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Reference Collection Development Guidelines

Selection Guidelines

I.     Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide collection guidelines for the Kent  State University   Main Library's Reference Collection.  The Reference Collection at Kent State University's Main Library is designed to serve the reference needs of a broad spectrum of users.  In addition to supporting all aspects of study currently offered at the University, the collection must meet research needs of visiting scholars, community borrowers, and high school students.

II.      Location of Collection

Reference materials will be contained within the Reference Collection located on the 1st floor of the main library.  Areas include a Ready Reference shelf, Index Tables, and the regular Reference Collection.


III.     Scope of Coverage

A.  Language

The primary language of the collection is English.  However, non-English language materials may be added to the reference collection if they are superior to or compliment English language resources.  No restrictions will be made on language for work that is necessary for research or supports university curriculum.

B.  Geographic

The reference collection is not restricted by any geographic limitations.

C.  Date of Publication

The goal of the reference colleciton is to provide information that is current and authoritative.  Older and standard reference materials may be retained within the reference collection, depending upon the type of academic discipline the material represents.  Theses decisions will be left to the appropriate liaison Reference librarian.

Accurate and current information is particularly important in a field such as Reference, so every effort will be made to ensure that the materials located in the Reference Collection are up-to-date and comprehensive.

D.  Treatment of Subject

The content of the Reference Collection should be scholarly and authoritative in nature. 

IV.     Materials Selection

A.  Print Materials

Materials under consideration for selection for the Reference Collection are evaluated using the following guidelines:

1.  Authority of the item; author, publisher, sources.

2.  Cost

3.  Currency of the item

4.  Relevance of the item to the collection

B.  Electronic Materials

Electronic materials are becoming the preferred format for the Reference Collection.  These items will be further evaluated using the following criteria:

1.  Ease of use

2.  Copyright restrictions

3.  Number of updates available; timeliness of updates

4.  Hardware and software requirements

V.  Collection Levels

Almanacs, annuals, and yearbooks - the latest editions are purchased.  These items should be reflective of the research trends of the University.

Bibliographies - General bibliographies may be included in the Reference Collection.  Narrow or single topic bibliographies are generally not placed in the Reference Collection.

Biographical Directories - Major universal and national works are included.  Works of a more narrow scope are evaluatedon their individual merits.

Career guides - A small number of current and comprehensive career guides are collected.

Companions and specialized dictionaries - Items that reflect the programs of the University are collected.

Dictionaries - The Reference Collection acquires the most authoritative and scholarly works available in this area.

English language dictionaries - A wide range of general and specialized dictionaries are collected.

Foreign language dictionaries - For languages taught at the University, an extensive collection of dictionaries are collected.  Dictionaries that are necessary to supplement the University's new translation program are also collected.  For other languages, translation dictionaries are collected.

Dissertation guides - The University Library subscribes to several dissertation databases.

Electronic information services - The University Library subscribes to a wide range of electronic resources available both online and offline.  These resources may include bibliographic resources, numeric, or full text in nature.

Encyclopedias - The Reference Collection contains current general encyclopedias along with subject specific encyclopedias.  Many of these resources are also available electronically.

Government documents - Govrnment documents are included in the Reference Collection on a selective basis.

Guides to Undergraduate and Graduate studies - The Reference Collection contains several guides, including course catalogs and comparative studies.

Indexing and abstracting services - Interdisciplinary and subject specific  indexes are collected.  It should be noted that these items are being collected primarily as electronic resources.

Periodical, newspaper, dictionaries, and union lists - Bibliographies of periodicals and newspapers are collected.

Quotation and proverb books - Current editions of quotation and proverb books are collected.

Style manuals - A wide selection of current style manuals are collected.