Collection parameters

What we collect

The UA Libraries are funded to support the research, teaching, and outreach needs of the campus at large. We operate on the principle that the resources we provide should be equally available to any UA user, typically through IP-access on campus and through NetID login for off-campus use.  As a research library, we also prioritize the acquisition of content that's expected to have enduring scholarly value for our core users.

Digital preferred

For over a decade, the UA Libraries have focused on acquiring content in a single format and copy. Our preferred format has been digital. Today, almost all of our journal subscriptions and the majority of new books are digital. This approach allows us to provide access to more content, provide our users with anytime/anywhere access to most books and journals, and helps us avoid building and managing costly off-site storage facilities. 

We still acquire content in print rather than, or in addition to, a digital format when there's a significant need that outweighs the expanded access that a digital copy allows (including accessibility for the print disabled). You can also borrow print books through interlibrary loan. If the need is ongoing, you can request that we buy a print copy and add it to our collection.

What we don’t collect

We don't purchase or license information resources or cloud-based information services/software for campus that are available exclusively to a particular group (college, unit, discipline, etc.) or set of individuals. This includes things like:

  • Many electronic textbooks or other consumable educational content, 
  • Courseware,
  • Cloud-based software subscriptions or resources that are priced or delivered on a per-account/individual basis.

What about textbooks required for courses?

Through our Course Driven Acquisitions program (CDA), we buy titles that instructors have identified as required readings through the UA BookStores’ textbook adoption process, if

  1. We can obtain them in a format that's available online to all UA faculty, staff, or students (not just to students in the class) through IP authentication on campus and through NetID login elsewhere,
  2. We'll own the content/titles in perpetuity, and
  3. They'll be available with sufficient access to meet the needs of the course (e.g., unlimited access, or with enough simultaneous users to meet the expected demand).

Up to 20% of required texts can often be acquired by the Libraries (potentially saving students hundreds of thousands of dollars a year), but this typically excludes traditional textbooks, since they and other consumables are developed for sale in the individual marketplace and aren't made available to libraries under the access and license terms that that we require. To be sure your students benefit from the Course Driven Acquisitions program, submit your textbook adoptions on time to the UA BookStores each semester.

How we can help you  

If you're unsure whether a text or resource you need for your research or teaching could be provided by the UA Libraries, contact your librarian.