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Collection Development Policy


The Collection Development Policy of the Health Sciences Library guides the development of the Library’s collections from acquisition to retention of materials over time. The Library collects materials in support of the mission and goals of the Library and the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and this policy constitutes a commitment on the part of the Library to maintain a collecting program that meets the needs of the JABSOM’s faculty and students. This policy provides a framework for decision making by establishing collection priorities and levels and is directed to Library staff, who are responsible for its implementation, to library users, who contribute to the policy’s ongoing relevance through their use of the collection, and to Library and University administrators, who provide fiscal support to the Library and its collections.



The Health Sciences Library’s primary mission is to support the students, staff, and faculty of JABSOM and its academic, research, and clinical programs.


The Library secondarily serves the Schools of Nursing and Social Work and the rest of the UH Mānoa faculty, students, and staff, and the University of Hawai‘i System.


Finally, the Library serves the biomedical researchers and health care professionals in the community. And, as a member of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, this Library serves practitioners in the Pacific Southwest Region

Coordination of Collecting Responsibilities

The Health Sciences Library shares responsibility with the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa Library (UHM Library) in supporting the needs of JABSOM students, staff, and faculty. The UHM Library collects materials in the basic sciences, while the Health Sciences Library focuses on collecting materials in the clinical science fields. By minimizing duplication between the two libraries, dollars are maximized and students, faculty, and staff have access to the broadest range of materials.

The Health Sciences Library coordinates the selection of materials with the UH Mānoa Library.

Scope & Coverage


Materials are collected in English.


Acquisition emphasis is primarily on current publications (past 5 years).


The library primarily collects books and journals, and secondarily audiovisual materials, models, posters, pamphlets, etc. Where feasible, electronic journals are given preference over print counterparts. (Please see the Collection Development Policy for Electronic Resources Section).


All collections in the Health Sciences Library should be regularly reviewed. Individual items may be reviewed for deselection based on our collection development policy criteria. Deselected items are removed from the collection and all associated indexing.

In general, only the most current editions of reference materials, textbooks, and books are retained. Approximately twenty to twenty-five years of journal backfiles will be retained by the Library in print. A title-by-title review will determine the time span of backfiles held for each journal. Journals of particular or historical significance may be kept longer.

Collection Areas

Reference materials – The Library collects general and specified sources of information. Materials may be in print and/or electronic formats. These materials include, but are not limited to, general and medical dictionaries, abstracts and indexes to periodical literature, directories, handbooks, book catalogs, educational guides, health/medical encyclopedias, statistical compendia, and style manuals.

Textbooks – The Library collects significant textbooks in the clinical sciences.

Clinical and research materials – The Library collects materials to support the instructional and research goals of the JABSOM departments: Allied Medical Sciences, Anatomy & Reproductive Biology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, Cell & Molecular Biology, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Family Practice & Community Health, Geriatric Medicine, Internal Medicine, Native Hawaiian Health, Obstetrics/Gynecology & Women’s Health, Pathology, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychiatry, Public Health Sciences & Epidemiology, Surgery, Tropical Medicine & Medical Microbiology.

Specialized Selection Criteria

Gifts in Kind

The Health Sciences Library may accept donations of library materials on condition of full ownership and responsibility for disposition. Acceptance is based on the criteria set forth in this policy. Items are added to the collection or disposed of at the discretion of library personnel.

Hawaiian Materials

Health sciences materials relevant to Hawai‘i will be collected using a broader spectrum of collection criteria than normally applied. These materials include publications of and about Hawai‘i, the people of Hawai‘i, and persons or organizations associated with JABSOM.

Asia and the Pacific Materials

Special attention will be made to collect health sciences materials relevant to Asia and the Pacific.


Internal duplication is avoided except under very special circumstances that undergo continual review. Duplication of titles among formats may occur to maximize public access to library materials.

Collection Development Policy for Electronic Resources

This section of the policy applies to electronic resources (e.g. databases, e-journals, and e-books) and the special considerations that arise from the electronic format that is absent with traditional formats. Special considerations include, but are not limited to, cost, technical considerations, ease of use, accessibility, and licensing arrangements. No electronic resource will be considered for acquisition unless it first meets the standards outlined elsewhere in this document relating to scope, coverage and specialized selection criteria.

Electronic access is the preferred format over traditional formats if all other criteria are met reasonably well.

In addition, the Health Sciences Library coordinates the selection of electronic resources with the UH Mānoa Library.


This policy addresses the selection of the following types of electronic materials:

  • Journals, books, proceedings, abstracts and indexes, and databases.
  • Resources available on the World Wide Web. These may include access to publisher’s websites, search engines, and subject directories.
  • Other types of electronic resources that may be developed.

This policy does not cover general purpose applications software such as authoring programs, reference management programs, integrated library management programs, etc.

Selection Criteria

  • Must meet the content, scope, quality, and currency criteria outlined elsewhere in this document. The frequency of product content updates should also be considered.
  • Accessibility
      • Resources available to many simultaneous users are preferred over single user systems. Products accessible on any university campus (including non-contiguous/non-adjacent and satellite campuses) and remotely to authorized users are preferred.
    • Access to remotely loaded resources through a vendor or consortium sites must be considered in terms of speed and performance of the system at peak times; speed and performance in loading and printing documents; the need to deploy client software on the local desktop computers.
    • Vendor restrictions on accessibility via usernames/passwords, IP ranges, remote access, etc. and considerations about library staff time to maintain restrictions must be considered.
    • OpenURL compliant products are preferred.
  • Ease of use, intuitive navigation, and quality layout, function, and design.
  • Technical requirements, especially compatibility with library’s existing and/or future hardware and software.
  • The quality, reliability, and responsiveness of vendor technical support and training for the resource(s).
  • Availability and quality of user documentation, such as user guides, handbooks, manuals, and brochures.
  • Perpetuity rights – License agreements should include provisions for perpetual access to the information accessible during the contract period (in the event that the contract is discontinued).
  • Copyright and fair use – License agreements should permit normal library functions such as reference service, interlibrary loans, document delivery, course reserves, internal/personal photocopying, etc.
  • Provision of usage statistics.
  • Cost-effectiveness must be weighed in terms of the criteria above as well as compared to the cost of similar information available in other formats. Free resources will be evaluated using the criteria set forth throughout this policy.
  • Customer references and published product reviews should be consulted.


In general, the Library will acquire any given information source in one format only, although exceptions may exist. Items will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for determining duplication among formats.