This policy establishes the scope of the Library’s general collections and responsibilities for their management. The Fryer Library and UQ eSpace have separate collection policies.


This policy is intended to:

  • Assist staff in the informed and consistent selection and warehousing of material, so as to develop the collections in line with the strategic direction of the University of Queensland (UQ)
  • Provide a transparent process on the management of the Library’s collections and a foundation for the accountability of the Library
  • Guide decisions about the acquisition and withdrawal of material in electronic formats
  • Facilitate co-operative collections management with other libraries and organisations
  • Underscore the Library’s e-preferred policy
  • Assist staff in the informed and consistent rehousing, de-selection and disposal of material
  • Guide the curation of a readily available onsite collection, that supports UQ clients.
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This policy applies to all staff of the Library involved in collection management. The document should be read in conjunction with the Fryer Library Collection Development Policy and UQ eSpace Collection Development Policy. It excludes material purchased on behalf of hospitals and the Rural Clinical School.

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Material: Books, journals, multimedia, maps; in electronic, print or other formats.

Onsite Collection: A collection of material that meets UQ’s strategic and current teaching, learning and research needs. The definition is confirmed by recent online use, recent item circulation statistics, and/ or evidence of recent browsing activity by UQ clients. This collection must be available to UQ clients on a self-service basis.
Warehoused Collection: A collection of material that is not integral to supporting UQ’s strategic and current teaching, learning and research needs. This collection contains items of significance related to past or future UQ needs. The definition is confirmed by non-recent, low or non-existent online use or item circulation statistics, and/ or by non-recent, low or non-existent evidence of browsing activity by UQ clients. This material is deselected from the Onsite Collection, and re-housed in the Library’s offsite warehouse. It is available on demand.

Redundant Material: This material is deselected for disposal (see: Deselection and Disposal), not re-housing.

Deselection: The regular removal of material from a collection in order to maintain the collection as active, relevant and up-to-date, so as to best meet the needs of The University. Deselection decisions must take into account use, the intended scope of the collection, as well as financial and space constraints.

Disposal: Redundant material is offered to another collecting institution (where items meet that library’s collection management parameters); is donated to Alumni Friends of The University of Queensland Inc.; or is discarded.

Re-housing: The identification of physical material to be relocated either to Warehouse or another branch as circumstances require, e.g. to meet teaching & learning demands, or space requirements.

Conflict of Interest: A situation where an actual, perceived or potential conflict exists between a staff member’s duties and responsibilities to the University as per the UQ Conflict of Interest Policy.

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Role of the Library

The Library is committed to providing high quality, independent, client-focussed collections which support the teaching, learning, research and community engagement mission of UQ Library and The University.

Selection and Acquisition

General Principles

  1. Selected resources will support UQ’s current teaching, learning and research needs.
  2. An appropriate balance between teaching and learning requirements, and research needs will be maintained. Where possible, the Library will supplement expenditure on its collections with funds provided from research infrastructure, bequests and endowments, as well as other income.
  3. The Library has an e-preferred collection management policy. It acquires resources in electronic format, where possible.
  4. Where possible, the Library's expenditure on its collections will be no less than 45% of the Library's recurrent budget.
  5. A balance will be maintained between the acquisition of subscriptions and monographs.
  6. Consultation with UQ’s research and teaching community will determine the levels of collecting for each disciplinary area, primarily in relation to need.
  7. In general, resources purchased or otherwise obtained by the Library will be housed in the Library's collections. Exceptions include electronic resources only available via suppliers' servers, datasets, standards, and document delivery.
  8. The Library will avoid unnecessary duplication of resources.
  9. The Library's collections will be supplemented by providing University students and staff with access to document delivery services for academic purposes.
  10. Given the finite space for physical collections in its on-site libraries, the Library will move significant but lesser-used material to its warehouse. This material will be available on demand. If duplicated by an online equivalent, the print will be discarded.
  11. The level of collecting and the effectiveness of the collections will be regularly assessed.
  12. The Library does not generally accept donated materials into the collection, directing enquiries instead to Alumni Friends of The University of Queensland Inc. At the discretion of the Faculty Liaison Team Managers and the Fryer Librarian, exceptions may be made for rare, unique, or valuable materials. Please submit an expression of interest regarding manuscripts and heritage materials. Used textbooks can be taken to the UQU Secondhand Texts & Stationery store on St Lucia campus.
  13. The Library assumes possible conflict of interest arising from an author requesting the purchase of material they have authored has been managed by the author in conjunction with their Head of School/Supervisor.

Library Collections Budget

The Library Collections Budget is apportioned by the Library, and is approved by the Library Executive (LX) in January each year. The budget period operates from January to December. It is managed by the Information Resources section of the Library.

Core allocations are made for:

  • electronic and print subscriptions
  • one-off electronic and print purchases (e.g. books, multimedia)
  • document requesting (for material not held by the Library)

Approximately 80% of the Library’s acquisitions are published overseas, resulting in significant exposure to fluctuations in the currency market, particularly the US Dollar, the Euro and the British Pound. The Library engages a number of strategies to minimise financial risk.

Electronic Access

The Library maximises access to electronic resources by:

  • preferencing IP address validation or user-based authentication methods whenever possible
  • negotiating licence and access conditions that permit all registered staff and students access to the data in a timely manner and in a location of their choice (e.g. in school offices, at home, while in other than their regular campus or place of study)
  • ensuring the discoverability of its electronic resources via its web-scale discovery tool (Library Search) and by updating the links as required.

Selection Process

Collection Package Purchases

Large academic publishing output, such as Elsevier’s annual ScienceDirect content, is routinely purchased by the Library in keeping with The University’s strategic direction.

Demand-Driven Acquisition Models

The Library provides access to pools of academic ebooks where clients automatically determine the acquisition of items through their use.

By Request

Academic staff and students may contact their Liaison Librarian or place their requests via the Library's request a purchase form. Requests for purchase may also be received via the Learning Resources or Document Delivery services to meet the teaching and research needs of UQ academics and students. In collaboration with academics, Liaison Librarians will select material that supplements client-driven acquisition.

Purchase of Library Material Directly by Academic Staff

Reimbursement for items has become a complex process. With The University’s Procurement Policy in mind, the Library requests that academics provide their Liaison Librarian with the title/s of items before they purchase materials to be housed in the Library. It is possible that hard to obtain items may be available to the Library via established purchasing channels.

Gifts and Exchanges

Gifts and exchanges are selected for inclusion in the collection in accordance with the guidelines established in the Principles for collection management. In general, a gift or exchange is not accepted if the donor wishes to place any limitations on its use or disposal. Gifts and exchanges are accepted on the understanding that items which are not selected for inclusion in the collections are offered to other libraries, Alumni Friends of The University of Queensland Inc., or discarded, as appropriate.

Material Received on Deposit

UQ eSpace: The Library manages The University’s digital institutional repository, UQ eSpace. It aims to be the single authoritative source for the research outputs of the staff and students of The University.

The University of Queensland Theses: Electronic copies of UQ higher degree theses for research Masters and Ph.D. degrees are lodged with UQ eSpace.

Scope of the Collections


In general, if a title is available in both print and electronic format, the Library will purchase the online version. The Library preferences the following types of ebooks:

  • web-based
  • those covered by a site licence
  • purchased rather than leased.

Print will be purchased for locations where access to the Internet is problematic, or where print is preferred for quality, usability or content reasons by the requesting academic. Liaison Librarians will consult with clients about print requests.

The Library supports the Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA) of ebooks.


The Library's policy gives preference to online access to journals over print format where an electronic equivalent is available. Where possible, electronic journals are obtained under a site licence to allow access regardless of the user's location. In general, print titles are not duplicated across campuses unless justified by demand. Approval of new journals largely follows the application of the Principles, and is constrained by the availability of funds.

Cancellation of print subscriptions is actively pursued. Print backruns of titles will be replaced by electronic format when ownership of the electronic version or perpetual access can be guaranteed, and when an equivalent digital version is available. Consideration should be given to the usability of the online version (see also 4.4), as well as the quality and completeness of the replication.

Open Access eJournals

Open access resources provided by the Library include digitised and born-digital materials to support educational and research goals of The University.

Committed to the principles of open access as outlined in the IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation, the Library supports both Gold and Green open access (OA) models.

Gold OA is delivered through the publishers who provide unrestricted access to their online journals and their content is published under Creative Commons licenses (mainly CC-BY or CC-BY-NC). Open access ejournals that fall within the scope of this Collection Management Policy are accessible through Library Search. Additional access points for open access ejournals are provided via UQ eSpace (the University’s institutional repository) and Library Guides. The Library’s support of Gold OA does not include payment of APCs (Article Processing Charges).

Green OA is enabled via UQ eSpace where authors deposit open access versions of their research articles. In accordance with the Open Access for UQ Research Publications Policy, authors are encouraged to submit their works to UQ eSpace for secure storage and greater visibility and impact of their research outputs. This makes The University’s publications freely available (where possible) via UQ eSpace.

Open Access eBooks

The Library is a supporter of open access eBook publishing, including HathiTrust, Knowledge Unlatched, and Open Book Publishers. It also actively supports academics in the use and development of UQ-created Open Educational Resources.

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are a subset of born-digital material, access to which is online, free of charge and in varying degrees, free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. These resources comprise of documents and media useful for teaching, learning and assessing, as well as for research purposes. Selection of OER resources conform to the general guidelines of this Collection Management Policy and should meet the evaluative criteria in quality, authoritativeness, objectivity, currency and functionality.

Aggregated Content

The Library licenses access to selected databases of aggregated electronic resources such as abstracting and indexing services (A&Is), full text journals, books and other resources. Usage is monitored on a regular basis. When usage shows a downward trend, Liaison Librarians will review such resources in conjunction with academics, for cancellation.


Access is provided, upon request, to datasets supporting University requirements such as numerical, statistical and geospatial resources, as well as to standards and patents.


The Library collects and provides access to a wide-range of multimedia, for teaching and research purposes. The general Principles of selection also apply to multimedia. The availability of suitable equipment, both within branch libraries and by the Library's clients, is an important consideration. Commercially produced items cannot be streamed without a streaming licence. Where specific licensing conditions apply (e.g. for training DVDs), items are considered on an individual basis due to costs and licensing conditions.

Television Programs

The Library preferences the use of commercial service providers such as EduTv and TV News for access to television programs and video format content. Television programs supporting research and teaching may be recorded off-air by the Library upon request.

Online Resources - Licensed

The Library negotiates licensing agreements with data owners or providers. All agreements must be approved by the Associate Director, Information Resources, and be signed by the University Librarian on behalf of The University. Site licences are preferred.

Reading Lists

The Library supports student outcomes by creating reading lists for courses based on information gathered from Electronic Course Profiles and lecturers. Liaison Librarians provide guidance to academics as required, and liaise with academics to ensure the timely receipt of resource lists.


The Library purchases a limited number of textbooks. In support of teaching and learning, priority goes to the purchase of textbooks and other resources on course reading lists. While students are expected to purchase textbooks, the reality is that many do not. The Library therefore acts as a ‘safety net’ by purchasing limited numbers of textbooks.

Required Resources

Clause 21 of the Development and Release of Course Profiles Section of the Course Design Policy states:

"Details of recommended and required learning resources must be confirmed no later than 8 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.”

The Course Profile Content Template describes the Required Resources section as “a list of required learning resources using the appropriate referencing style for the discipline.”

Multiple copies of Required textbooks are acquired by the Library in relation to expected demand. The following algorithm is used:
1 copy per 100 students (rounded up), with a minimum of 2 copies and a maximum of 15 copies across all campuses.

Where eBooks are held, the Library will purchase fewer or no print copies dependent on the model available, access conditions and suitability for the subject area.

For titles with considerable demonstrated demand for copies in more than one branch library, the Library may consider acquiring copies above the algorithm.

The University's Conflict of Interest Policy recognises that a financial conflict of interest can arise when a staff member commercialises their teaching resources. Course Coordinators wishing to prescribe their own textbooks should use the Conflict of Interest – online disclosure tool and respond to questions about teaching-related commercial activity. Where a conflict is identified, the Head of School will be asked to consider whether the textbook can be prescribed.  

Copies of most Required textbooks are located in the High-Use collection, dependent on eBook/book availability.

Recommended Resources

Clause 21 of the Development and Release of Course Profiles Section of the Course Design Policy states:

"Details of recommended and required learning resources must be confirmed no later than 8 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.”

The Course Profile Content Template describes the Recommended Resources section as “a list of recommended learning resources using the appropriate referencing style for the discipline.”

The Library will acquire 1 copy of Recommended titles across all campuses. Where eBooks are held, the Library will purchase fewer or no print copies dependent on the model available, access conditions and suitability for the subject area.

For titles with considerable demonstrated demand for copies in more than one branch library, the Library may consider acquiring copies above the algorithm.

Journal Articles, Book Chapters, Coursepacks and Learning Guides

The Library makes available copies of journal articles and chapters of textbooks cited on reading lists. The following guidelines apply:

If a coursepack (i.e. book of readings) or learning guide is sold by The University or an agency of The University, such as the School Locker, the Incidental Student Fees and Charges Procedure requires that multiple copies must be deposited and made freely available from either the Library or the school/centre/faculty office. The latest edition only of such resources is retained by the Library.

Past Exam Papers

The Library makes past exam papers electronically available upon selective release by UQ Examinations section. Where available, the last five years are provided.


The Library has an e-preferred collection management policy. It acquires resources in electronic format, where possible. The policy recognises advantages gained through digital formats, which include:

  • 24/7 access
  • remote access
  • simultaneous multi-user access
  • download to portable devices
  • citation export management
  • enhanced searchability
  • multimedia
  • online note keeping
  • accessibility enhancements for screen impaired clients
  • fast acquisition and availability response times
  • no wear and tear
  • minimised incidence of content loss (pages, whole book).


The Library is committed to providing electronic resources, such as ebooks, in formats that are accessible to users with print disabilities. We gather information about the accessibility of new products, as part of the purchasing process, and give preference to more accessible platforms, except where there is no alternative or where a product would be fundamentally altered.

The Library acknowledges that some subject areas publish predominantly in print and that not all subject areas are suited to electronic formats. Clients may continue to request the purchase of materials in print. Liaison Librarians will consult with clients about print requests.


Low use items that have not been borrowed for a period as determined suitable for inclusion in the Onsite Collection, but are considered necessary to retain as part of the Warehoused Collection, are eligible for warehousing. Details of exact periods of publication date and borrowing period will be revised periodically depending on the requirements of the Library.

However, it is important to recognise that warehousing is not a substitute for judicious deselection or disposal.

Exemptions - the following materials are not sent to Warehouse:

  • Fryer valuable, rare books, and manuscripts
  • copies in the following locations/ collections: Fryer Library, Otto Hirschfeld, Rural Clinical Schools (Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton, Roma and Toowoomba), Heron Island, Herston Health Sciences Library, JKMRC, Stradbroke Island and UQ/Mater McAuley Library. Such copies are not considered to be duplicates.

Published Primary materials (editions of the works of literary or historical writers, collections of documents, diaries and journals, autobiographies, etc; foundation and pre-eminent works in the sciences) may be best located on the open shelves. However, low-use secondary material (works of criticism and interpretation) are candidates for warehousing, in keeping with the definition of the Warehoused Collection.

Deselection and Disposal

Material published prior to 1900 which is deemed to have a significant market value should be referred to the Fryer Library for consideration. Transfer of collections to the Fryer Library will depend on relevance to the Fryer’s Collection Development Policy.

Items published in Queensland, or relating to Queensland and/or Queenslanders, will be considered for addition to the Fryer Library, particularly if there is a strong connection to UQ.

The Manager, Resource Delivery and Physical Collections works closely with Library Faculty Team Managers and Information Resources in the rehousing, deselection and disposal process. They are jointly responsible for arranging the timely rehousing, de-selection and disposal of material.

Material qualifies for deselection when at least one of the following applies:

  • it is not part of the Onsite Collection nor Warehoused Collection, and is thus deemed to be Redundant
  • the item falls outside of, or is marginal to, the scope of the collection management policy
  • the information contained in it is superseded, outdated, inaccurate, or misleading and has no particular value to the collection, i.e., the title has been acquired primarily for the currency of its information. For areas of the collection with a historical focus, the retention of such material should be considered where it is relevant to establish the issues and views at a particular time. Foundation and pre-eminent works in the sciences should not be considered in terms of age
  • the information contained in it has been presented elsewhere in an equivalent or accessible format. This includes print copies of material for which an equivalent digital version is available where print is no longer required in order to meet the needs of the university, and taking into consideration the Library’s preference for digital formats. For serials, consider the need for access in perpetuity (consider also: dark archive holdings on PORTICOJSTOR and CLOCKSS). Consideration should be given to the usability of the online version, as well as the quality and completeness of the replication
  • it is an item that has deteriorated beyond salvage, repair or reproduction; in the case of audiovisual or electronic, material which has become technologically obsolete. If the content is still needed, replace in a current format
  • it is a multipart work or serial title where holdings are limited and incomplete and have no value to the collection. Check Fryer holdings for serials relating to Australian literature before deselecting
  • it is a duplicate copy of a work for which there is, or is expected to be, insufficient demand to justify ongoing duplication. Prefer to deselect soft bound versions over hard bound items. Where the Library holds both a US and the UK edition of a title, unless there are mitigating circumstances, only one edition needs be retained. Be aware that in literary studies, different editions contain changes to text and illustrations/ covers that are valuable for scholars to be able to compare
  • the item will have low anticipated use, and is held by another collecting institution which has the responsibility and authority to retain a copy in perpetuity
  • items are annual reports, or working/ discussion papers published by a government entity that have an online equivalent
  • items are non-UQ examination papers, non-UQ working/discussion papers, or non-UQ institutional handbooks
  • if a UQ holding matches a hospital holding, the UQ title is not treated as a duplicate.

There may be reasons for not disposing of material in accordance with the Collection Management Policy. Here, the grounds for keeping material on the open shelves or for re-housing in Warehouse must be provided in a note field in the Library inventory system (Alma) by the Liaison Librarian.

Liaison Librarians may dispose of material without the need for further approval where the material has been deselected according to the criteria set out in this policy.

Materials withdrawn from the collection may be offered to another collecting institution, for example the State Library of Queensland, where items meet that library’s collection management policy parameters, and with the approval of the Collections Management Group (CMG); be donated to the Alumni Friends of The University of Queensland Inc.; or be discarded.


An item is considered for replacement if it forms part of the Onsite Collection and:

  • it has been declared unavailable. The unavailability may be for a number of reasons, including missing, or failure to be returned by a borrower
  • it is damaged beyond repair
  • it is missing, and cannot be located quickly
  • it can be replaced by an online equivalent.

If the title is no longer in print, a substitute title may be considered.

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Library Executive

The Library Executive (LX) is responsible for overseeing the implementation and review of this policy in line with UQ’s strategic direction. LX is the final arbiter of debate.

Library Staff

The active involvement of all Library staff tasked with collection management and maintenance is critical to achieving the objectives of this policy. Library staff will perform their duties consistently with this policy. CMG may refer policy matters, including strategic exceptions, to LX.

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Related Policies

Document Delivery: The inter-library loan and document delivery service is designed to supplement the Library's own collections, particularly to support the research activity of The University. For more details, see the request document delivery page.

Out of Print Books: It is permissible under the educational copying provisions of the Copyright Act to make one or more copies of whole books that are out of print, provided that the book is commercially unavailable. Access is restricted to UQ staff and students.

Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Policy: The Library purchases materials representing a wide variety of viewpoints. On occasion, some materials may be considered controversial. The acquisition of, or access to, such material does not imply approval or endorsement of the content by the Library.

The Library does not add or withdraw, at the request of any individual or group, material chosen or excluded on the basis of its stated selection criteria. No material will be censored or removed because of disapproval of the author's political, social, moral or other opinions.

Library collection management policies are guided by the ALIA Statement on Free Access to Information, and recommendations by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

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Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed every three years by LX, in conjunction with CMG to confirm and ensure that it continues to reflect:

  • best practice in the management of library collections
  • the needs of The University.
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Document Control

Version 1.1
Date of Issue: 17 March 2017
Last updated: 4 December 2019
Description of Change: UQ Policy updates.

University Librarian

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