Collection Development Principles & Policies

The UC San Diego Library collects materials in all formats to support the university’s research and instructional programs. The Library's primary emphasis is on acquiring current materials and providing access to online resources.

Because UC San Diego is part of the wider University of California System, we are able to exert greater market leverage and benefit from the consortial acquisition of electronic resources via the California Digital Library (CDL). UC and the CDL continually and collectively negotiate for the most economical methods possible for the licensing and acquisition of an array of scholarly resources across the disciplines.

As part of the UC System, we have access to the rich holdings of print books and journals located at other campuses, as well as at the UC's off-site high-density storage facilities, the Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF) and the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF). These UC-wide collections appear in the Melvyl database, a union catalog of all materials owned by the University of California Libraries.

As an internationally recognized research destination, the UC San Diego Library has traditionally collected media as well as current monographs and serials published in print. The publishing world is now in a state of flux and the emphasis has shifted to providing access to scholarly research materials online. To support this shift, the UC San Diego Library partnered with Google to digitize materials from our International Relations/Pacific Studies collection and the East Asia Collections. In cases when scholarly materials are published in multiple formats, the Library prefers to acquire material in one format only in order to make the most effective use of the university’s financial resources. While online materials are preferred for ease of access, when other formats are more effective, of higher quality, or a better value, the Library acquires print, microforms, and other non-digital formats to best serve the needs of our faculty, staff, and students. See Preferred Journal Format Policy.

Collections & Offsite Storage Policy
One of the key strategic commitments of the UC San Diego Library is to maximize the use of campus library spaces to provide a variety of study, research, and cultural opportunities. Given that the collections grow by approximately 50,000 physical volumes every year, conserving library space entails identifying and carefully monitoring the print volumes and other collections that remain in the campus library buildings.

The UC San Diego Library's first priority is to make our materials easily available. Therefore those materials that are needed to support the campus’s current academic programs are either accessible online or kept on campus. The Library has acquired many journal runs and an increasing number of books in online formats that duplicate holdings in the print collections. This allows us to take advantage of off-site storage to free valuable library space. The factors considered in choosing materials to send to storage include use, circulation, and online availability.

Gift of Library Materials
The UC San Diego Library welcomes gifts of selected materials for the collections. Gifts enhance the Library's existing collections and support the commitment of UC San Diego to excellence in research and instruction. Such gifts include personal research papers, datasets, letters, manuscripts, and other appropriate research materials.  Outdated textbooks, popular books and magazines, vinyl sound recordings, reprints, commonly available journals, materials that duplicate what is already owned, and materials in poor condition are generally not accepted for the collections.

The Library encourages prospective donors, especially those interested in making sizeable donations of materials to first contact the appropriate Collection Coordinator or the office of the Associate University Librarian for Collection Services. In order to facilitate review, an inventory is always helpful and may be requested. To ensure maximum accessibility to the Library's resources, donors are asked not to place restrictions on housing, access, processing, or related matters. The Library reserves the right to decline an offer of material that is already held in the collections or that does not meet collection needs.