Selecting Material for the General Collection

The UTSA Libraries provide electronic and physical access to a wealth of information resources and services.  The Collections & Assessment Department is responsible for building and preserving the Library's collections through the selection and management of quality materials needed in the University's instructional, research, and development programs, as well as promoting their utilization through Library awareness activities.

Factors Affecting Selection

  • Awareness of Materials: Bibliographers rely on reviews, catalogs, word-of-mouth, suggestions and recommendations, bibliographies and recommended reading lists, visits with vendors, and visits to book and library materials exhibits to learn about new resources. It is more art than science to keep aware of new resources. Selecting often requires a lot of time and energy on the bibliographer to stay on top of the output of domestic and international scholarly publishing and to make selection decisions appropriate for UTSA.
  • Cost of Materials: Some books, especially in the sciences and technology, but even in the humanities, can cost hundreds of dollars or more; most journal subscriptions in the sciences and technology are expensive; electronic subscriptions usually cost thousands of dollars per year. Whether the book is in-print or out-of-print may also affect cost.
  • Quality of Materials: Is the material from a reputable publisher? Is it suitable for academic-level research and instruction? At which level-Instructional? Undergraduate? Graduate? Faculty research?
  • Physical Format of Materials: Is this material in a format that is usable by UTSA Library patrons? Is the technology available to use this resource? Will patrons want to check out the resource from the Library? Is it preferable to have this resource in print? In electronic format? Should it be available on and off campus?
  • Physical Condition/Age of Materials: The Library will not purchase materials that are in poor physical condition.
  • Duplication of Materials: Do we have this resource in another format? In another work?
  • Availability of Materials from Vendors: Is the resource easily ordered from a standard library vendor? Is it available from a society or association? Do we need to purchase this material directly from the publisher? Is the material out of print or in print?
  • Availability of Materials from Consortia: Will the resource be less expensive to acquire through consortia purchase?
  • Availability of Materials Locally: If another area library has similar items, we may not need it for UTSA? Or is it so critical that it is a must-have?
  • Legal Issues:  What type of license agreement, contract, usage agreement, fair use/copyright restriction, or some other legality involved in making the materials available?
  • Gifts: Gifts are considered for addition to the collection using the same criteria as purchased items, particularly in terms of condition of the items.
  • Additional Consideration For Electronic Resources: Ease of use of the database (speed, reliability, display, printing/downloading/email), Overall database design, Coverage in other databases, Contract terms, Software requirements, Type of access (user name/password, IP, campus availability)

Have a question?

Contact the Collections and Curriculum Support department at (210) 458-4575 or