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General collecting principles & levels

The general collecting principles and levels outline various policies that apply across two or more collections simultaneously, as well as explanations of the five collecting levels.

Policies relating to these collections can be downloaded below.

Collecting principles

The collecting principles in the collection & resources development policy are grouped into eight collections. Some principles can't be grouped under these eight collections because they apply across two or more collections simultaneously. These principles are:

  • digital resources
  • geographic areas
  • non-English language material
  • popular culture
  • Victorian publications

Collecting levels

Throughout the collection & resources development policy there are references to different collecting levels for each collection. The following is a list of collecting levels and their definitions.

Basic level

A basic-level collection provides up-to-date materials which introduce and define a subject. Material collected at this level includes:

  • dictionaries
  • encyclopedias
  • standard and significant works
  • handbooks
  • manuals
  • films
  • sound recordings
  • some popular or major journals
  • access to appropriate digital databases

This level can support general inquiries, school and some undergraduate instruction, as well as information at a non-specialised level. It is not sufficiently intensive to support advanced undergraduate courses.

Intermediate level

An intermediate-level collection provides resources adequate for imparting and maintaining knowledge about most topics in the subject area. It also provides more extensive coverage of a subject, including some specialised materials. Material collected at this level includes:

  • seminal works and journals on most aspects of the subject
  • works by well-known authors
  • works that provide more in-depth discussions of research, techniques and evaluations
  • fundamental reference sources and bibliographic works
  • access to appropriate specialised digital resources

This level can support all undergraduate and some postgraduate coursework, as well as the more advanced independent study and work-based needs of public and special Library users.

Advanced level

An advanced-level collection provides resources for imparting and maintaining knowledge about all aspects of a topic, including specialised areas. These materials are more extensive than those at the intermediate level, but less than those needed for doctoral-level research. Material collected at this level includes:

  • an almost complete collection of core works
  • a broader collection of specialised works by lesser-known, as well as well-known, authors
  • an extensive collection of general and specialised reference works, monographs, journals, indexes and abstracts
  • a selection of resources in languages other than English, including well-known authors in the original language and a selection of subject-specific materials in appropriate languages
  • defined access to a broad range of specialised digital resources

This level supports postgraduate programs as well as other specialised inquiries.

Research level

A research-level collection contains both current and retrospective resources, with historical material maintained. Material collected at this level includes:

  • major published source materials
  • important reference works
  • a wide selection of specialised monographs and journals
  • access to an extensive range of owned or remotely accessed digital resources

This level provides materials in all appropriate formats and languages, including original materials and ephemera. Older material is retained and systematically preserved to serve the needs of historical research. This level supports postgraduate and independent research.

Comprehensive level

A comprehensive-level collection includes, as far as is reasonably possible, all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts and other forms) in all applicable languages for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level strives to be as exhaustive in a specifically defined field of knowledge. It includes older material retained and systematically preserved to meet the needs of historical research.

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