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Collection Development Policy

The UIC Library supports the research, education, service, and patient care activities of the University by ensuring that faculty, students, and other users have access to a broad and diversified range of scholarly resources, both through its own collection and through resource sharing with other institutions.  Licensed electronic resources are available at all UIC Library locations and remotely for UIC faculty, staff, and students.  Most print resources, with the exception of Special Collections and University Archives, can be readily shared with all UIC Library locations.  Through resource sharing, vast collections of materials held by other libraries are also available to UIC faculty, staff, and students.  As a public university, our collections are open to the general public.

UIC liaison librarians communicate with members of the University community to identify resources needed for research, education, and patient care needs.  As both academic programs and the resources that support them evolve and change, liaisons strive to meet new information needs and optimize the collection within budgetary constraints. If you like, you may recommend an item for the library to purchase.

Special Collections and University Archives and the UIC digital image collections will be covered by other policies which are under development.

Collection Guidelines

  • Develop high-quality collections in all relevant subject areas using multiple formats (print, electronic, microfilm, etc…) that support UIC research, education, patient care, and service activities.
  • Conduct regular assessment to optimize the collections within budget constraints.
  • Maintain a core collection for each discipline at UIC.
  • Monitor new and evolving areas of scholarship and teaching at UIC and provide resources needed to support them.
  • Purchase resources when possible and economically feasible rather than leasing them to ensure long-term access.
  • Increase access to information resources through resource sharing and cooperative collection development with other libraries and institutions.
  • Share the opportunities and impact of changing scholarly communication models with faculty and participate in open access initiatives when feasible.  Facilitate the discovery of scholarly open access materials.

 Selection Criteria

  • Quality, scholarly value, and scope of content
  • Relevance to UIC research and academic programs
  • Recommendations of faculty and students
  • Anticipated use and demonstrated need
  • Cost, including both initial purchase price and ongoing fees, within the framework of available funding
  • Quality of user interface and accessibility for persons with disabilities
  • Remote access provisions, and other technical support requirements

Issues Affecting Collections Development

  • Important new journals often have such high prices that the library does not subscribe automatically, but rather tries to negotiate better pricing either individually or through consortia. In the meantime we will obtain needed articles for UIC patrons via ILLiad.
  • DVD and streaming media sometimes do not include public performance rights, so some library holdings can only be viewed in the classroom or by individuals, but not by campus groups. Currently, the library purchases DVD’s and streaming media for classroom use and occasionally for research needs. If you wish to stream media yourself for your classes, please follow fair use guidelines.
  • Limited budgets necessitate choices among resources rather than subscribing to all. If the Library cannot purchase or subscribe to a resource, we will facilitate access through interlibrary loan and resource sharing if possible.
  • Resource prices generally increase 3% or more per year. The UIC Library collections budget has not kept pace with inflation in recent years, diminishing our purchasing power.  Nationwide, most academic libraries face the same issue.

Collection Maintenance

  • Print monographs: Most are retained. Duplicate copies, damaged items, and material no longer relevant to UIC programs are withdrawn from the collection.  Depending on need and use, monographs may not be preserved in multiple languages.  Steps are taken to ensure there is still a copy in the state for any withdrawn item that is unique, in good condition, and of scholarly significance.  At the Daley Library, older monographs that have not been used for many years are sent to remote storage but still available to patrons.  The Library of the Health Sciences stores all older print monographs at its Chicago location.
  • Electronic monographs (e-books): E-books are obtained by the Library in both rental and purchase agreements. For purchased e-books, libraries are working on ways to ensure permanent preservation of owned content.  The Library does not have permanent access to rented e-books; if a book you need is no longer available, please contact your liaison librarian
  • Journals: Journals are retained in print or electronic format.  If ownership rights to the electronic content are obtained from a reliable publisher or platform, print is usually withdrawn.  The exception to this is in the health sciences – currently all print health sciences journals are maintained for the region. Most newspapers are not retained in print, but select titles are kept in microfilm or electronic formats.

Resource Sharing and Collaboration

The UIC Library is part of CARLI I-Share, an Illinois network of 91 member libraries that share a merged catalog, enabling UIC users to request material from another CARLI I-Share library without mediation.  This gives UIC users access to a statewide collection of 14.7 million titles.  The UIC Library also offers patrons traditional interlibrary loan services for books, journal articles, and other formats.

The UIC Library is a member of the Center for Research Libraries, which has a vast collection of international newspapers, journals, documents, dissertations, archives, and other print and digital resources available to members.  The CRL catalog can be found online.  UIC patrons must make an appointment and show a valid i-card to use the CRL collection on site, and can also request materials through inter-library loan.  UIC patrons can also use other Chicago libraries, details can be found here:

UIC is a member of HathiTrust, “an international community of research libraries committed to the long-term curation and availability of the cultural record” through “common efforts and a deep commitment to the public good.”  The HathiTrust collection is available online and in the I-Share catalog. Anyone can use items in the public domain; and additional resources may be used as needed by patrons who are print-disabled or blind.  The HathiTrust collection grows continually as member libraries contribute content.


The UIC Library collections have been greatly enhanced by generous gifts.  Monetary donations may be made.  Due to space considerations and the costs of processing gifts, donations of books, journals, and other print content are carefully evaluated by liaison librarians before acceptance.  Items widely held in Illinois and available via I-Share for borrowing will likely not be added.  Once accepted, the UIC Library owns the gift materials and may choose to dispose of them.

Supporting Changes in Scholarly Communication

Scholarly communication “is the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use” (ACRL – Association of College & Research Libraries). The advent of electronic publishing affords opportunities to change traditional models of scholarship dissemination and to make materials open to the public, known as open access.  The UIC Library is facilitating changes in scholarly communication through an institutional repository (INDIGO), an open access publishing fund, memberships in key open access initiatives, and an open access journal publishing platform.  More information can be found at our pages on Publishing, Scholarly Communication, and Open Access.

Reviewed and updated January 2020

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