The University Library Collections Framework

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 workshopJuly 2019
Consultations with Deans and Heads of SchoolDecember 2019 – March 2020
University community survey
(including staff, students, alumni and members of the community)
September 2020
Follow up to the survey: researcher interviewsNovember 2020
Internal consultation on a Draft Collections FrameworkMarch – September 2021
Launch Collections Framework and gather feedbackMarch 2022
Review of feedbackQ3 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

Collections Framework Infographic

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.
  • 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.

An ongoing conversation

We are now seeking your feedback on the completed Framework. What do you think? The Collections Framework is considered a “living document” – we value your comments and feedback.

Supporting open access: Library Read and Publish pilot 2022

graphic of digital access

Open access means making your research available online, free of cost or other barriers to access, maximising the reach and impact of your work.

To support open access publishing within the University research community, the University of Sydney Library has signed six Read and Publish agreements, including:

From 2022, articles published by University of Sydney authors in 4500+ eligible journal titles will be freely available to all readers immediately upon acceptance for publication – without individual article processing charges (APCs). The agreements were negotiated by the CAUL consortium (Council of Australasian University Librarians) in partnership with the university library sector and publishers. For further information on each publisher, see the CAUL Read and Publish guide and journal title list.

Who is eligible?

The Read and Publish pilot is available to all University staff and Higher Degree by Research Students. To access the pilot, corresponding authors must use their email address and list “The University of Sydney” as their primary affiliation when submitting a manuscript.

What other support is available?

The University Library also supports open access archiving of research outputs via the Sydney eScholarship Repository. A small number of scholarly publishers offer APC discounts or vouchers.

For more information see the Library Open Access Guide, check the FAQ, or contact an Academic Liaison Librarian with any queries about the Read and Publish Pilot.

Library Printer in Residence – 2022

Printed work of Caren Florance

The library is very excited to have the Piscator Press active during Semester 1 once again, with Printer in Residence Caren Florance beginning her eight-week residency.

Caren’s project for the residency, ALT-SHIFT-PRINT, takes visual poetry as a starting point and will incorporate imagery via a variety of printmaking methods. As COVID has been such an important historical moment, she will be turning to a favourite classical text, Ovid’s Metamorphoses for a point of influence and connection.

Caren usually works on two consecutive outputs: something serious and sustained, and a body of peripheral, fun outputs that arise from orienting herself to the new space. As Caren describes her work:

I often work with letterpress in a traditional manner, but I’m more interested in the affordances of it as a relief printmaking process, pushing it into a more visual mode and experimenting with its relationship to digital processes. I’m interested in the ways it can print onto various materials, and how those materials can then be used.

If you’d like to see Caren at work on the Albion letterpress, swing by Level 1 at Fisher Library or book into one of her Open Studios:

A selection of Caren Florance’s work from her website

Printer in Residence Launch

Join us for a drink and some nibbles at the Piscator Press to celebrate Caren Florance’s residency and the outcome of her project ALT-SHIFT-PRINT. You’ll get to see the work Caren has been making during her time with the Press, as well as the publication which will become a part of our Rare Books and Special Collections.

Click here to register for the event

Dr Caren Florance Bio

Dr Caren Florance is an Honorary Assistant Professor in the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research (CCCR) at the University of Canberra. She has also taught at the ANU School of Art and the National Art School. Her spectrum of publications are often made under the imprint Ampersand Duck and her work is collected by international and national institutions (usually libraries).

‘Dante all’Altro Polo’ Exhibition

Image: University of Sydney

Celebrating the legacy and works of the great poet Dante Alighieri

WHEN: 22nd November – 18 June 2022
WHERE: Fisher Library, Level 2 Exhibition Space

To celebrate the 700th year anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s legacy and impact, the University of Sydney Library is proud to present Dante all’altro polo  –  Dante at the Other Pole, a Rare Books and Special Collections exhibition showcasing the poet’s work and materials. The exhibition includes several editions of Dante’s works, highlighting the intersection of the poet’s monumental contribution to our cultural heritage, and the ways in which Australian intellectuals and creative artists have responded.

Curated by Nerida Newbigin and Julie Price, with the support of The Department of Italian Studies – The Italian Cultural Institute Sydney – The Dante Alighieri Society of Sydney.

Click on this link to watch a curated video about the exhibition.

‘Dante all’Altro Polo’
Exhibition Launch Event

Webinar via Zoom

Date: Thursday 17 March 2022
Time: 6.30pm – 8pm
(webinar will be available to join at 6.20pm)

The launch of the exhibition is hosted by the University Librarian, Philip Kent, and will feature speeches by curator Nerida Newbigin and other esteemed guests.

We invite you to join the live stream of the event through the below link. As the event will be filmed, a recording will also be available for viewing at a later date.

Please click the button above to join the Zoom webinar on the day (6.30pm AEDT). For any questions regarding the event please email us at

Enhancements to eResources page

Library Search page

Faster access to online resources

Library Search helps you find all the resources you need for your assignments and research. We’ve been listening to your feedback, and we’re making access those resources even faster with some exciting improvements:

One-click access

View an online article or resource directly from the search results. Simply choose the ‘Access online’ button to skip past the item’s details page and go straight to the content. You can still view the details page by clicking on the item’s title.

Smart sign in

When accessing a resource, we’ll remember if you choose to sign in with a UniKey or Community ID account type. There’s no need to choose again next time, so now you can access resources with one less click.

We’re always improving our online services and appreciate your comments and feedback. Reach us via Live Chat or our feedback page.

Tentacular Spectacular: an exploration of deep-sea horrors and otherworldly fantasies

A collection of deep sea books from Rare Books
A collection of covers that features Lovecraftian horrors

Exploring the fascinating and entrapping journey of tentacles throughout art, culture and literature.

Inspired by Lovecraftian literature as well as visual art, film, cuisine and cephalopods, Rare Books presents Tentacular Spectacular, a dark journey into deep-sea horror, otherworldly fantasy and nightmares. Slimy, hideous, abject – tentacles are common in sci-fi depictions of alien or monstrous life forms. But sometimes, tentacles are strangely sexual and seductive.

Curator Dr Carolyn McKay, who has also curated the exhibition Lurid: Crime paperbacks and pulp fiction, has always been interested in the notion of tentacular horror in literature. As a criminologist, she is fascinated by how these otherworldly appendages have incited dread, the unknowable, the uncanny, and unthinkable violence and trauma.

WHEN: 14th February – 18 July 2022
WHERE: Fisher Library, Lv1 3 corridor & SciTech Library,
Exhibition Space

Design-a-Poster Competition

Your chance to WIN $300 voucher for arts supplies or books

Unleash the creatives! Help us promote the Library’s exhibition Tentacular Spectacular by designing a poster! We are looking for creativity and originality in incorporating tentacles and the words ‘Tentacular Spectacular’ in the design.

The winner of the competition will receive a voucher to the value of $300 for books or art supplies shop! We will announce the winner on both the Library and Sydney College of the Arts’ social media, along with the Library’s News site.

Competition Detail

Design Brief
The poster will be judged based on the creativity and originality in the incorporation of tentacles and the words ‘Tentacular Spectacular’ in the design or composition. Aesthetic quality, clear engagement with the ‘Tentacular Spectacular’ theme and professional presentation will also be taken into account.

The artwork must be scalable to print at sizes between and including A5 and A2. The poster must not use any copyrighted material, as it may be reproduced in hardcopy and digitally.

How to enter
1) Design a poster to promote the Library’s exhibition Tentacular Spectacular.
2) Register your entry details using the Enter & Submit Your Poster button below.

Prize(s) Voucher to the value of $300 for book or art supplies shop.

Submission Deadline: Competition entries close by 11pm 14 March 2022.

Eligibility Entries may only be submitted by persons who, during the Competition Period, are students currently enrolled in a degree program offered by the University.

Maximum number of Entries: One entry per student

Use this link to download the full competition entry details and terms and conditions.

If you have any questions about the competition, please contact Julie Price, Rare Books & Special Collections staff at