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Content & Collection Management Policy: Introduction

CD Policy revised 2022



The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the evaluation, selection, and management of all content in the collections of the Robert W. Woodruff Library (RWWL), in support of the Library’s vision and its mission of service to the member institutions of the Atlanta University Center (AUC). The Library’s member institutions are Clark Atlanta University, The Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.

Mission and Focus

The Library’s collection helps fulfill the mission of the Library by supporting the learning, teaching and research needs of the member institutions of the AUC. Access to an excellent collection is crucial to achieving the Library’s vision: “To reflect the excellence of our member institutions by being the first and best choice for our users in their search for information."

The collection will consist primarily of current, constantly-updated materials. Acknowledged classics and items of enduring value will also be retained. Archival or research-level collections will be held only in limited areas aligned with specialized research interests of the AUC community and graduate level degree programs offered by AUC institutions.

In keeping with the historic focus of our member institutions, a special emphasis will be placed on collecting and retaining materials relevant to the African American and African Diaspora experience.

Content and collection management will be carried out in close collaboration with faculty, who are able to provide the most in-depth and current subject expertise. Collection decisions will also be based on detailed information from member institutions regarding student majors, curricular offerings, academic emphases, and future plans.

Collection Development Methods

Subject Liaison Directory

Subject Liaison System

RWWL employs a system in which librarians in the Research, Learning, and Technology Services (RLTS) are assigned liaison duties affiliated with a particular subject area.  Subject liaisons are responsible for a variety of duties, including instruction and outreach. Each subject liaison is also responsible for a regular and ongoing program of collection assessment, improvement, and deselection. Subject librarians contribute to making decisions on lost and missing item replacement, faculty requests, serials subscriptions, database subscriptions, audio-visual materials, and other formats as appropriate. Subject liaisons are expected to solicit the involvement of faculty in all relevant content and collection management projects. Liaison firm order book selections will be honored from October 1 through March 31; specific faculty requests will be filled throughout the year.

Finally, RWWL has a Collections Working Group (CWG) that provides direction for the overall content and collection management program at RWWL. Members of the CWG include the following:

  • RLTS Representative
  • Archives Research Center (ARC) Representative
  • Systems Librarian
  • Unit Head of Resource Acquisition and Management
  • Assistant Director for Collections and Content Management

All decisions made by the Collections Working Group are subject to final approval by the Library's Deputy Director and CEO/Library Director.

Other Selection Methods

The library employs a variety of Demand Driven Acquisition models for eBooks. With Demand Driven Acquisitions, the library imports database records for a corpus of books that are within its collection scope, and when a library user selects an eBook to view, after a certain length of time or a certain number of uses, the library is invoiced for the book, and owns access to it for a year or more, depending on the licensing available. The library also makes use of several streaming media platforms through which library users can select videos to view or purchase.

The library also may make use of other selection models, such as Evidence Based Acquisitions. With this model, the library subscribes to a large corpus of titles for a year. At the end of a year, the library can select a set number of books to own in perpetuity. These selections are typically based on the most used books from the corpus.

Collection Assessment

Assessment Strategies and Techniques

The Library's collection will be continuously assessed using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods.  Examples of assessment methodologies include the following:

Quantitative Qualitative
Interlibrary Loan / Resource Sharing Statistics Review by Subject Librarians
Circulation Statistics Database Trials
E-Resource Usage Statistics User Surveys
Benchmarking / Peer Analyses Standard Lists
Collection Overlap Analyses Usability Tests
Collection Analytics  

Collections Formats

Format Preferences

The preferred format for informational materials is online with remote access. This format provides our users with maximum convenience and multiple concurrent uses.  However, this may not be possible if a digital version is unavailable or if the intended use of the material, user preference, or cost necessitate the acquisition of a physical form of the resource.

The Library considers it a strategic priority to remain current with the most useful new technology and formats as they become available. This includes employing a variety of acquisitions models for ebooks and streaming media capabilities.


Duplication Policy

To develop maximum breadth in the collection and depth in subject areas, and in consideration of available funds and shelf space, there will be as little duplication as possible between online, print, and other formats. Print resources that overlap with online resources will be targeted for deselection as long as perpetual access is assured by the online vendor and is affordable.

Normally only one copy of a resource will be ordered. Duplication will be justified only by exceptionally heavy demand or the need for an archival copy.


Binding Policy

The preferred binding for print materials housed in the main collection is hard cover. This option provides the most durability and least amount of shelf wear. Paperback binding may be purchased when hard cover is not available or prohibitively expensive. Acquisition of mass market paperbacks is avoided.

Materials in need of binding for repair will be evaluated by subject librarians for retention before being rebound, repaired, reordered, or replaced in an equivalent electronic format.

Print periodicals will not be bound.

Gifts & Donations

Gift Policies and Procedures

Gifts are evaluated by the same selection criteria applied to purchases and subscriptions. The Library accepts donations of materials that support the curriculum of the member institutions of the Atlanta University Center. Textbooks, periodicals, current newspapers, photocopies, manuals, and workbooks are generally not accepted for addition to the collection. The following conditions apply to all library materials donations:

  • The Robert W. Woodruff Library retains unconditional ownership of the gifts(s).
  • The Robert W. Woodruff Library makes the final decision on use or other disposition of the gift. Gift items not added to the collection may be disposed of in a manner the Library deems appropriate.
  • Under IRS rules, the Robert W. Woodruff Library cannot make appraisals of donated materials for tax or other purposes.
  • Delivery of materials to the Library is the responsibility of the donor. If necessary, the Library may accept donations that require transport from a donor’s residence or other off-site facilities.

The Assistant Director for Collections and Content Management should be notified of any potential donations of library materials. The Assistant Director for Collections and Content Management is also responsible for the following in relation to gifts and donations of library materials.

  • She/he/they will ensure that all potential donors receive the “Library Materials Donation Form” and are made aware of the conditions under which the Library accepts donations of library materials.
  • If necessary, she/he/they will assign responsibility to the appropriate subject librarian(s) for any donations that need to be evaluated and transported from the donor’s residence or other off-site facilities.
  • Once the gifts are received, she/he/they will ensure that all gifts are reviewed by the appropriate subject librarians before the materials are added to the Library’s collection.
  • She/he/they will also inform the Unit Head for Resource Acquisition and Management (RAaM) of the total number of items to be added to the collection after the materials have undergone review.
  • For all library materials donations, she/he/they will ensure that a letter of thanks is sent to the donor.


Faculty Publications

AUC E-Scholarship Repository

The digital repository (RADAR) is a service of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. Research and scholarly output included here has been selected and deposited by the students and faculty of Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, and the librarians of the Robert W. Woodruff Library.

Faculty Publications Policy

The Library will strive to acquire all monographic works authored by the faculties of its member institutions, preferably through donation. This includes works in all media normally collected by the Library. The Library will also work together with faculty to provide access to articles in serial publications published by AUC faculty.  Finally, The Library will provide an open access repository that will allow faculty to deposit a variety of scholarly research.

Textbooks & Reserves

Textbook Policy

The Library does not buy all course textbooks. Textbooks are superseded frequently, and it would not be possible to meet the demand should students attempt to rely on the Library for their course texts. Under special circumstances, subject liaisons may choose to add textbooks to the collection that fulfill other collection guidelines within individual subject profiles and support curricular needs.

The Library promotes the adoption of Open Education Resources.

Extended Reserves Policy

An item will be placed on Extended Reserve only in those rare cases when the item has outstanding permanent value and requires special protection from loss. Subject liaisons may place items on Extended Reserve for up to 3 years, after which time the subject liaison will evaluate the item and, if necessary, may extend the reserve status for another 3 years. However, the preference is to make materials available for general circulation. An item may be reassigned at any time.


Code of Ethics (ALA)

States the values and ethical responsibilities of the information profession.

Bill of Rights (ALA)

"Bill of Rights" for libraries produced by the American Library Association (ALA).

Policy for Challenges and Censorship

The Library upholds the principles of the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights. It strives to include a broad and representative range of viewpoints in its collection. The Library supports the tenets of intellectual freedom and opposes efforts to censor Library materials.

Intellectual Freedom Manual

Website developed by the American Library Association (ALA) which provides access to up-to-date information on evolving intellectual freedom issues.

Replacement of Lost or Damaged Materials

Policy for Lost or Damaged Items

The decision whether to replace lost or damaged library materials is the responsibility of the subject liaison who oversees collection development where the lost or damaged material is normally located. Subject liaisons should use established collection development policy guidelines to determine whether or not the lost or damaged material should be replaced and in what format.

Cooperative Agreements

Cooperative Agreements

Cooperative agreements with other libraries, networks, and consortia extend user access to materials that are not owned by Robert W. Woodruff Library. The Library relies on such agreements to provide expanded research capabilities for the Atlanta University Center community through reciprocity, interlibrary loan, and programs of cooperation, e.g. collection development, programming, and publications.

The Library itself is the result of a cooperative agreement among the member institutions of the Atlanta University Center. Member institutions are also involved in various cooperative agreements which may have significance for the Library.

Organizations with which the Library has a cooperative agreement include:

  • ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education) for interlibrary use cards, interlibrary loan truck deliveries, and other consortial projects
  • USG (University System of Georgia) for participation in GALILEO (Georgia Library Learning Online)
  • AMPALS (Atlanta-Macon Private Academic Libraries) for consortial buying of GALILEO and other databases
  • ATLA (American Theological Libraries Association) for participation in the ATLA Religion database, ATLA Serials database, and other theological resources.

Deselection Guidelines

Guidelines for Collection Deselection

Subject liaisons will evaluate and deselect resources in all formats on a regular basis in order to keep the collection current, relevant, attractive, and within scope, to eliminate outdated information and to make the best use of shelf and virtual spaces.

Faculty involvement in the deselection process will be actively solicited and encouraged.

The following are examples of criteria employed by subject librarians in the deselection process:

  • The collection level - How important is the item for AUC coursework, research, or accreditation?
  • The intrinsic value of the work - Is it still useful? Historically important? A classic in its field?
  • Standard literature - Is the work listed in standard indexes, guides, and bibliographies?
  • Duplication - Is there sufficient demand for multiple copies?
  • Physical condition - Deselect, repair, rebind, purchase a new copy or replace with virtual resources?
  • Age - How valuable are older materials to the subject area in question? What is the retention recommendation for the discipline?
  • Edition - Is the older edition superseded by a newer one?
  • Completeness - Do we have the rest of the set or series?
  • Availability - Is it readily available from other libraries? Is it still available for purchase?
  • Uniqueness - Is this a rare or archival item? Do we hold the only copy or one of only a few existing copies?
  • Use - Has the item been checked out/accessed frequently or recently?
  • Location - Does this item belong in a different location?

Archives Research Center Collection Development Policy

Vision, Mission and Purpose

It is the vision of the Archives Research Center (ARC) at the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library (RWWL) to be a premiere destination archives, connecting local community and the world to the rich historical and cultural resources at the Atlanta University Center. ARC’s mission is to be a cultural asset and active participant in teaching and scholarship, providing collaborative leadership in the preservation, access, and collection development of archival resources.

To support the research needs of a wide range of patrons including undergraduates, faculty, scholars and the public, ARC provides primary resource materials, including rare books, manuscripts, and archival records.  As a unit within the official library for the AUC, ARC develops, acquires, and organizes collections with a primary focus on supporting the curriculum and research needs of the faculty and students of member institutions.

Collecting and preserving unique and rare historical materials related to the AUC member institutions, selected subject areas, and subsequent promotion of the use of these materials by the Atlanta University Center Institutions, scholars, and the public is ARC’s focus. The underlying goal of all ARC activity is to support research, study and scholarship.


ARC seeks to document the history of the AUC member institutions – Morehouse College (MC), Spelman College (SC), Clark Atlanta University (CAU), and the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), and other historical institutions of the AUC.

Additionally, ARC documents the African American and African Diasporic experience from the 19th Century forward in the following subject areas: art; Atlanta, Georgia; business; civil rights, race relations; education; journalism; literature; military service; music; politics; religion; science; social movement, slavery, abolition, reconstruction; social work, social services and sports.

Profile of ARC Collection

Profile of ARC Collection

The ARC consists of three main collections: AUC Institutional Collections; Manuscript & Archival Collections; and Special Book Collections. (See Archives Research Center Resource Guide for Collections by Subject here:

AUC Institutional Collections

ARC collects and maintains presidential and administrative records, photographs, recordings, and printed & published materials for the current and historical AUC Institutions in various formats.  The printed & published materials include alumni directories, bulletins, catalogs, newsletters, student newspapers and yearbooks. ARC maintains graduate theses & dissertations from Atlanta University, Clark Atlanta University, and the Interdenominational Theological Center.

Manuscript & Archival Collections

The core of the manuscript holdings in ARC is built upon the Atlanta University Trevor Arnett Library's Negro Collection. the collections continue to develop and expand, documenting civil rights, race relations, education, literature, visual and performing arts, religion, politics, and social work. The holdings are strongest in civil rights and race relations, African American higher education, and religion.

Priorities: ARC's Manuscript & Archival collecting priorities are to document the African American experience, social movements, hip hop culture, higher education, and organizational histories. The primary geographic focus of the ARC Collection lies within the Southern United States, with an emphasis on Atlanta and Georgia. Acquisition of holdings related to women, student movements, and popular music is a strategic aim for ARC.

Special Book Collections

The book holdings in ARC include first edition titles, limited printings, autographs, unique and rare publications. The primary focus of the collection is the African American experience. In addition, there are significant holdings on African and Caribbean history, politics, literature, religion, education and art. The foundation of the Special Book Collection was derived from the Atlanta University Trevor Arnett Library Negro Collections which was established in 1925. In addition to special book collections such as the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection and the Spike Lee Sports Journalism Collections, books from the personal libraries of John Henrik Clarke, Henry P. Slaughter, Clarence Bacote, and C. Eric Lincoln have significantly enriched the book holdings. Books are acquired to complement the subject areas of ARC archival and manuscript collections, as well as support the curriculum of AUC member institutions.



ARC primarily acquires materials through donation which lie within the scope of the collection development policy. The deposit, long-term loan and the purchase of collections is rare and must be justified.  ARC will actively seek to acquire materials related to subjects referenced in Section III, with special attention to collection priorities. The Head of the Archives Research Center should be notified of any potential donations of archival, manuscript, or special book collections materials.

Gifts & Donations

Gifts & Donations: ARC will generally defer to the AUC RWWL policy on Gifts & Donations.  (See link for policy description:


The Archives Research Center collects selected rare books, journals, newspapers, yearbooks, annual, manuscripts, archives, selected audio and visual formats, and ephemeral materials. Emphasis is placed on acquiring items in their original states. The collections acquired contain a broad range of formats and material types, including but not limited to, paper documents, photographic materials, recordings, computer files and electronic files.

Certain types of obsolete media, artifacts, plaques, natural history specimens, fine art and textiles will be considered on a selective basis.



ARC reserves the right to return to donor any items not selected for retention in collections. If donor declines to accept such items, ARC may deaccession the items in accordance with institutional policies, procedures and practices.

Donors interested in obtaining monetary appraisals of collections may obtain from ARC a list of professional appraisers who can (for a fee) provide appraisals of materials. Under IRS rules, the Robert W. Woodruff Library cannot make appraisals of donated materials for tax or other purposes. The donor will bear the responsibility of arranging and paying costs associated with any such appraisal.

Duplicate of Materials

Given the limitations on storage space for collections, the Archives Research Center cannot accept duplicate copies of Special Book Collections monographs or pamphlets already held in the holdings. ARC generally maintains two copies of an item within archival and manuscript collections. Additional copies of items are returned to the donor, separated into some other ARC collection (typically the vertical file), or discarded. Frequently, the donor will stipulate some procedure as to the disposition of unwanted items. Duplicate copies of books are rarely acquired, and if at all, should generally be purchased or accepted for the main collection.

Copyright and Permissions

Copyright and Permissions

RWWL is a non-profit institution which complies with current U.S. Copyright Law. With acquisition, ARC seeks to obtain copyright of collections for purposes of exhibition, research, reformatting, or any other reasonable purpose. In rare cases donors may wish to retain copyright, as custody of collections does not always indicate ownership of such rights.

Policy, Review and Revision

Policy, Review, and Revision

This policy is subject to change and revision, and will be formally reviewed by ARC staff and the Collections Working Group Committee every five years, to coincide with the development of RWWL's strategic plan.

To ensure relevance and consistency with the goals and desires of ARC, RWWL, and AUC member institutuions, revision can be made at any time by ARC staff, and the Collections Working Group Committee, in consultation with Library Administration. As deemed necessary, reference librarian and AUC faculty feedback may be requested for consideration.

Digital Collection Development Policy


Detailed in this document are criteria and rationale for determining priorities for acquisition of digital content, digitization of analog collections, and selection of digital content for long term preservation.

The AUC RWWL -- in alignment with its mission and strategic plan -- is committed to acquiring, providing access to, and preserving original and unique digital collections that support teaching, learning, and the preservation of the AUC.  In conjunction with the Archives Research Center's Collection Development Policy and Digital Preservation Policy, this document outlines the library's commitment to managing digital content and collections throughout the lifecycle from acquisition to reformatting and preservation.

Guiding Principles

The AUC RWWL's Digital Collections are created and maintained according to the following principles:

  • Digital collections created and acquired by the library should align with the mission and strategic directions of the Library and AUC member institutions.
  • RWWL's digital collections exist to acquire, provide access to, and preserve unique digital collections and the scholarly output of faculty, students, and staff of AUC.
  • RWWL is committed to sustaining and managing digital collections in perpetuity.


The AUC RWWL has a broad audience interested in using its digital resources, including:

  • Faculty, students, staff, and alumni of the AUC community
  • Contributing partners and their constituents (i.e. HBCU Library Alliance)
  • The larger academic and scholarly community
  • The general public

Collection Scope

AUC RWWL's digital collections are made publicly accessible through the following platforms. Digital holdings within these platforms are owned by the AUC RWWL, AUC member institutions, and contributing partners.

  • AUC institutional Repository (Islandora):
    • Open access scholarly output of the AUC, including Electronic Theses and Dissertations,
    • Digitized archival collections held by the Archives Research Center, and
    • Hosted archival content held by Spelman College Archives and Morehouse College Archives.
  • HBCU Library Alliance Digital Collection (CONTENTdm)
  • AUC RWWL Finding Aids (Archives Space)
  • AUC RWWL Digital Exhibits (Omeka)
  • GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching & Learning (Omeka)
  • Digital Library of Georgia
  • DLG Newspaper Database

Selection for Digitization

This section provides a collection development framework for the Library's digitization projects.  It is intended to provide context and guidance in understanding how our digitization work supports overall RWWL goals and collection development activities.  It provides criteria for how projects and priorities are determined in order to create a consistent and structured approach to reformatting our collections. This policy pertains to digitization projects, whether part of a grant or internal project or in fulfillment of a request from a researcher or patron.  It does not include the licensing or purchasing of digital resources as that is covered in the Library's overall Collection Development Policy.  Considerations for selection are grouped into five general categories to aid in selection and items selected for digitization:

  • Collection Development - items selected meet the research needs of faculty, students and scholars of the AUC, align with priority areas of collecting, contribute to critical mass of digital materials in the subject area, and have strong connections to the history of the AUC.
  • Access and Use - materials are high-use or have potential for use once digitized, have potential for enhancements in a digital form (value-added, transformative use), have sufficient metadata to facilitate access, and have the ability to broaden access by sharing with aggregators.
  • Copyright Status - there are no donor-imposed, copyright, or other legal restrictions that would impede access to the digital collections. Items are in the public domain, allowable by Section 108 or documented permissions to publish online, and are intended and appropriate for public use (No PII, privacy issues, etc.)
  • Preservation - materials at risk due to condition, risk of damage due to high use, poor housing, deterioration, or the format is obsolete.  Also, the material can be captured in a digital form without causing damage to intrinsic value of original and digital access will reduce handling of original.
  • Organizational/Outreach - Selection meets interests of funding agencies, would generate institutional prestige, and supports institutional outreach initiatives.

Selection for Digital Preservation

This section delineates the criteria and considerations for selecting unique content of enduring value to be permanently retained in a digital form for future use and scholarship in keeping with digital preservation standards.  The AUC RWWL is committed to maintaining long term access to unique digital resources that meet the administrative and technical criteria listed below.  Due to the technical and organizational resources required to meet digital preservation standards the library's Digital Curation Working Group (DCWG) has developed a tiered approach to digital preservation priorities.  Not all materials selected will be preserved at the highest level possible.

  • Preservation
    • Obsolete media or expensive or difficult reformat
    • Material does not exist in another (analog) format
    • Original scarce, rare, or in danger of deterioration
  • Access and Use
    • High research value
    • Fits within collection development policy
    • Content not being preserved elsewhere
  • Value
    • High monetary value
    • High replacement value (cost of re-scanning)
  • Copyright/rights
    • Legally or organizationally mandated to preserve
    • No issues with data sensitivity or privacy
    • Cleared rights and permissions to preserve
  • Organizational Considerations
    • Content created with external funding (i.e. grant funded projects)
    • Born digital materials in a priority collecting area
    • RWWL permanent institutional records
    • Administrative priority

Technical Considerations:

  • File format acceptable
  • Technically feasible to migrate in the future
  • Affordable costs and risks of management
  • Availability of source objects online or on a physical carrier


Acquisition of Born Digital Content

The development of digital collections is in keeping with the Archives’ intention to describe, arrange, digitize, and disseminate our collections and to provide the retention, preservation, and research use of its collections. Digital collection development involves the Head of the Archives Research Center, the Digital Curation Working Group, and others as appropriate.


Digital Collections are composed of digital objects, whether born-digital or digitized, regardless of item type. Text, audio, still and moving images, datasets, etc. are all included. Collecting activities focus on the Archives Research Center’s Collection Development Policy and content that can be made accessible to a wide audience. In some cases, digital materials may be restricted in order to adhere to copyright laws or donor restriction periods.

Selection and Acquisition of Materials

Selection is based on traditional collection development principles including authority, originality, curricular and research relevance, timeliness, breadth and/or depth of coverage, demand, and support of distinctive collections, and is directly aligned with the Archives Research Center’s Collection Development Policy.

Materials included in AUC RWWL’s digital preservation repository will be evaluated for broad and enduring value. Added value components to be considered include:

  • Intellectual control (metadata)
  • Improvement of resource sharing
  • Advancement of collaboration among the AUC schools
  • Enhancement of access
  • Intrinsic research value
  • Rarity or uniqueness of content

The AUC RWWL considers the following criteria to identify materials for acquisition and ingest into the digital preservation repository for purposes of preservation and/or display. See the Digital Preservation Policy for more on the AUC RWWL’s digital preservation program. In order for AUC RWWL to consider acquiring and ingesting digital collections for long-term access, the digital collections should:

  • Align with existing collection policies and standards, including donor agreements;
  • Be unique or have significant research value or mitigate inherent risks for materials in analog formats. This might encompass intellectual content, carrier/format, or digital enhancements. This potentially includes preservation copies of rare, fragile, or unique collections for long-term access or data analysis, and materials that are at risk of being lost due to an obsolete media or file format;
  • Abide by relevant legal statutes governing preservation and distribution of these materials, including U.S. Copyright Law;
  • Meet the guidelines for descriptive metadata, and
  • Be reviewed and approved by the Head of the Archives Research Center in consultation with the Digital preservation Working Group.

The AUC RWWL creates and collects digital objects in various formats, including but not limited to the following:

  • TIFF 6.0 (image master)
  • JPEG (image access)
  • WAV (audio master)
  • MP3 (audio access)
  • MPEG4 (video master)
  • MOV (any format) (video access)
  • Web files and social media sites with an API that can be crawled

Review Cycle

This document will be reviewed and updates made as needed, with a full review every three years to assure revisions are considered as technology progresses, collecting focuses change, and digital library collections mature and expand.

This policy was developed by the AUC Woodruff Library's Digital Services Department. For more information please contact


  • Draft, DPWG, 05/13/19
  • Approved, 6/20/2019
  • Revised, 10/7/2021
  • Revised, 7/7/2022