OHSU Library Collection Development Policy

About the Library

The Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Library supports teaching, research and patient care. We serve OHSU faculty, staff and students in Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and many other healthcare and life sciences educational programs. OHSU Library, the largest health science library in Oregon, is accessible to Oregon health professionals and the public seeking high-quality health information.  

    Purpose of the Policy

    This policy outlines the principles underlying how the Library selects and acquires materials to meet the needs of those we are committed to serve. There is a separate policy specific to Historical Collections & Archives.

    Collection Development Scope and Guidelines

      Who is involved
      The Director of Collection Management budgets for, builds, and maintains the collection to support the mission and activities of the University, making data-driven decisions based on assessing resource usage and continuing awareness of OHSU member needs. Through the Library’s Unit Engagement Program , librarians maintain relationships with academic departments, institutes and research programs to keep the Library informed about research activities, new faculty or programs, and curriculum changes which inform collection decisions.

      The Library participates in consortial memberships, such as the Orbis Cascade Alliance and Portland Academic Health Libraries, to gain a broader scope of resources and reduce unnecessary duplication. Memberships support collection development through negotiating the joint purchase of resources and no-cost user-initiated borrowing of print materials between member libraries.

      What we consider (Selection criteria)
      As the Library cannot acquire everything published in areas pertinent to the University’s programs, we consider these criteria when evaluating material for the collection.

      Format, Currency and Cost
      The Library collects primarily journals, books, and other needed resources for permanent and long-term retention. We prefer electronic journals due to their 24/7 accessibility. Print journals are purchased only when electronic access is unavailable or unreliable and the journal is considered essential.

      The Library is committed to ensuring that the digital content we purchase or license is accessible to all OHSU members. We follow OHSU policy on digital accessibility (internal link), including asking vendors for their Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) report for all products to be selected by the OHSU Library and its consortial partners.

      We acquire individual books in print or electronic format or as part of purchased or leased book packages. For the health and life sciences, we focus on current materials published in the past five years unless an older item is requested by an OHSU member, or if the information is of historical or lasting reference value.

      Works by OHSU-affiliated authors will be purchased in both formats, as the Library tries to purchase a print copy of all books (monographs) that are authored, edited or contain substantial content by OHSU members. We identify the OHSU role in the item description and permanently retain these works.

      Price is an important consideration, though the value of a resource is not measured only by its cost. When evaluating material freely offered to the Library, we consider the cost of processing, cataloging, shelving and preservation. See our Support the Library page for more information on donating materials.

      How we manage the collection
      Adding licensed resources
      A list of requested journal titles by OHSU members is maintained and evaluated in a timely fashion. In accordance with the
      Library’s Copyright Compliance practices, journal titles identified as highly requested through interlibrary loan (ILL) are evaluated at least twice a year for potential purchase. In consultation with the OHSU librarians with copyright expertise, journal subscriptions will be added to the collection.

      Requests for databases will be considered with respect to budget and similar currently held resources. We may trial a resource to gain usage data. Requestors with their own budgets may be asked to financially contribute to supporting a requested resource if the Library does not have sufficient funding.

      Suggestions for purchase of software, technology or equipment specific to Library-supported activities will be considered in consultation with the relevant Library department heads. Software requests beyond the Library’s scope will be referred to the Academic Technology Working Group of the Academic & Student Affairs Council (internal link).

      Access to course materials or program/activity-specific requests
      The Library purchases materials on instructor request for placement on reserve. Multiple print copies may be purchased when multi-user electronic format is not available to meet the expected demand and will be placed at the Biomedical Information Communication Center (
      BICC) Library. The number of copies purchased will be determined in consultation with the instructor.

      Titles designated as required and recommended in course textbook lists will be purchased. If available, we prefer electronic format with multi-user access to be accessible 24/7.

      The Library supports learning activities, including book clubs, offered by the OHSU community and will work with individuals and groups on a case-by-case basis to enable access to materials.

      Heavily used titles and response to access denial reports
      Additional copies may be purchased for titles with multiple hold requests on print titles or where multiple access denials are reported on electronic titles. Purchase will be determined in consultation with Access Services personnel.

      Cancelling subscriptions and withdrawing items
      The primary reasons driving the decision to cancel or withdraw items are:

      • No longer relevant to the OHSU missions and members
      • Lack of use

      Additional format-specific considerations include:
      Online licensed resources:

      • Cost exceeds value of content or available Library funding
      • License terms or accessibility do not meet OHSU’s requirements
      • Content is duplicated elsewhere in the Library’s collection

      Physical materials:

      • Poor physical condition
      • Newer editions are available
      • Multiple copies available locally or via consortia

      Policy reviewed and approved by OHSU Library leadership
      Last reviewed: 4 August 2021