection Development Process

The responsibility for selecting resources rests with the deputy director and the Access Services manager.

On average the Library spends approximately 97% of the collection budget on print and online journals, with the balance being spent on monographs (books), standing orders (e.g. reference materials), site-licenses for online databases, books, journals, computer software, and audiovisuals. The collections budget also includes a subsidy of the Library's interlibrary loan/document delivery services. In recent years, there has been and will continue to be a greater emphasis on acquiring/licensing resources in electronic form. 

Cooperative Collection Development Statement

The Library's digital collections serve a wider audience than just our primary clientele. The digital resources we license are made available to the entire University of Virginia, for most resources, and to other Universities and Colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, for some resources. The Library is an active participant in the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) consortium, and we fully support VIVA's Mission "... to provide, in an equitable, cooperative and cost-effective manner, enhanced access to library and information resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia's non-profit academic libraries serving the higher education community." 

Administrative Guidelines: Purchasing & Licensing Vision for the Library: Digital Prominence

The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library's current collection development policy governing the funding, selection, acquisition, and retention of library materials and information resources applies to all formats. The Library gives priority to the acquisition of digital resources. The Library works collaboratively with other University of Virginia libraries to provide the broadest possible access (anytime, anywhere) to licensed digital resources for all current faculty, students and staff at the University. Cooperative acquisitions and cost sharing with other Health System departments and Virginia consortia (VIVA) are pursued when feasible to provide the broadest possible array of digital resources to all Library users.

In our current environment of limited funding, the Health Sciences Library is operating under a purchase model where the consideration of the acquisition of any new resource must first demonstrate that it supports the needs of multiple groups within the health system.  In some cases, even if a resource passes the "scope" test, purchase of the resource is unlikely without first cutting other resources.  For resources designed for a specific user group, we are willing to administer a license if a department or School is willing to provide funding.  

Scope, Format, Access, and Specific Selection Criteria

Digital resources fall into several groups or formats: Journals (to be referred to as "E-journals"), Books (to be referred to as "E-books") and Databases.


The Library prefers digital access only for all new journal titles. 


The library will acquire digital books that are core textbooks and which supplement the Library's Reserve Collection. In addition, the Library will acquire digital books at the request of UVA Health affiliates and when funding is available.


The Library will focus on databases that provide excellent search interfaces to primary biomedical and life sciences bibliographic databases and information. General information and bibliographic databases are selectively acquired, usually in conjunction with other University libraries or VIVA.


The decision to select specific resources depends on projected use, licensing requirements, local or remote support services, and other access issues. Resources must be available on-Grounds and remotely, unless there is a compelling license or cost reason to restrict access.  Resources are accessed via the Library's online catalog (Virgo) and/or the Library's web site.

Less used materials will be obtained via Interlibrary Loan or by "pay-per-view" access directly from publishers.

Selection Criteria

Library clientele, liaison librarians, or Library staff may make suggestions for acquisitions via an electronic form, email, phone call, etc. to the deputy director or Access Services manager. Resources are previewed when possible, evaluated and approved for acquisition by the deputy director. The following selection criteria are considered and discussed before final acquisition:

  • Needs of primary clientele
  • Relevance of subject
  • Cost-effectiveness: including availability and cost of updates, backfiles, future upgrades
  • Scholarly and intellectual level
  • Reputation and authority of producer
  • Confidence in producer's commitment to maintenance
  • Currency and validity of information and updates
  • Access and network capacity: access preferably not requiring individual user ID and passwords
  • Uniqueness and completeness of information
  • Added-value and advantages over other formats
  • Technical ease and accessibility
  • Legal issues including licensing requirement and restrictions
  • Copyright and fair use issues, including permission for interlibrary loan
  • Archival issues - availability, cost, limitations, storage, etc.
  • Availability and quality of documentation
  • Vendor's reliability in customer support, material availability, and quality of training programs
  • Usage and/or limit access can be monitored; usage statistics that are COUNTER-compliant should be minimally available.

Other Considerations

Retention And Renewal

In addition to considering each factor in the selection criteria section above, the Library also examines usage statistics to determine if the use of a resource justifies its continued maintenance and accessibility. The following list of elements is also analyzed to aid in all final decisions:

  • The cost of the journal
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • Whether and where a journal title is indexed
  • Whether articles from a particular title can be accessed online or obtained quickly and cheaply via interlibrary loan or by other means


The Library adheres to the following definitions and expectations regarding all license contracts. The Director of Procurement Services of the University of Virginia has the sole authority to approve and sign all finalized license agreements.

  • The Library's authorized users include the students, faculty and staff of the University of Virginia and all onsite visitors to the Library.
  • "Site" is defined to encompass the entire University of Virginia complex in Charlottesville.
  • Students, faculty and staff of the University of Virginia Health System are able to access all resources from computers located throughout the Library. Remote access is available by establishing an account on the University's proxy server. Remote access provisions should be included for all Medical School preceptors and students in distance education programs.
  • Pricing is assessed based on number of FTE, simultaneous users or number of seats, or a variety of other publisher cost models.
  • The "fair use" provision or the U.S. Copyright Act applies to all formats.
  • The purchase of digital resources should include provisions for perpetual access to that resource/information. Agreements should clearly state archival responsibility.

The evaluation, selection, acquisition, and renewal of digital resources is coordinated by the Access Services manager. Usage statistics of digital resources, when available, will serve as an important selection and de-selection tool.

Implementation and Review Of These Guidelines

This section of the Collection Development Policy will be revised as appropriate and needed to reflect changes in the emerging and constantly changing digital information environment.

Interlibrary Loan


Through interlibrary loan, the Library supplements its collections by purchasing and borrowing low-use materials from other libraries or commercial document suppliers. Interlibrary loan services are provided through national, state, and local initiatives.

National Initiatives

The Health Sciences Library is a member of DOCLINE and OCLC. DOCLINE, the National Library of Medicine's automated interlibrary loan referral system, clearly accounts for most of our activity, as its purpose is to route health-related requests from library to library. OCLC, the world's largest online catalog, complements DOCLINE by providing a routing system for requests that are not health related. To help facilitate quick turnaround, the Health Sciences Library is a member of RapidILL.  Due to the breadth of our collection, the Health Sciences Library is designated as a resource library within Region 2 of the National Network of Medical Libraries.

State-wide Initiatives

The Health Sciences Library is affiliated with VIVA, the Virtual Library of Virginia. (VIVA members include over 50 libraries at institutions serving the higher education needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia.) As a VIVA member, we borrow materials from other member libraries free-of-charge. Most VIVA requests are routed through DOCLINE or OCLC.

Local University Initiatives

Health system faculty and staff can request materials from other libraries at the University of Virginia through the University's online catalog, VIRGO. These materials are delivered free-of-charge to the Health Sciences Library by LEO (Library Express On-Grounds) staff.

Gift Acceptance Policy

Gift donations are accepted on a highly selective basis and with the understanding that materials will be utilized in the manner most beneficial to the Library. Donated materials are reviewed for scope and coverage with the understanding that those items not meeting the selection criteria will not be accepted. The receipt and acceptance of gift materials are reported to the Vice President for Development for confirmation and formal acceptance by the Board of Visitors in accordance with University policy and procedures. All donated materials must be accompanied by a completed Deed of Tangible Property Gift Form. The Internal Revenue Service does not accept appraisal from library staff for tax purposes; therefore, the appraisal of a gift to the Library is the responsibility of the donor. All gifts with a declared value of $5,000 or more should be accompanied by a third party, independent appraisal paid for at the donor's expense. A list of local IRS-approved appraisers is available. All gift donations are acknowledged in writing by the deputy director.

Last revised: January 2019

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Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1350 Jefferson Park Avenue P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville, VA 22908 (Directions)

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