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Principles and Selection Policy

Introduction to the Boston College Libraries Collections

Guiding Principles for Building the Collections

The following documents provide an overall structure for building library collections here.

Our Common Values

Our Common Values lead us to choose materials which:

  • Provide content of the highest scholarly integrity, matched to the research and curricular needs of the Boston College community
  • Meet the needs of our increasingly diverse community, with that diversity recognized in all of its dimensions
  • Satisfy maximal accessibility needs by ensuring that content provided is accessible to all (Boston College Libraries statement) who need it
  • Engender scholarship that is globally-aware
  • Promote the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of research
  • Reflect emerging scholarly communication models, particularly those in alignment with Open Access initiatives in the Boston College Libraries
  • Are purchased in a fiscally-responsible manner, including leveraging of consortial purchasing options where beneficial.

Open Access

In alignment with Boston College social justice goals, we strongly support Open Access initiatives whenever possible in their purchasing.  See our Open Access Guide for more details.  Here are some examples of the Libraries' Open Access initiatives:

The Library also supports publishers who allow deposition of content in repositories, including for open access to preprint materials.  Boston College Libraries, with the support of the Provost, offers the Open Access Fund for individual researchers publishing in fully-open access venues.

Considerations in Selecting Materials

  • Alignment with BC research, teaching and learning needs.

  • Faculty and student requests

  • Scholarly value

  • Reflecting the diversity of scholarship

  • Scope and content – comprehensiveness and depth of coverage

  • Reputation of source (publisher, scholarly society, author)

  • Availability of institutional license

  • Purchase satisfies multiple users, not just one

  • Currency and timeliness

  • Discoverable in major indexing and abstracting tools or professional organization indexes

  • Physical quality of the item (particularly in relationship to special collection or rare items) and/or special features

  • Cost consistent with sound stewardship of funds

  • Responsive to a changing scholarly publishing landscape

  • Consistent with Boston College Libraries Open Access goals, whenever relevant to the purchase decision

  • Inclusive of conversial topics if inclusion contributes positively to the scholarly conversation

Materials We Rarely Purchase

We limit purchasing of the following

  • Duplicate copies of materials we already own.

  • Textbooks are generally purchased at the request of faculty members for placement on Course Reserves.  For some disciplines, textbooks may be purchased for the general collections.

  • Microforms are purchased only for key resources where there are no other options.