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Research Data Services


Data Collection Development Policy

This policy governs the collection development and acquisition of data at Boston College Library. Researchers requesting data purchases should follow these guidelines. All acquisitions initiated by the Library itself will also follow these guidelines.

Please contact Data Services or your subject librarian if you need further support.

Demand and Scope


  • There should be broad curricular and/or research interest in the data to be acquired. In order to maximize impact, we strive to build a data collection useful to the largest number of people, and preference will be given to data requests that meet that requirement.
  • Whenever possible, access should not be restricted by school or department if purchased by Boston College Library.
  • “Single user” datasets will not be purchased (e.g., iTunes model). That is, if only a single user (or project team) can use the dataset based on restrictive license terms or technical requirements, we cannot purchase the data.


  • Numeric, spatial, and textual data will all be considered.
  • To be included in our collections, data can be purchased, licensed, or open.
    • Purchased data are data that the Library owns outright (although there may be terms of use in a contract).
    • Licensed data are data that the Library essentially rents for a period of time, which may be predetermined or on-going.
    • Open data are data that are openly available to the public.
  • Data should be relevant to research and/or curricular needs of Boston College.
  • Any time period, geography, or language will be considered.
  • Out of Scope: any data posing confidentiality concerns.

Reference: University of Virginia Library. Data Collection Development Policy. Last accessed on May, 2020: