Information Services

Collection Development Strategy

The Collection Development Strategy covers the main University of Kent library collections. For physical collections it covers those based at the Canterbury campus.

It sets out plans for the development of the collections and outlines the strategic principles we will follow, in partnership with the academic Schools, to develop a shared vision for the future.

Information Services manage extensive library collections that support the teaching, learning and research needs of the staff and students of the University of Kent. Over the next three years we expect to see rapid and significant changes happening in both the digital information landscape and the physical space of the Templeman Library.

We plan to work closely with schools to continue to strategically enhance the wide range of high quality resources we need to support emerging learning and teaching models and excellence in research - in the context of an increasingly competitive HE sector - to achieve the best possible student experience and highly effective research support.

This work will promote a strategic approach to the development of our library collections, a unique, rich and diverse University knowledge asset, incorporating collections as varied as the British Cartoon Archive, Kent Academic Repository, electronic books, substantial physical collections and numerous database subscriptions.

This strategy covers the main Canterbury-based collections, and is complemented by an equivalent Strategy for our Special Collections. It outlines the guiding strategic principles that Information Services staff will follow, building on the existing good partnership between IS and the academic Schools, to develop a shared vision for the strategic development of the collections.

Strategic Principles

IS staff will proactively:

  • Lead collaboration and promote collegiality with academic schools and academic support colleagues alongside information providers and other stakeholders
  • Build collections primarily for the people studying and researching in disciplines served by the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus
  • Lead development of the collection by acquiring appropriate new materials and managing existing ones
  • Maximise availability, accessibility and use of the information contained in these collections
  • Ensure preservation of long-term access is secured where appropriate
  • Maximise value-for-money throughout the life-cycle of materials
  • Make efficient use of available physical space


  • Work closely with all academic schools and support services to jointly develop the collections held by the University
  • Collaborate with partner libraries and external information services in all areas of strategic collection development
  • Collaborate with the IS Special Collections and Archives staff at Kent to enhance knowledge and use of collections


Manage the collections in order to serve people studying and researching subjects based at Canterbury and those working at Canterbury, but also be mindful of:

  • University of Kent people at other campuses both in Kent and abroad
  • The collections available at Canterbury Cathedral and at the Drill Hall Library as well as at our Universities at Medway partners.


  • Respond to and discuss and engage with the explicit needs of the teaching, learning and research of Kent academic staff:
    • Through readings suggested for course Reading Lists
    • Through direct recommendations
  • Contribute a strategic professional oversight, alerting and making recommendations to academic Schools for new or existing resources to complement those explicitly requested, including:
    • Materials to support research
    • Reference materials
    • Package-deals of content that meet and exceed the explicitly requested materials
    • Items identified through user demand
    • Items requested for inter-library lending or scanning
  • Maintain a programme of assessment of currency of existing materials:
    • Replacement of old editions with new where necessary
    • Permanent removal of out-of date or superseded material
  • Collect and organise the outputs of academic research at Kent.

Availability, accessibility and use

  • Seek high standards of accessibility in all formats wherever possible
  • Work with academics, Schools and students to develop and increase use of resources, including supporting the use of digital and electronic formats
  • Acquire multiple copies or user licences to facilitate access to material in high demand
  • Seek formats that maximise availability of content
    • Electronic formats will be considered for all new materials
    • Physical formats will be acquired alongside electronic holdings where deemed necessary upon IS consultation with Schools
    • Investigate electronic equivalents of existing physical holdings where accessibility would be improved
    • Physical formats will be retained where items are used in teaching, and consideration will be given to managing some items as part of the Special Collections
  • Make resources available to alumni and walk-in visitors to the Library wherever possible.

Preservation of access

  • Provide appropriate storage conditions that preserve the future use of materials
  • Ensure long-term electronic access is preserved wherever available and needed, working with external agencies where required
  • Acquire replacements for damaged or irreparable material where necessary
  • Develop and maintain a reserve collection of historically acquired materials.

Value for money

  • Seek best value for the University, considering all available financial relationships and options with material suppliers, including (but not limited to) outright purchases and subscriptions in order to make content available
  • Work with academic schools to agree appropriate funding of the cost of resources based on evidence including needs and usage, inflation and changes in the marketplace.


  • Develop the physical collections within the physical space available
    • Separating low-use material to higher density storage
    • Storing some low-use material in an on-site, fetchable location
    • Off-site storage to be used only in exceptional circumstances
  • Where secure, long term electronic access is assured to materials duplicated in physical holdings, give consideration to:
    • Moving physical holdings to high density and/or fetchable location
    • Permanent removal.


Specific Policy documents are in development for all major collections. Where this policy is still in development indicative policy statements are given,  which are intended to give a baseline structure for IS staff and Academic Schools to collaborate on collection development for their particular areas of interest. IS staff will lead the structuring of physical materials into different physical and electronic collections.


The Books Collection Development Policy was agreed in January 2014.

Reference and Bibliographic Material

The Reference Materials Policy was agreed in Spring 2013, and was last updated in January 2014.


  • Journal titles are subscribed to either on a title-by-title or content-package/database basis.
  • Electronic format is considered first choice wherever available, where preservation requirements are met, according to a forthcoming Journals Collection Policy.
    • Electronic may be augmented by print at the request of academic schools
    • Where long-term electronic access is secured to a title, the print copy will be considered for permanent removal.
    • Where electronic access significantly overlaps with print holdings, but long term access cannot be guaranteed, high density storage for print will be considered
    • Care will be taken to preserve access to print holdings according to individual subject discipline requirements.

British Government Publications

The British Government Publications Policy was agreed in January 2014.

Official and Government Publications

Electronic format is considered first choice wherever available, where preservation requirements are met, as detailed in an Official Publications Collection Policy.

  • Electronic may be augmented by print at the request of academic schools
  • Where long-term electronic access is secured to a title, the print copy will be considered for permanent removal.
  • Where electronic access significantly overlaps with print holdings, but long term access cannot be guaranteed, high density storage for print will be considered.


For newspapers that are required in original page layout, electronic access will be sought where possible.

  • Print subscriptions will be considered if electronic sources cannot meet this need.
  • Where long-term electronic access is secured to a title that is also held in micro-format, the physical copy will be considered for permanent removal or high-density storage.

General news source content will be made available through aggregated databases.

Research Outputs

The Kent Academic Repository (KAR) is used to store both full text copies and information about research created at the University. The KAR Collection Development Policy will guide the collection and management of research outputs.

Electronic Resources and Databases

New types of electronic resource are continually being made available by publishers and IS staff will advise academic schools on developments and opportunities.


  • Electronic formats are sought for multimedia content wherever possible
  • Migration to electronic formats, either by digitisation or re-purchase, will be considered wherever items remain in demand and/or required by academic schools
    • Legacy formats, including magnetic tape, are to be considered for on-going management by the IS Special Collections team.
    • Permanent removal will be considered for material that either:
      • cannot be digitised
      • cannot be feasibly preserved
      • provides poor accessibility standards
      • has very low use and is available elsewhere


Gifts and donations are considered for integration into the collections where they meet certain criteria, as laid out in the Library Donations Policy.

Implementation and governance

This strategy is ratified by the Library Users Panel, the Library Management Group and the Information Services Committee. Future changes will be raised with LMG and referred further when appropriate. This strategy will be reviewed annually.

Library Collections staff will lead the implementation of this strategy, reporting internally to the Library Management Group. IS staff will ensure that the collections we provide access to are compliant with copyright legislation.

Collection development strategy and all related policies

Digital Collections

This outlines how we manage digitised and born-digital collections on behalf of the University.

Digital Curation Policy (pdf)

Special Collections

This sets the strategic approach for how Special Collections material is acquired and managed at the University.


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Collection Development Strategy (PDF)


Information Services, University of Kent

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Last Updated: 18/03/2019