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Collection Development Guidelines: Collecting Levels

Collecting Levels for APSU Academic Department Collection Development Plans

To provide guidance regarding levels of intensity for collecting materials within the various academic disciplines, the APSU Library uses the Research Libraries Group (RLG) Conspectus model. The RLG Conspectus is a system of collecting levels employing a uniform set of descriptors for use within collection development plans created for each academic department or program at APSU. The collecting levels are described below. It should be noted that these collecting levels are aspirational goals, and thus are subject to the usual limitations of changing resources, in particular budgetary restrictions.

Collecting Levels
Number Level Title & Description Notes

The Library does not collect in this area.



Minimal Level:
A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works. For foreign law collections, this includes statutes and codes.


This level is typically used for non-academic collections such as the popular reading books.

Basic Information Level:
A collection of up-to-date general materials that serve to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It may include dictionaries, encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, bibliographies, handbooks, a few major periodicals, in the minimum number that will serve the purpose. A basic information collection is not sufficiently intensive to support any courses of independent study in the subject area involved. For law collections, this includes selected monographs and loose-leaf titles in American law and case reports and digests in foreign law.


This level is used for disciplines in which some materials are desired, but for which APSU does not have degree programs.
3. Instructional Support Level:
A collection that in a university is adequate to support undergraduate and most graduate instruction, or sustained independent study; that is, adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject. In American law collections, this includes comprehensive trade publications and loose-leaf materials, and for foreign law, periodicals and monographs.
Most degree programs at APSU fall within this level.

Research Level:

A collection that includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It is intended to include all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field. Older material is retained for historical research. Government documents are included in American and foreign law collections.
Support of new doctoral level programs is a challenging aspirational goal that will take many years to realize fully.

Comprehensive Level:
A collection which, so far as is reasonably possible, includes all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, and other forms), in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collecting intensity is one that maintains a " special collection." The aim, if not achievement, is exhaustiveness. Older material is retained for historical research. In law collections, this includes manuscripts, dissertations, and material on non-legal aspects.


APSU does not collect at the comprehensive level.


General Selection Guidelines

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