Collection Development Policy for Reference
Purpose of the Policy
The Reference Collection Development Policy establishes guidelines for the
placement of materials in the reference collection. The Policy also
establishes procedures for acquiring new materials and for weeding the
The Reference Collection
Materials in the reference collection are non-circulating, designed to
meet the research needs of the students, faculty, and staff of the
University of West Georgia and to support the curriculum of the
University. Reference materials are not limited by format. Items are
placed in reference in accordance with the Selection Criteria for the
Reference Collection and the Library Collection Development Policy. As
a general rule, only the latest edition of a source is shelved in
reference; older editions are transferred to the circulating collection
The reference collection includes general reference items, reference
atlases, indexes/abstracts, government documents reference sources, and
the ready reference collection, which is a separate, mini- collection of
reference materials that is immediately available for frequent
Reference materials generally will be limited to sources which are
designed for consultation rather than continuous reading and are usually
arranged to facilitate rapid retrieval of information. Items will be
considered for Ready Reference only if there is a frequent and ongoing
need for consulting the material.
The reference collection is located on the main floor of Ingram Library.
Library users have open access to the reference materials.
Principles of Intellectual Freedom
Ingram Library supports the principles of intellectual freedom, which
guarantee access to various expressions of knowledge.
The primary users of the reference collection are the students, faculty,
and staff of the University of West Georgia. The general public
may also use the collection.
Selection Criteria for the Reference Collection
Selection of materials for reference is based on the following criteria:
- Selection criteria for reference materials shall be
consistent with the Library Collection Development Policy regarding
- Materials will be selected for quick consultation and ease of use.
- Materials will be authoritative, based upon evaluation of the
subject content and the author's/producer's/ publisher's credentials.
Preference will be given to items with favorable reviews in reputable
- Materials will be current when appropriate.
- Access to similar information in several different sources will be
kept to a minimum. Within certain subject areas, some redundancy may be
necessary. In those instances, selection will be based on the Library
Collection Development Policy, the level of demand for the information,
and the unique features or access points that the materials offer.
- Sources will be selected for use by the University's primary user
- When appropriate, items will contain good quality illustrations.
- Materials will be selected based on the strengths and weaknesses
of the existing reference collection.
- When both hardbound and paperback editions exist for the same
source, preference may be given to the hardbound edition.
The same criteria apply for electronic sources with the addition of
hardware and software considerations and licensing agreements.
Types of Materials Included in the Reference Collection
Reference collection materials shall be supportive of the Library
Collection Development Policy and shall be pertinent to the chronological,
geographical, and subject scope of courses taught at the University
of West Georgia. Supplemental materials outside these guidelines are also
collected to maintain a viable information resource for the University
community. Much of the Reference Collection is in the English language,
but emphasis will also be placed on appropriate materials in any language
which support the curriculum of the University of West Georgia.
The following list, which is illustrative not exhaustive, represents the
types of materials collected for reference.
- Almanacs, Annuals, and Yearbooks: Major national and
- Bibliographies: General, national, and trade bibliographies;
Bibliographies with narrow subject scope are usually placed in the
- Biographical Sources: National, international, and
professional biographies, retrospective and current
- Dictionaries: Unilingual, bilingual, polyglot and
- Encyclopedias: Selected general and subject
- Genealogy: Selected sources with a concentration on Georgia
- Geographical Sources: Selected authoritative country,
specialized, and historical atlases, and gazetteers
- Heraldry: A limited number of selected sources
- Handbooks: Various subject areas that support the University
- Indexes and Abstracts: Numerous subject and general indexes
and abstracts with emphasis given to subjects which support the University
- Legal Materials: Legal sources that support courses taught in
business, education, and constitutional law; basic United States and
Georgia legal materials
- Quotations: Major collections in English
- State and Local Information: Georgia and Carroll County
- Statistical Sources: Selected national and international
- Style Manuals: Recent editions of selected manuals
- Other Materials: Information sources based on usefulness to
primary users and perceived need
General management of the reference collection is the responsibility of
the reference librarian. However, library liaisons are responsible for
collection development for their subject areas, including ordering,
weeding, and designating materials for relocation. Items in ready
reference should be reviewed yearly by the reference librarian, with input
from the Instructional Services staff, to maintain the usefulness of the
Acquisition of New Materials for the Reference Collection
New materials may be acquired for the reference collection in the
Library liaisons should monitor the reference collection routinely and
order reference materials for their subject areas.
The reference librarian, as a part of overall management of the
collection, may order materials for the reference collection.
The reference stacks, reference index area, and reference CDs are arranged
in accordance with the Library of Congress Classification System. A
separate Ready Reference collection is arranged into sections of Library
of Congress call numbers and Superintendent of Documents numbers. The
atlas stands are arranged by topic. Reference government documents are
arranged by the Superintendent of Documents number or according to the
Library of Congress call number.
With careful adherence to the Selection Criteria for the Reference
Collection, extensive weeding of the reference collection should be
unnecessary. However, library liaisons should evaluate their subject
areas yearly to ensure the continued usefulness of the reference
collection. General reference materials should be evaluated by the
reference librarian annually. Materials which are duplicates, out of
date, incomplete, superceded, in poor condition, of greater use in the
circulating collection, or in subject areas that are not vital to
Reference will be considered for weeding and/or relocation to the
Academic research beyond the scope of library reference materials is
available and supported through online electronic resources.
Review of Policy
This policy should be reviewed on an annual basis by the Instructional
Services Division of Ingram Library.