Building a rich and diverse collection to support learning, teaching and research.
Over the past decade, accelerating in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, there have been systemic changes to the delivery of teaching and learning, remote research and professional work, and changing publication and access models. The new Library Collections Framework responds to this changing environment. It is a set of principles and practical guidelines to guide the development of a sustainable collection that meets the needs of the University community – now and into the future.
How did we get here?
From 2019-21, the University Library commenced a program of consultation to inform the development of a revised and updated Collections Framework. Consultations included workshops, surveys, interviews and meetings with a range of stakeholders from across the University, including Deans and Heads of School, academic and professional staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students, alumni and community borrowers, and Library Staff.
|Library Staff workshop||July 2019|
|Consultations with Deans and Heads of School||December 2019 – March 2020|
|University community survey|
(including staff, students, alumni and members of the community)
|Follow up to the survey: researcher interviews||November 2020|
|Internal consultation on a Draft Collections Framework||March – September 2021|
|Launch Collections Framework and gather feedback||March 2022|
|Review of feedback||Q3 2022|
What did we learn?
From workshops to interviews to survey responses, our community and stakeholders had a lot to say! Below is a summary of the top five things we learned from our community through the University-wide collections survey and follow-up interviews.
- Respondents love our Library staff! From praise for a specific individual or service, to a general appreciation for the work that library staff do.
- Respondents cared about whether they could easily access information resources for their work, in particular accessing electronic resources during the pandemic/remote work.
- Respondents were eager for clearer communications from the library regarding collections, opportunities for improved consultation and feedback, and collaboration between organisations.
- Many respondents mentioned they preferred electronic journals to print. Others noted a preference for print monographs, reflecting the different ways staff and students in different disciplines interact with scholarly content in their learning and research.
- Multiple comments reflected concern around retention and the longevity of access to physical and electronic resources.
A framework based on guiding principles
Through the consultation process, these themes were translated into high-level guiding Collection Principles, including:
- Openness and transparency of process and communication around collections, with mechanisms for ongoing consultation and feedback.
- Equity of access to collections and information resources.
- Ethical and diverse collecting, with a commitment to collect a greater diversity of voices and perspectives for future scholars. The Collection Principles give effect to the University of Sydney Library Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Protocols in professional collections practice.
- Supporting the Charter of freedom of speech and academic freedom with a collection that reflects the teaching, learning and research needs of the University community.
- A commitment to the preservation of the scholarly record through considered collection management, local and international industry partnerships.
Practical guidelines for collection management
In addition to the Collection Principles, Collection Guidelines provide an overview of practical collection management considerations, to guide the Library’s annual, ongoing program of collection management activities.
The Collections Framework website also includes the Library’s Digitisation Framework, which sets out the Library’s processes for prioritisation, assessment, selection, risk management, and licensing items and collections for open access.
A big thank you
The Library would like to thank the university community for engaging with the library collections survey and follow-up interviews, especially through the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic. Thanks to the generosity of the university community, we were able to gather a rich set of perspectives on our collections, services, and role within the University and wider community.