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Collections & Metadata Services: Policies and Strategies


Collections and Metadata Services at Gumberg Library is dedicated to building and stewarding collections that support research, teaching, and learning at Duquesne University. The Library strives to maintain relevant and unique physical collections, which include print books and journals, CD's, DVD's, microfilm, manipulatives, and music scores, as well as, special and archival collections. The Library is focused on building an e-preferred collection to further strengthen and build upon our dynamic and purposefully developed print and electronic collections, thus supporting the evolving information landscape. The Library is cognizant that not all materials are available electronically, therefore we are committed to purchasing physical materials that support users’ needs. Gumberg reserves the right to purchase the most appropriate and accessible format for requested resources, while being mindful that it does not have the funding to comprehensively acquire everything published in all areas pertinent to the University's scholarly endeavors.   


Supporting our diverse curriculum requires managing a complex array of information resources in a variety of formats while taking into consideration: discipline; cost including maintenance fees and inflation; licensing and access models; sustainability of the format; classroom technology; and user accessibility and experience. Additional factors that are considered in the decision to purchase library resources may include: degree of specialization; e.g. is the resource likely to serve multiple disciplines or a more narrow range of users; and projected need based on use patterns of similar material already in the collection. Due to the evolving information landscape, the priority is an e-preferred collection, that will adapt as new types of information and formats develop.

Benefits of E-Preferred Collection Development 

  • ADA Accessibility:  E-Resources must be in compliance with the standards set forth in Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Section 508 Standards, which are part of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, ensure access for people with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities.
  • Accessibility:  E-Resources are available 24/7 and are accessible from on campus as well as from remote locations
  • Administrative savings: There is no processing, shelving, damage, loss, or physical handling; ease of withdrawal
  • Collection analytics: usage statistics can be measured in detail to assist in collection management decisions

E-Collections include electronic resource subscriptions, one-time purchases of databases, single e-journal titles and e-journal packages, individual e-book titles and collections, and electronic reference works (e.g. encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, and handbooks).

When the library purchases electronic resources, they are made available to the entire university community—regardless of school or department—including distance students and those accessing electronic resources remotely. A major consideration when acquiring electronic resources is the provision of IP access both on and off campus. Ownership over access is preferred, but the library does subscribe to access-only content for budgetary reasons. The library builds its electronic collections based on recommendations from faculty, librarians, students, and other stakeholders. The library will review all recommendations based on its established collection guidelines and procedures.

Purchase and access to electronic resources is centralized through the library, but when the library cannot purchase an electronic resource, it is willing to work with schools or departments that are able to purchase the resource using their own funds, as described below in Electronic Resources Purchased by Schools or Departments.

Electronic Resources Purchased by Schools or Departments

When departments or schools decide to purchase electronic resources using their own funds, the library will work with them to license the resources and to provide university wide access.  Working with the library provides several advantages to the department as well as to the entire university:  

  • Access — Library provides simplified access to electronic resources on or off campus, and creates links to related resources.
  • Licensing — Library negotiates licenses and contracts, and manages copyright issues through standardized procedures in cooperation with the University Counsel.
  • Vendors — Library leverages existing vendor contacts and relationships, eliminates duplication of effort.
  • Costs — Library pursues the best price possible through knowledge of market place, pricing models and special deals.
  • Troubleshooting — Library works with vendors and technology to ensure uninterrupted access.
  • Support — Library provides reference assistance, teaching/instruction, and user support.

Trial Policy

The library selectively conducts trials of electronic resources. The library reserves the right to decide the feasibility, timing, and scope of a trial. Trials will be initiated for only those electronic resources that meet the library’s technological and service requirements. 


Publications and products requiring an ongoing commitment are evaluated not only when first considered for purchase, but also in subsequent years to make sure they are still appropriate for the collection and worth the cost of continuing. The following circumstances may prompt cancellation: the resource no longer supports the University curriculum; another resource offers superior coverage; use statistics reveal unacceptably low use or high cost per use; price increases are unsustainable; or budget shortfalls force the library to cut back on subscriptions. 


As more titles become available electronically and as the library moves provides a more accessible collection, Gumberg Library will prioritize the purchase of eBooks when requests are made. However, we will continue to acquire print monographs based on these exceptions:

  • Unavailable in e-format: the title is a core title and is not published in dual format or not yet available in e-format; publisher is primarily print-only
  • Print format has been specifically requested; decision to purchase the print version will be based on collection appropriateness and curriculum relevance

Online Journals and Newspapers include individually subscribed titles, aggregated collections from a single publisher, aggregated collections from multiple publishers, information is included in indexing and abstracting tools, and open access journals. The library prefers ownership over access-only agreements with electronic content providers when possible.

The library primarily orders new journal and newspaper subscriptions in online format. However, it still maintains some current, print journal subscriptions, as well as a collection of closed, print and microfilm journal and newspaper backfiles. Whenever possible, these print subscriptions and/or backfiles are transferred to electronic-only format. New print subscriptions are considered on a case-by-case basis and only under special circumstances.  Electronic subscriptions have the advantages of not occupying physical space and do not require as much handling by library staff, as back issues for specific print journals are still sent to the bindery to be bound.

The following factors are considered when adding new subscriptions:

  • Electronic-only availability, including backfiles
  • Full-text availability
  • Inclusion in major indexing and abstracting tools
  • Cost/available funds
  • Perpetual ownership

While it is desirable to have subscriptions to journals for which Duquesne faculty serve as editors or editorial board members, budget limitations prevent the Library from systematically or comprehensively collecting such journals.

Ideally, new journal and newspaper subscriptions would be ordered at the time of need, however, budget limitations require that current subscriptions of equivalent cost be cancelled before a new subscription can be added. 

At this time Gumberg Library collects media in multiple formats. When streaming access is available that format is preferred for all content. When streaming is not available or is prohibitively expensive, DVD's and CD's will be purchased. 

Selection Considerations for Audiovisual content:

  • Highest priority is given to materials which are essential to supporting the curriculum
  • Purchase/license price reasonable and funding available
  • Anticipated frequency of use
  • Interdisciplinary in nature

When appropriate, we will promote the use of high quality, free and legally available streaming video. If a requested title has been made legally, freely available for streaming online by the rights holder we may suggest accessing the freely available material as an alternative, acknowledging that we cannot guarantee long term access.

For additional information regarding Streaming Video click here


In an effort to encourage and support leisure reading across the university community, our “Popular” reading collection is made up of best sellers and recently published fiction and non-fiction titles of interest to the university community. Since these books are leased, titles remain in the collection until either their popularity diminishes or their physical condition deteriorates beyond repair. Individuals may request titles for this collection through our Suggest a Purchase Form

The library’s research databases support both the teaching and research missions of the university. The collection includes multi-disciplinary, general purpose, and highly specialized research databases consisting of abstracting and indexing services with or without aggregated full-text, aggregated journal collections, open access services, directories, aggregated collections of books, and streaming media.

Ideally, new database subscriptions would be ordered at the time of need, however, budget limitations require that current subscriptions of equivalent cost be cancelled before a new subscription can be added. 

In general, the Library is unable to purchase assigned textbooks due to limited space for print collections, cost, challenging publishing and licensing models, and the frequent publication of new editions. However, if a textbook is available electronically with licensing rights for libraries, the Library will consider purchasing if the title is not cost-prohibitive.

This policy does not apply to supplemental reading materials, which can be purchased by using the Suggest a Purchase Form.

The library’s goal is to maintain diverse collections of scholarly and scientific materials. Planned and periodic removal of materials helps to ensure that the collections are relevant and up to date. It also makes newer, active materials more visible and accessible, as well as, making better use of limited space. Deselection makes it possible for library staff to maintain and improve collections more efficiently while allowing easier identification of gaps to guide new purchases.

The intent of this document is to provide guidelines to locate possible candidates for removal from library collections. The criteria listed below are not meant to be exhaustive but to allow for individual judgment when necessary.

  • Low circulation and easily accessible from other libraries
  • Materials/Books in Poor Condition
  • Outdated and obsolete information (especially on subjects that change quickly or require absolute currency, such as computers, law, science, space, health and medicine, technology, travel).
  • Inaccurate or false information, including outdated information and sources that have been superseded by new titles or editions.
  • Superseded editions
  • Unneeded duplicates
  • Inappropriate, items in subject areas that are completely irrelevant for our library.

Internal considerations that must be further reviewed:

  • Duquesne Publications
  • Spiritan Authors
  • African Institute - Items designated as African Institute materials cannot be withdrawn (these items are designated with yellow dots on the spine and/or African Institute/Collection written inside the book).
  • Specific gift collections will be reviewed on a case by case basis.