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Media Collection Development Policy


As information technology has continued to grow, the methods of dispensing information to library users have increased dramatically. A variety of media now play an important role in library service, providing both primary and secondary sources for the research and learning process. At Fairfield University, media materials are collected both to support the teaching mission of the University and to support research and independent learning.

The recognition of these materials as an essential educational resource has guided the development of the media collection. Items appropriate to the specific undergraduate and graduate programs offered by the University are given primary consideration, with other interdisciplinary, well established, and timely materials also actively collected to strengthen the library's core holdings. Standard bibliographies, reviews from commercial, trade, and professional journals, syllabi, award winning films or albums and other recommended media lists, accreditation guidelines, and patron suggestions are among the resources used to select media materials for the library collection.

As an integral part of the library collection, media materials receive full Library of Congress classification, and are represented in the online public access catalog. All materials acquired conform to current copyright regulations. The four factors of fair use (section 107, 17 U.S.C.) and the performances and displays provision (section 110, 17 U.S.C.) found in the 1979 Copyright Act are observed for all recordings.

Selection Responsibility and Criteria

The University Librarian delegates primary selection responsibility for media materials to the Student Engagement & Outreach Librarian. The Student Engagement & Outreach Librarian maintains a current set of selection tools for media materials, including publisher and distributor catalogs (mostly Web-based), and continually monitors critical issues such as pricing, copyright developments, and alternative sources for materials. In cases where the cost of a media program is substantial, no-cost or nominally priced previewing of items, by the requesting party, is suggested, if time and budgetary constraints make it appropriate. All media materials are purchased with life-of-tape licensing; short-term use and duplication rights are not acquired. Most educational programs are purchased with public performance rights. Non-educational programs, such as feature films, are not purchased with public performance rights.

The Student Engagement & Outreach Librarian works closely with the faculty and the liaison librarians in selecting materials for the media collection. Formats collected are chosen to meet the demands of the university community and to offer the most convenient, cost-effective, and appropriate access of information to library patrons.

Formats currently being collected are:

Downloadable and Streaming formats:
Individual streaming products (video and audio) appear in the library catalog as well as larger Academic collections of film and music featured in the database list from vendors such as Films on Demand, Alexander Street Press, and Naxos.

Digital Video Disks (DVD):
Programming includes educational, documentary, and historical video productions and motion pictures; feature films; television series; musical and theatrical performances; teleconferences; and programs transferred to video from other media for archival purposes. Video produced on campus are also collected, and must meet the same selection criteria as commercial programming. Official University-sponsored activities, such as commencements and established lecture series, are routinely collected, but student and classroom presentations are not generally considered appropriated for the collection. These materials may be made accessible to students through the library's Reserve Desk. Programming on DVD also includes multimedia tutorials.

Compact Disks (CD):
Programming includes musical performances, historical and spoken word recordings.

Other formats:
Other forms of media are not normally collected. Consideration will be made, however, on a case-by-case basis, for obtaining specific outstanding items that are not available in any of the above formats.

Multiple copies of media materials are not purchased except in unique circumstances as determined by the Student Engagement & Outreach Librarian. Application software will not be considered for purchase, as it comes bundled with restrictive license agreements that limit its shared use in a library environment. Audio-visual equipment is acquired by the library to support and provide access to those media items currently being collected.

Funding for the purchase of media materials comes from two sources: the library materials budget and an endowment fund. In general, the materials budget is used for the primary development of the media collection and the purchase of programming to support the current curriculum. When necessary, endowment funds may be used to supplement the materials budget; more often, they are used to acquire expensive items or multi-part series, or provide core materials for new programs and courses. In some cases, the library may also share the cost of programs with academic departments within the University. Items that fall into this category are generally too expensive for the library to purchase alone, and will be used heavily as instructional materials.