Collection Development Policy (updated February 2021)

  1. Library Vision Statement
  2. Mission of the Pao Yue-kong Library
  3. Purpose of the Collection Development Policy (CDP)
  4. The Pao Yue-kong Library Collection
  5. Selection Principles and Criteria
  6. Cooperative Arrangements
  7. Collection Management
  1. Library Vision Statement

    As the learning hub of the University and a dynamic scholarly gateway, the Library strives to facilitate and inspire students and faculty to acquire, create and share knowledge and to excel through education and scholarship.

  2. Mission of the Pao Yue-kong Library

    The Library actively contributes to the University’s mission by:

    • Providing timely access to quality scholarly resources;
    • Fostering discovery and use of quality information resources, and creation and sharing of knowledge;
    • Providing diverse and inspiring spaces conducive to the pursuit of knowledge; and
    • Delivering user-centric services and professional expertise to support the evolving needs of learning and impactful research of the University.


  3. Purpose of the Collection Development Policy (CDP)

    In the context of the Library’s mission to provide high quality information resources in support of the University’s educational and research missions, one of the prime objectives of the Library is to excel in its efforts to develop, manage, and preserve an outstanding collection, with particular emphasis on developing a research collection to support high-quality research of international excellence. The Library strives to expand the breadth and depth of available information resources, in all formats, to meet the needs of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) community. We also place emphasis on providing and facilitating our users to access all information resources in a convenient manner. To this end, a collection development policy (CDP) is needed to give direction to and indicate the general collection building principles of the Library.

    This CDP is a planning document, which identifies the long and short-term collection goals and polices of the Pao Yue-kong Library. It provides a general framework for the development of all parts of the collection. The CDP is a dynamic document and will be updated or amended whenever necessary. The major objectives of the CDP are:

    1. To establish guidelines for the selection of resources so that acquisitions are appropriate to the general objectives of the Library.
    2. To set standards for the inclusion or exclusion of resources in the collection.
    3. To establish guidelines for the retention and preservation of resources in the collection.
    4. To assist Library staff in planning and administering the Library budget.
    5. To establish guidelines for consortiall acquisition and interlibrary lending activities among UGC-subvented institution libraries.
    6. To inform users and other libraries of the nature and scope of the collection.


  4. The Pao Yue-kong Library Collection
    1. Background to the Collection
      Established in 1972, the Library comprises one of the largest collections of scientific, engineering and business materials in East Asia. Other areas of strength are information technology, computing, health sciences, textiles and design. The total library holdings exceed five million items, including books and serials, audio-visual materials, and electronic resources. The Library also prides itself in several specialized collections, namely:
      1. A strong and resourceful Audio-Visual (AV) Collection comprising a PolyU Digital Image Database, VoD service, a collection of local Chinese and English language television programmes and sets of AV resources.
      2. The Library houses closed reserve materials, such as national and international standards, course reserve books, study packs, theses and dissertations, university examination papers (Appendix 2), external examination papers and their suggested answers, patents, and the University Collection which includes various types of PolyU publications.
      3. The PolyU Institutional Research Archive (PIRA) which collects and showcases the research and scholarly output created by the PolyU community. The PIRA comprises of digital records of journal articles, conference papers and presentations, technical reports, working papers, books, book chapters, patents, theses and dissertations, images, drawings, videos, datasets and other scholarly materials produced at the institution and makes them openly accessible to web search engines.
    2. Library Materials Budget
      Library budget is allocated annually by the University. The Library Materials Budget covers acquisition of all library resources including books, serials, electronic resources, audio-visual materials, interlibrary loans and binding of library materials.
    3. Use of the Collection
      Borrower privileges are granted to library users covering staff and students, and also registered PolyU graduates, special borrowers, as well as JULAC (Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee) borrowers.


      Since October 2005, eligible users of HKALL (Hong Kong Academic Library Link) can borrow books directly from all UGC libraries.

      Registered PolyU graduates and external borrowers are provided with remote access to selected electronic resources.

  5. Selection Principles and Criteria
    1. Selection Responsibility
      Selection of library resources is a joint responsibility of Library and academic staff. Purchasing priorities will be accorded first to academic members, then Faculty/School Librarians and Selection/Liaison Team. However, the ultimate responsibility for the acquisitions directions and policy decisions, including suitability, adequacy and quality of selections, rests with the Library.
      1. Faculty members are expected to recommend materials with particular application to teaching, research and development activities of the University. The Library Liaison Officer (LLO) of a Department serves as the main contact between the Library and that Department. He/she could help to circulate bi-weekly online lists of newly published materials compiled by the Library and keep his/her Department informed of library acquisitions.  Academic staff could channel their library recommendations via the LLOs or contact the Library directly. The Library may consult academic staff to set guidelines for access to various components of the collection.
      2. Faculty/School Librarians participate in the selection of library materials for his/her faculty/school. They are responsible for ensuring that materials on new courses are acquired, new subjects in relevant fields are not neglected, and also to supplement the recommendations made by their academic staff. They also work jointly with academic staff in the selection and evaluation of electronic resources of bibliographic databases and aggregate contents, whether new or renewals.
      3. Senior Library staff members are designated as Selection/Liaison Team and assist in the selection of materials in the subject areas assigned to them. They also select materials for general reference and information.
      4. The Library also purchases monographic materials through the “Books on Approval Plan (BOAP)” provided by book vendor(s). Books are sent to the Library according to specified subject profiles and other non-subject parameters. Section Head (Collection Development) and/or Faculty/School Librarians undertake to review the BOAP from time to time in cooperation with departmental Library Liaison Officers (LLO) and academic staff.
    2. Contents of Materials
      The Library plans to obtain within its financial capabilities library materials including, but not limited to books, periodicals, maps, pamphlets, newspapers, audio-visual materials, government documents, and electronic resources required in meeting the following three obligations:
      1. To procure and make available materials needed for all teaching, studying, research and consultancy activities in the University.
      2. To procure and make available library materials of general information in subject areas not covered in the above.
      3. To make an effort to preserve all important materials relating to the history and development of the University. This includes not only official records and publications of the University but also materials about the University published elsewhere.
    3. Controversial Materials
      The Library advocates a policy on intellectual freedom and will not censor or exclude material on the grounds of political, social, ethnic, sexual, and religious views expressed or presented in it, nor because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. Controversial materials may be purchased if they are of appropriate scholarship level, of academic interest, for teaching purposes, and in genuine demand.
    4. Levels of Collection Intensity
      The level of acquisitions will vary from subject to subject. The degree of acquisition intensity will be determined by the study and research programmes of the University and the needs of the faculties.
      1. Minimum Level
        A highly selected collection which would introduce and define a variety of subject areas not necessarily represented in the University curricula. It would include basic works of recognized writers, selection of basic texts in all subject fields, reference and biographical works as well as fundamental bibliographies in all subject areas and representative journals.
      2. Instructional – Research Level
        A collection of works to meet all instruction and research needs. It includes all basic works, complete sets of works by important writers, and critical works about them, selections of works by secondary writers, basic journals, reference works and bibliographies. In addition to current materials, the Library will attempt to obtain retrospective works on selected basis including serials, reference sets, bibliographies, and out of print books.
    5. Non-subject Parameters
      1. Readership Level – General/advanced academic, and professional.
      2. Imprint Date – Current publications of lasting and scholarly value will be given priority over older and out of print materials.
      3. Language – Priority will be given to English and Chinese, and foreign languages on taught courses only.
      4. Format (e-preferred policy) – Any format that can be used in a library or accessed through Internet. For monographic materials, single copies of electronic version are preferred when a title is available both in print and electronic formats, unless requesters indicate their preferences with specific reasons. For serials subscriptions or aggregate contents, priority will be given to electronic format because of their 24x7 accessibility.
      5. Edition – New or latest edition. Older editions may be acquired if they are specifically required with justified reasons. Variant editions of a title will be acquired only if they are “standard” editions or contain substantial changes and are needed for research purposes.
      6. Binding – Hard-cover whenever possible.
      7. Price Ceiling & Expensive Items – An item is considered expensive if it costs more than the amount set by the University Librarian from time to time. All expensive items recommended for purchase must have the endorsement of the University Librarian or his/her designate, and also as a general guideline, holdings in other UGC libraries will be taken into consideration to decide whether an order should be placed.
    6. Electronic Resources
      Faculty/School Librarians work jointly with academic staff in the selection and evaluation of electronic resources of bibliographic databases and aggregate contents, whether new or renewals. For details of acquisition guidelines and procedures involving electronic resources, staff may contact the Library for the Acquisition Policy of Electronic Resources.
    7. Audio-Visual Materials
      The Collection Development Working Team (CDWT) is responsible for the acquisition of general audio-visual materials in the Library. For details of acquisition guidelines of audio-visual materials, staff may contact the Library for the Acquisition Policy of Audio-visual Materials.
    8. Limitations
      1. Insofar as funds permitting, multiple or duplicate copies of an item (except specialized research materials) may be purchased if they are in heavy demand, and are recommended by academic staff members for course work. The guideline for the number of copies of an item to be purchased is listed in Appendix 1.
      2. The Library may not purchase publications held by other UGC libraries as they are made available to PolyU staff and students via HKALL. Special consideration, however, will be given to high demand and research specific publications.
      3. The Library will not purchase publications not held by the Library, for the sole use of individuals, academic departments and administrative offices (i.e. bench books).
    9. Replacements
      1. While the Library will, as a general rule, attempt to replace particular missing or damaged items, it does not automatically replace such material. Consideration is given both to the current value of the item to the collection, as determined by application of the selection criteria spelled out in this policy statement and to the records and other evidence of demand for the item. Replacement will often be obviated by the existence of more current material that renders the item obsolete.
      2. In principle, the Library will purchase replacement copy for a billed lost item. The borrower will be charged at in-print discounted price for a lost book. If the billed item is out of print, the Library will charge the borrower at average book price. A similar title will be acquired for replacement.
      3. Wherever possible, missing issues of current volumes of periodicals will be replaced. Back files will be replaced only if there is known demand.
      4. All replacements are contingent upon funds being available.
    10. Gifts and Exchange
      As a general rule, gifts and exchange activities are kept at a minimum level as far as possible for cost effectiveness. Useful materials that are required for the library collection could be acquired through gifts and exchange. However, the Library will not accept gifts or donations with restrictions or conditions as to their disposition, handling, and use of the items donated.

  6. Cooperative Arrangements

    The Library is a member of Consortiall, and HKMAC (Hong Kong Monograph Acquisitions Consortium), both of which are JULAC (Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee) working groups to leverage the member libraries’ collective purchasing strength through negotiation with vendors of library and information services.

    The Library has the option of purchasing electronic materials and monographs as a single institution or as a member of the above two consortiums. Through collaborative negotiations, the Library aims to seek the cost saving benefits of shared access to materials.

  7. Collection Management
    1. Deselection
      1. Systematic removal of library materials no longer useful is essential to maintain the high quality and integrity of the collection. Usage of the Book Collection will be reviewed periodically and deselection conducted whenever need arises. Items that are considered outdated, worn out, obsolete or no longer useful for the collection will be withdrawn. Superseded editions and multiple copy items may also be withdrawn if the usage rate is low. Withdrawn items will be vetted by academic staff members before disposal.
      2. Serial issues are withdrawn from the collection if they are superseded by cumulative editions, have a limited retention period or no longer relevant to PolyU’s teaching and research.
      3. Withdrawn items will be dispatched to the resource centres of PolyU departments / external institutions who wish to receive them. The Library will dispose of withdrawn issues not requested by any department or institution.
    2. Stocktaking
      As good housekeeping practices, the Library will perform stocktaking of its collection when resources are available.

Appendix 1: Guidelines for Acquisition and Allocation of Multiple Copies

The following are general guidelines only. Should academic staff have any special requests for the number of copies of items to be acquired, they should indicate their requirement on the recommendation forms together with justification. Special requests will be considered on a case by case basis.

  1. Textbooks / Core Readings

    Electronic book is available for sale.

    If an e-Book under consideration has different options for the number of user licenses, the Library will consider the optimal number of user licenses to be acquired subject to availability of Library budget and license models.

    The priority of license models are as follows:

    License type Description
    Unlimited access* No limit on number of simultaneous users.
    3-user Only three users can access the title simultaneously.
    1-user Only one user can access the title at a time.

    *For e-Book with unlimited licenses to be acquired, no printed copy will be purchased.

    If only printed book is available for sale, the following guidelines should be applied:

    No. of student Maximum no. of printed copy Remarks
    <80 1 copy 1 copy for RES**
    80-119 2 copies 2 copies for RES (1 for 24 hrs/60 hrs; 1 for 7 days)
    120-159 3 copies 3 copies for RES (2 for 24 hrs/60 hrs; 1 for 7 days)
    160-199 4 copies 3 copies for RES (2 for 24 hrs/60 hrs; 1 for 7 days) + 1 for CIR#
    200 5 copies 3 copies for RES (2 for 24 hrs/60 hrs; 1 for 7 days) + 2 for CIR
  2. Reference Books
    1 copy
  3. Serials Materials
    1 copy
  4. Audio-Visual Materials
    1 copy
  5. Expensive Items
    1 copy
  6. Theses
    1 e-copy


** Reserve Collection
# Book Collection

Appendix 2: Policy Review on "PolyU Examination Paper Database"

The Learning and Teaching Committee Chaired by VP(AD) endorsed the following policy on 14 October 2011.
  1. All University academic departments continue to be required to submit all examination papers to the Library for retention.
  2. The newly received examination papers will be added to the “PolyU Examination Paper Database” which is provided solely to PolyU staff and students for private study and research.
  3. The Library will retain all examination papers but, on special request and under exceptional circumstances, the Library would only provide access to the latest three years’ papers for particular subject. All examination papers will be archived. Academic staff who wish to seek an exemption for a particular subject should make an application to the University Librarian, basing their case on academic imperatives. The exemption request will stay in force until further notice.