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Collection Development Policy

Mission statement

Adaptive to current user demands and emerging trends and technologies, the HKUST Library strives to deliver a high quality academic collection to advance effective learning as well as teaching and research excellence at the University.

Target user groups

The Library serves primarily the current students, faculty, and staff of HKUST.

Collection access

The Library physical collection is held in the Lee Shau Kee Library. Authenticated remote access is enabled for the great majority of electronic resources.

Criteria for selection

Support of the HKUST curriculum and research must be the primary focus for selection. In addition, materials of a general cultural and educational nature will be purchased, and some attention may be given to recreational materials.

Who selects and how

Users are welcomed to recommend new acquisitions via dedicated online forms. Most reasonably priced purchase requests will be acquired if they fit HKUST’s teaching and research needs. Recurrent costs, such as journal/database subscriptions or high-priced items will be considered by the Library Collection Development Committee (CDC).

The Library’s position on intellectual freedom and censorship

The Library supports intellectual freedom and opposes censorship or suppression of ideas and discussions. The emphasis is on selecting materials needed for the HKUST curriculum and research rather than on selecting or deselecting controversial items.

General policies

Approval plan: The Library has established a book approval plan with a major book supplier which delivers current titles matching the University’s teaching and research profile as soon as they are published.

Art works, posters, etc.: Though rare, the Library may acquire posters or paintings or other art works either for display within the Library or to support general education. If these are not placed for display in the Library, they will be placed in Archives and Special Collections.

Backfiles: The Library emphasizes current content, although backfiles of books, journals or newspapers may be acquired if these are identified to be collection gaps or they are deemed to provide long-lasting research value.

Contract templates: The Library normally does not acquire contract templates that have limited readership except when they are specifically requested by faculty for Reserve.

Course Reserve/Textbooks: The preference is to acquire an electronic version of a reserve title which allows multiple concurrent users with the least DRM restrictions. If no electronic format is available, the Library will consider purchasing more than one print copy depending on class size.

Data sets: The Library normally does not acquire data sets that are either expensive or can only benefit a select group of researchers.

Dissertations/Theses: By HKUST graduates, one print copy published up to 2020 is held in the Library where it may circulate. A digital version of the theses is made available via HKUST Electronic Theses Database. The Library may also acquire non-HKUST dissertations/theses to satisfy teaching and research needs.

Duplicates: In general, duplication of titles should be avoided; exceptions include items needed for Reserve and heavily used items.

Ebooks: The Library adopts multiple approaches in building its ebook collection. They include:

  • Purchase by “pick and choose” or at collection level with perpetual ownership.
  • Subscribe to ebook databases in subject areas where currency of content is of utmost importance, e.g., IT, computer sciences, engineering.
  • Expose users to a large quantity of titles via patron-driven acquisition/evidence-based model, and that only the most relevant and high-used content will be eventually purchased.

There is a strong focus on English language, supplemented by Chinese language. Where there is a choice of platforms, balancing price and other factors, the Library will acquire the version with the most intuitive interface and the most liberal DRM. Due to limited browsing and lack of export function, Kindle ebooks are restricted to popular reading.

Format: Electronic format is preferred if available.

Gifts: Due to space constraints, the Library is very selective in accepting gifts. More details.

Government publications: The Library is not a government depository but selects a good range of government publications deemed to have high reference value for HKUST users. The Library increasingly relies on the open access version instead of keeping the print equivalents.

Juvenile materials: The Library does not collect juvenile materials.

Language: The primary languages of the collection are English and Chinese. Materials in other languages, such as Japanese, Korean, French, German, etc. are acquired as appropriate for the curriculum.

Maps: The collection of antique maps, emphasizing China and Asia, is kept in Archives and Special Collections. Current maps mostly published by the Hong Kong Lands Department are kept in the Reference collection.

Market research reports: The Library does not generally acquire this publication type due to high costs and subject specificity.

Media resources: Streaming media is preferred over physical media items if available. Due to persistent decline in demand for CD and DVD, these formats will only be acquired upon user requests to meet teaching and research needs. All other requests for physical media items will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Music scores: Since HKUST only has a small number of music courses, the Library will only collect music scores to support teaching and learning at the request of the faculty.

Newspapers: The Library’s core list of print newspapers includes the major Chinese and English language Hong Kong papers as well as a representative sample of foreign papers from China and Taiwan. The print newspapers collection is deliberately kept small since a good number of international newspapers is available electronically via various subscription resources.

Open access resources: To strengthen the breadth and depth of the collection, quality open access resources matching HKUST’s teaching and research profile will be added to the Library Catalog for access and discovery.

Past examination papers: The Library does not collect past examination papers, nor is there a locally-developed database to hold such information. Past examination papers will be put on Reserve only at the request of the faculty.

Public examination practice tests: Users are expected to buy their own practice materials. The Library will only acquire a small quantity of the most popular examination prep books such as CRE, GRE, and IELTS.

Patents: Document Supply Service will assist in the securing of the needed patents. No purchases will be made since patents are freely available via public domain.

Popular books: To support general education and foster leisure reading, the Library does purchase some materials of a popular nature. In addition to print format, popular books are also acquired in Kindle format and made available via loanable Kindle sets. A large variety of bestsellers, fiction and non-fiction is being added, with some exclusions such as travel guides, fortune telling, fashion, beauty, parenting or childcare.

Replacements: Items lost, vandalized, or in too poor condition for continued use will be evaluated for replacement. If applicable, the latest edition will be acquired.

Reprints: Reprints will only be acquired when they are the only option available in the market and clear of copyright concerns.

Solution manuals: The Library does not generally acquire solution manuals, except when they are specifically requested by faculty for Reserve.

Standards: Due to high prices and limited readership, the Library does not generally acquire individual standards, except when they are specifically requested by faculty for Reserve.

Subscriptions: Only current faculty and research staff can recommend database or journal subscriptions. Requestors are required to submit an application form. Not all can be approved due to budget constraints. Criteria for consideration include pricing, impact factor, subject relevance, uniqueness, size of users benefiting from the new resource, or whether the title is available via aggregator databases or in any of the Hong Kong JULAC libraries.

Translations: The collection includes some translations of world literature into Chinese, and English language translations may also be purchased for certain Chinese, Asian, or European materials.

Usage analysis: The Library places strong emphasis on acquiring resources that most fit the University’s teaching and research needs. CDC will make informed decisions based on COUNTER usage reports or non-COUNTER compliant reports that can reasonably reveal the research needs of our users.

Weeding: To free up shelf space for new materials, weeding is performed as an ongoing activity of collection maintenance, focusing on outdated/low-used materials, old editions, obsolete format, or materials with electronic equivalents.

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last modified 16 May 2024