Collection Development Policy


Collection Development Policy

revised Fall 2008

Table of Contents

Collection Development Policy

Evaluating Potential Purchases
Jurisdictional Considerations
Chronological Periods
Government Depository Materials
Gifts and Exchanges
Evaluating Replacement Purchases
Cooperative Collection Development Agreements

University Materials Fund
Gift and Endowment Funds

Five Year Goals

Collection Development Policy

The primary role of the library is to satisfy the curricular and research needs of the Notre Dame Law School. Satisfaction of these needs requires not only responding to current curricular and research interests but also the development of a quality research collection capable of supporting a wide variety of interests now and in the future. A secondary role includes providing legal information to the remainder of the university community, as well as to affiliated public and professional interest groups. While the library purchases material on all traditional legal topics, the collection of material for non-lawyers is modest. Tertiary roles include providing some leisure reading for the law school community.

This collection development policy supports these roles, and provides guidelines and a framework within which decisions regarding the existing collection and the development of future resources can be made. The collection development policy also sets out goals for the storage, retention, weeding, and preservation of library materials. Access to information housed in the library or available through the library is also considered.

It is the ambition of the library to cover all legal subjects, with depth of coverage in each subject guided by law faculty research interests and by emphases within the law school curriculum. To this end, the Library has increased acquisitions in materials on comparative law, human rights, transitional justice, and computer law, which reflects the collection’s responsiveness to contemporary events. Interdisciplinary topics such as criminal justice, law and economics, and biotechnology are also receiving greater emphasis in the collection.

The library has acquired the following basic classes of material for the collection:

1. Primary source material collection, i.e. cases and statutory law for the United States, the separate states, U.S. territories, and to a lesser extent Great Britain, Canada, Ireland and international associations; administrative materials for the United States and government documents of the United States. The law library has been an active selective depository since 1986.

2. Secondary source material collection, i.e. treatises and serials which annotate and analyze the primary source material or present philosophies thereof; treatises and serials which are peripheral but helpful to the further understanding and implication of the primary legal source material.

3. Finding tools, i.e. indexes, digests, encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, citators, and compendiums leading to better use of both primary and secondary source materials.

4. Legal Association Publications and Publications Related to Legal Education:
Publications of the American Bar Association, Association of American Law Schools, and other legal professional organizations will be collected, as well as other publications relating to legal education.

5. The library maintains a Special Collection of Notre Dame publications, which includes Law School Faculty and Staff publications, Annual Law School Bulletins, annual copies of The Hoynes Code and the Notre Dame Report.

6. The Law Library maintains a complete collection of all publications of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

7. Rare Books & Special Collections: If possible, a small amount of each year’s annual expenditure will be set aside for the purchase of rare legal materials. Selection decisions will be based upon the significance of the work to the development of the Anglo-American legal system. In addition, the Library has a designated endowment fund for the purchase of rare materials.

Evaluating Potential Purchases:

All decisions regarding adding a title to the collection will be based on a general knowledge of the historical strengths and weaknesses of the collection, as well as on a knowledge of the law school’s curriculum and an understanding of the research needs and interests of both faculty and students. In addition, standard criteria, such as those listed below, will be applied:
- significance of the subject matter
- importance of the author
- accuracy of information and data
- potential for use by patrons
- importance to total collection
- authoritativeness of publisher or producer
- importance of title in significant bibliographies, lists, and recognized reviewing media
- current and/or permanent value
- availability in Hesburgh Library or elsewhere in the region
- scarcity of materials on the subject
- purchase price
- continuation costs
- format (e.g., book, newspaper, cd-rom, microform)
- physical quality (e.g., binding, paper, print)
- duplication
- available space
- technical processing and maintenance costs
- longevity of format

* Acquisitions/Collection Development Librarian will review all promotional literature, publishers’ lists, faculty purchase suggestions, approval books, and other pre-order sources for potential purchases. S/he will make purchase decisions for all publications which fit easily within the policy guidelines.

* For particular subjects or types of materials, the input of Research Librarians will be solicited. Purchase decisions in those areas will be made in cooperation with, or at the recommendations of, the Research Librarians..

* Monthly review of acquisitions from representative law libraries will be undertaken to compare our purchasing decisions and to assess our activities.

* Because the Notre Dame Law School is approved by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, and since the Kresge Library is a selective depository of United States government documents, standards of the ABA, AALS, and the Depository Library Program must be observed.

* An annual review of the Collection Development Policy in conjunction with an annual report of collection purchasing activities will be used as a basis for changing the Policy as necessary and incorporating changes into this general plan; however, suggestions for changing the Policy can be entertained at any time.

Jurisdictional Considerations:

The library has established four categories of emphasis for collecting materials from various jurisdictions. Listed after each category are the appropriate collection goals:

Category 1: Federal law of the United States and the state law of Michigan and Indiana

The following primary source materials will be comprehensively collected: constitutions, session laws, statutes, codes, court rules, court decisions, administrative codes, regulations, registers, and decisions.

Additionally, strong efforts will be made to collect secondary sources and finding tools to the extent they support the research and educational goals of the law school community. The Library selectively collects United States, Michigan, and Indiana practice and continuing legal education materials. Similar practice material for other states is seldom purchased.

Category 2: Law of the remaining states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories

The following primary materials will be collected comprehensively: constitutions, session laws, statutes, codes, court rules and decisions.

Category 3: Law of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Latin America, the European Union, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, International law, and International human rights law

For Category 3 jurisdictions the following primary sources on the national or international level are collected: constitutions, statutes, and court decisions.

Selected secondary sources including treatises, journals, and encyclopedias will be maintained. Within the broad category of international law, special emphasis will be placed on collecting international human rights law and public international law.

Category 4: The law of other nations, legal systems divergent from the common law and comparative law

Category 4 materials will be collected on a selective basis, in English only, and with particular focus on the subject areas of constitutional law, family law, human rights law, jurisprudence, law and religion, and legal ethics.


The library does not actively purchase casebooks, but will add them to the collection when received as gifts. The library does not acquire textbooks. Multiple copies of any title are purchased selectively and only to satisfy high demand.


As the result of changing technology, legal information is now available in a wide variety of formats (microforms, books, online databases, CD-Roms, the Internet, audio and video cassettes). Each of these formats present advantages and disadvantages for patron service and collection building. In determining the appropriate format for selection, the following guidelines are to be used:
-ease of access
-storage considerations
-longevity of format

Certain formats will not meet all the above guidelines which may necessitate purchasing information in multiple formats. For example, a statute online may provide the most current information but will not provide any historical record once the statute is updated in the online system. Therefore, the Library may choose to purchase statutory material in book or microform as well.

The selection criteria for individual formats are described below:

1. Paper Formats:

a. Books:
The predominant format of the Notre Dame Law collection has been the printed book. The book, because of its readability, remains the preferred format for many library patrons. Preference should be given to this format whenever ease of use, permanent acquisition of information and readability are the highest goals. Production on acid free paper should be considered before selecting expensive book sets.

b. Newspapers:
Paper subscriptions to major legal newspapers relevant to Kresge’s patrons and the New York Times are purchased on a weekly or monthly subscription basis. Paper copies are retained until available online. The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and major newspapers for the geographic region, are purchased on a daily subscription basis and retained for one to two weeks. Additional newspapers are purchased for leisure reading, but these are not kept beyond one week.

c. Newsletters:
Paper copies of a newsletter may be purchased if it is of reasonable cost and if it provides an important current awareness service that is not otherwise available. Newsletters published by the American Bar Association, other national professional legal organizations, national and regional professional law library associations, and any other newsletters purchased by the Law Library will be cataloged and made a permanent part of the collection.

Other legal newsletters that are received gratis, are not indexed in any standard periodical indexes, or are of peripheral value to the collection are given low priority for selection and processing. A decision may be made to temporarily retain such newsletters without further processing, to catalog and add to the collection, or to route to interested faculty members.

d. Journals:
The collection will include paper and electronic journals indexed in the Index to Legal Periodicals and Current Law Index, plus major international, comparative, and selected foreign law journals. As a general rule, new titles will be purchased only once, whether in print or electronic format. With this in mind, the Law Library will nevertheless subscribe in print to the main journal published by each ABA-accredited United States law school, and to subject-oriented law school journals in areas of research interest to law school faculty or staff.

The following factors will be considered when deciding whether to subscribe in print, or at all, to journal titles, including law school specialty journals.
• Indexing of title in ILP and/or LegalTrac; Lexis/Westlaw availability
• Availability electronically; the library subscribes to HeinOnline. Titles in HeinOnline are available in .pdf format and the Library does not necessarily duplicate these titles in print.
• Access is available electronically through Hesburgh library subscriptions (particularly for interdisciplinary journals).
• Non-legal scholarly journals, which focus on topics at instructional or research levels, are considered.
• State bar journals are collected on microfiche from Hein.
• Specific focus upon the subject matter: The Law Library generally does not subscribe to journals that are so specialized that a very limited number of users would use them.
• Specific faculty requests are evaluated on an individual basis.
• Journals of reprinted articles are not purchased.

e. Microforms:
Microforms provide a means of augmenting the collection in a way that is particularly efficient in terms of cost, space, and permanence. Moreover, some material is now only available in microformat. Positive image, silver halide or diazo microfiche with a reduction ratio of 24 x or 42 x is the preferred microformat.

f. Audio-Visual:
Audio and video tapes may be purchased when materials appropriate to the collection are produced in those formats.

g. Loose-Leaf Services and Other Updated materials:
The following factors are important when the Library selects materials that require an ongoing commitment of funds.
• Degree of scholarship and reputation of publisher and author.
• Frequency, manner, and cost of updating.
• Comprehensiveness of subject coverage.
• Availability and ease of use of the same information in other sources.
• Extent of publisher’s value-added features, such as annotations and finding aids.
• Electronic availability of title.
• When loose-leaf titles no longer meet selection criteria and are of no interest to faculty, or when a service becomes so expensive that its use no longer justifies the expense, supplementation of the service will be cancelled. This decision will be made by the Collection Development Librarian (in consultation with the Director and the Research Librarians). Depending upon its historical value, the title will be withdrawn from the collection, or will remain with a “no longer updated” label affixed to the front cover and the cancellation noted in the bibliographic record.

h. Electronic Resources:
Library materials in electronic format can be divided into those which are locally owned and physically located within the library (specifically CD-Roms, DVDs, and floppy disks) and those which are accessed via Internet connections to servers located outside the library’s location and control. CD and other physically-present electronic resources are purchased and collected generally as ancillary to print collections, providing updating or indexing services, or when such materials represent the only available format for a particular title.

Internet sources are further divided into those which are generally available to anyone and those which are available to the library’s specific patron group. In the former category are many government documents and databases which are relevant to the library’s patrons. As the more important of these sources are identified, access to them will be offered to patrons via entries in the catalog and/or through library web pages. Those Internet sources which are more restricted in their access and/or which require payment for use are selected according to criteria listed in Section II (a) and, further, by whether or not the availability of the source in question in a web environment is appropriate for the library’s users. The Library adds catalog records, which include links to these sources, when appropriate and as time and staffing permit.

The Library considers titles in a web-based format when available and when cost is not prohibitive. The Library continues to subscribe in paper to some of the titles that it licenses electronically, but is moving towards providing electronic-only access for licensed products. Whenever possible, bibliographic records provide users access directly from the catalog to subscription electronic titles. Access for most titles is also available from the electronic resources page of the Library’s website.


Most materials are now purchased in English, if available. Materials in other languages are purchased selectively; usually only when specifically requested by a scholar who will use the material; the Library, for example, has begun to collect monographs in French and Italian at the request of one of our professors. A growing Latin American collection will increase the purchases of Spanish and Portugese language materials.

Chronological Periods:

The chronological focus of the collection is the time period since the establishment of European colonies in North America, and more precisely, since the establishment of a federal government for the United States. At present, there is emphasis on current law and on historical research materials necessary to support the study of Anglo-American legal history.


As a general rule all currently published supplementation will be purchased for titles in the collection. Decisions not to supplement a specific title may be made after consideration of the cost, duplication, use, and quality of the supplements available.


Duplication is to be avoided in the collection except for:
1. Materials used heavily in connection with a law school course, e.g., hornbooks.
2. Other materials known to be used heavily.
3. Materials continued or replaced in another format, e.g. ABA Journal in paper and microfiche.
4. Parallel works will be purchased or selected as government depository items for proper, complete citations, e.g., official reports and unofficial reporters for state court decisions.

Government Depository Materials:

As a selective Federal Depository, the Law Library acquires those publications produced by the government which are relevant to legal research and reference. Please see the United States Government Documents Collection Development Policy attached to this document.

Gifts and Exchanges:

Gift materials are treated in the same manner as other potential acquisitions. That is, they are accepted, retained, discarded, exchanged, sold, circulated, and located in accord with collection development policies of general application. As with free government depository items, the cost of processing, cataloging, binding, filing, and storage should be considered in the decision to accept gift materials. Conditional gifts are not favored and may be refused.

The Library has converted exchange agreements to paid subscriptions wherever possible. New exchange agreements are entered only for materials that the Library would not be able to acquire any other way.


The Law Library has undertaken the process of developing a collection capable of supporting in-depth, scholarly legal research. In light of this goal, weeding is limited to the removal of material replaced by microform or other format when the original print material is in poor condition or shelf space is limited. Weeding may also be done to remove excess copies of an outdated work; one copy of each title unique to the collection must be retained. Superseded supplementary material completely replaced by later editions or supplementation should also be discarded.


The primary objective in developing a research collection is to insure that materials will be available for current and future scholarly use. As with any activity that attempts to anticipate the future, predicting the needs of legal scholars in the coming decades is uncertain. In light of this, retention decisions will be based predominately on maintaining the presence of information in the collection rather than on the probability of future patron use.

Other factors which should be considered in the retention decision include the cost and ability to adequately preserve the physical format of the information, cost and availability of content replacement in another format, shelving space, and duplication of information in other sources.


The Kresge Library will attempt to preserve all materials in the collection in the original physical format where it is economically and physically feasible to do so. Where costs, deterioration, or damage prevent the preservation of materials, attempts will be made to replace items valuable to the collection in reprinted editions or alternative formats. New items added to the collection will be subject to conservation measures, if warranted, to extend their usefulness.

Evaluating Replacement Purchases:

In evaluating titles that need to be replaced because of loss or damage, priority will be given to replacing materials that are in high demand or are supplemented frequently. Other titles are evaluated for their continuing worth to the collection, according to the topic, replacement cost, availability, user need or interest, and format. If the Library has more current works on the same subject or if the work in question has no ongoing research value, replacement is a low priority.

Cooperative Collection Development Agreements:

The Library has entered into cooperative purchasing agreements with INCOLSA and NELLCO. These agreements allow the Library to purchase electronic material at a better price then we would get if we were acting alone.


A. University Materials Fund:
Funding provided by the University will be used for normal purchasing and supplemented by gift and endowment funds as necessary.

B. Gift and Endowment Funds:
Un-designated monies received through endowment income or gifts will be used to supplement the normal purchasing of continuations and monographs as required. Any additional undesignated funds will be used to purchase special materials for the enhancement of the collection.

Designated gifts and endowment funds will be used to purchase titles within the specified subject area or time period.

The library’s current endowment funds include:

Anton Undesignated
Barnes and Thornburg Undesignated
Brown Federal Law
Fath Undesignated
Forgash Legal History
Gregory Undesignated
Guarnieri Rare Books
Harte Agricultural & Environmental Law
Hartigan Undesignated
Law Book Undesignated
Lofino Undesignated
Mahoney Labor Law
McCartan Undesignated
McCarthy Undesignated
Meagher New York State Materials
Murphy Undesignated
Noznesky Undesignated
O’Connor Irish Legal Materials
Power Undesignated
Regelbrugge Natural Law
Schierl Legal Issues of the Civil War Era
Schoonhoven Labor Law
L. Smith Ohio Law
L. Smith Legal Ethics
Smith Michigan Law
Stephan Undesignated
Vuono International Law
Welsh Undesignated
Zavislak Undesignated

Five Year Goals:

During the next five years the library will attempt to maintain its rate of current acquisitions of all suitable material within the guidelines discussed above. Additionally, the library will seek out opportunities for enhancing particular areas of the collection through special purchases or because of development opportunities that might arise.