Scott Memorial Library

Information For

Library Collection Development Policy

Description and Selection Criteria of Specific Collections


The purpose of the Archives of Thomas Jefferson University is to collect, preserve, arrange, describe and make available for research archival records and manuscripts which document the University's growth and development: institutional records of enduring administrative, legal, fiscal, and historical value, as well as the personal papers of faculty, staff, and alumni. These records support the University's tripartite mission of education, patient care and research and are also accessible by the general public by appointment.

Materials collected and retained permanently, either on paper or electronic, are:

  • records of the boards of TJU corporation and TJUH including
    agendas, minutes, memoranda, correspondence, and reports from the Board and subcommittees

  • records of the Office of the President and University administration including correspondence, administrative subject files and reports; historic non-current legal documents and case files

  • records of the deans and administrators of the various Colleges (Jefferson Medical College, Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Jefferson College of Health Professions) including correspondence, subject files, reports, class schedules and photographs, enrollment reports, graduation rosters and programs, official publications and handbooks, brochures

  • records of the Executive Director and vice presidents, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital including correspondence, subject files and reports

  • departmental records including committee minutes, memoranda, syllabi, reports, correspondence, lecture notes, examination questions, policy and procedure manuals, and the files of top administrative offices

  • reports of all major academic and administrative committees, sub-committees, ad hoc committees, and search committees including minutes, memoranda, publications

  • accreditation reports and supporting documentation

  • annual budget and audit reports;

  • planning documents, from the first phase to completion;

  • records of the alumni and alumnae association including minutes, programs, membership directories, publications, photographs, biographical files, correspondence with members

  • reports, policy statements and statistical data relating to grant and contract activities

  • records of the Marketing, Public Relations, and Office of Institutional Advancement departments including fundraising brochures and publications, internal publications, press releases, biographical files, photographs, correspondence and memoranda, and donor records

  • laboratory records relating to the existence and function of labs including interim and annual reports, lab manuals, staff lists, patent files, grant or contract proposals, revisions and final reports, newsletters, research notes, protocols

  • records of student organizations and activities: class newsletters, yearbooks, minutes and correspondence

  • all publications, newsletters, or booklets distributed in the name of the University including bulletins, annual reports, calendars, informational pamphlets, patient publications, faculty handbooks, directories

  • records documenting the employer-employee relationship at Jefferson, including union contracts, union newsletters, benefit program descriptions, statistical data relating to employee composition, salary ranges, job descriptions, strike documentation

  • maps, prints, drawings, space surveys and plans documenting the physical growth and development of the University;

  • audio-visual materials documenting the development of the medical center, such as photographs, negatives, oral history tapes, films, video and audio tapes, works of art on paper

  • materials from faculty, staff or alumni including:
    • private papers and manuscripts, professional correspondence created or received relating to one's academic or research career; personal correspondence from friends, relatives, business associates, etc.
    • biographical materials from faculty, staff or alumni: resumes, vitae, oral history interviews (tapes and/or transcripts), bibliographies, clippings, memoirs, chronologies, biographical sketches, etc. photographs, slides, audio or video tapes, films
    • artifacts and memorabilia such as medical equipment and instruments, uniforms, banners, furniture, plaques, or jewelry
    • teaching material like class lecture notes, syllabi and bibliographies
    • research files including notebooks, annotated reprints, files, etc.
    • diaries, notebooks, calendars

Archival materials not collected include student records (which are maintained by the Registrar); personnel records of faculty or staff, financial records other than annual budgets and audit statements; medical records and legal records (which are maintained by University Counsel).

Donations of records, papers and other appropriate materials may be accepted from individuals, dealers and corporations. The Archives will not appraise donations for tax purposes but will provide donors with a list of commercial appraisers. Upon finalization of the transfer of material, the Archivist will contact The Jefferson Foundation with a description of the gift and the address of the donor. The Foundation will send the donor a charitable donation tax letter.

All materials once transferred or donated to and accessioned by the Archivist becomes the property of TJU unless otherwise stated in a letter from the donor, received and agreed to by the Archivist prior to acceptance of the materials in question. All such materials will be housed in the Archives and remain under its jurisdiction in accordance with its collections management policy. No materials accessioned will be removed except in conformity with the following rules:

  • If the Archivist determines the materials to be duplicative, superfluous, so badly deteriorated as to be unidentifiable, or incompatible with the Archives' collection management policy, they may appropriately dispose of the materials in a manner consistent with the terms of the deed of gift executed by the donor, or in the absence of a signed deed of gift, in a manner consistent with accepted archival procedures. The Archivist will list all materials removed from the collection and indicate their disposition and the list will be kept in the accessions folder for the individual collection.


The Director of Collection Management is responsible for book selection. The Library purchases both print and electronic books. Material published within the previous three years is purchased but exceptions are made when older material is judged to be of current value. Older material is also purchased to support new curricular programs or to fill gaps in the collections. Only material published in the English language, including English translations, is purchased.

The subject content emphasis of all books purchased for the basic life sciences, clinical medicine, the allied health professions and nursing should primarily reflect United States practices.

Selection Criteria for Print
The major criterion for selecting print or electronic books is their subject content. Other selection factors include: curriculum requirements, currency of the content, intellectual level, depth of coverage in the existing collection and circulation history of previous editions and other works on the same subject, physical quality and format, reputation of those responsible for the intellectual content. The Library does not select the following types of print materials: programmed or self-instructional texts, workbooks or exercise books, pocketbooks and reprints of previously published material.

Selection Criteria for Electronic
The Library cannot afford to purchase every available electronic book in all relevant subject areas, nor is the universe of e-books comprehensive enough to totally replace the need for print monographs. The decision to purchase e-books is made when the format and content have added value to a user population. Electronic textbooks facilitate studying and quick referral by students, residents, physicians and nurses. Electronic research protocols and laboratory procedures available at the bench are more useful to researchers and graduate students than a print text with limited circulation and single-user access. Clinically oriented electronic texts provide easily accessible patient care information at the time of need.

Electronic books are currently cataloged separately in the online catalog, even if the Library has a print copy.

Tools For Selection
The Library's approval plan with a reputable book distributor is the primary source of new printed books. Based on a profile of the Library's major subject interests new books, from dozens of medical publisher, are shipped to the Library shortly after their publication release. One publisher is excluded from the profile because the Library receives a large number of their publications in exchange for access to the Library by their staff. The use of an approval plan has several major advantages over ordering books individually; the books are received much sooner and their selection can be made based on an in-hand examination.

Additionally faculty, staff and student recommendations are used in building the collection of print and electronic books and an electronic request form is available on JEFFLINE at Publisher flyers, core lists of resources in the Library's collection areas from respected sources and interlibrary loan requests are also sources for potential purchases.

The print books should be reviewed and weeded, with faculty input, every five years to keep the collection current and useful and to maintain shelf space for new purchases. Books with high circulation and historical value will be retained while unused, outdated items or titles in subject areas no longer collected will be deaccessioned. The weeding process will also identify damaged books requiring mending, rebinding or disposal and replacement. Prime candidates for weeding are multiple copies and outdated reference materials.


This collection consists of web-based biomedical or scientific databases accessible on JEFFLINE, the University's academic and scholarly information system or databases available on CD-ROMs. The databases have different interfaces depending on the commercial vendor or provider and provide references or links to professional journal articles.

Selection Criteria
Databases are selected based on subject relevancy, currency and completeness of information and user-friendly interfaces.

The Library negotiates and complies with vendor licensing agreements for electronic resources. The following points are desirable in a license:

  • authorized users are defined as full and part-time faculty, affiliated staff and students (both on campus and remote)
  • "site" is defined as the University and TJUH (including Methodist Hospital and Jefferson Hospital for Neurosciences)
  • user authentication is via IP address
  • off-campus access is available for authorized users
  • search, copy, print and download capabilities
  • availability of or access to an archive of subscribed content
  • usage statistics availability
  • links to full-text articles in electronic journals to which the Library subscribes

For databases with a concurrent-user license the number of users will be determined by anticipated demand across all user populations. Additional licenses may be acquired if high user demand is demonstrated in usage statistics.


The Library subscribes to licensed online knowledge-based resources in a variety of non-bibliographic formats serving different purposes. Examples include:

  • databases of evidence-based information to support disease management and treatment decisions
  • clinical drug information resources including patient handouts
  • web portals containing electronic texts, patient information, clinical guidelines, CME modules and more
  • bibliographic management software

The Library will consider purchasing or licensing additional formats like data sets, protein structures, genetic sequences and census data if requested or recommended by faculty or staff to support their teaching, research or patient care activities. Software for mobile devices may be licensed by the Library for use by TJU users at remote sites, however students are responsible for purchasing their own software if it represents e-books or resources already available on JEFFLINE.

For resources with a concurrent-user license the number of users will be determined by anticipated demand across all user populations. Additional licenses may be acquired if high user demand is demonstrated in usage statistics

Electronic resources needed for operational use by Library staff (e.g. word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation software and integrated library system software) are not covered by this policy.


Journal selection is the responsibility of the Director of Collection Management, the Deputy University Librarian and the Serials and Electronic Collections Librarian.

Selection Criteria
Many factors are taken into account when deciding to purchase a subscription due to the ongoing financial obligation involved. Inclusion in major indexes, abstracting sources, databases and current awareness tools, especially those available to the Library's users, is vital. The citation impact factor, as indicated by Science Citation Index, interlibrary loan demand and the inclusion of peer-reviewed articles are also taken into consideration.

Online full-text availability is now an important purchase decision factor. Based on demand from its primary users, when available, the Library will purchase electronic journal access only. E-journals typically offer significant added value over print such as unique information and images, timely updates, alerting services and other customization features and wider accessibility (ex. outside the Library's physical space). The impact of open access to published articles introduced by the NIH in 2005 may have an important and large impact on how the Library accessions and retains access to future journal information (e.g. Primary research results).

When negotiating licenses with publishers or providers for access to electronic journals the Library considers the following factors:

  • the definition of authorized users must include all University and Hospital full and part-time faculty, students and staff regardless of their physical location
  • archival rights or perpetual access
  • PDF format
  • availability of usage statistics
  • permission to print articles for interlibrary loan
  • access for walk-in users of the Library
  • permission for TJU authors to deposit their articles accepted for publication into the Jefferson Digital Commons

The Library will also investigate consortia purchase arrangements, when possible, as a cost savings measure.

The Library has built its journal collection, in support of the University and hospital's needs, over the course of more than one hundred years. The breadth and scope of the print collection has grown as new programs and research fronts developed and also scaled down as funding was reduced and lesser-used items cancelled. The overall integrity of the collection has always been and remains a high priority and until now the print volumes were the only available archival resource and rarely discarded. An exception to this is volumes of a canceled or ceased title, which may be discarded after five additional years if there is no indication of continued use.

However, with the ever-increasing availability of electronic journal holdings and the current lack of necessary additional physical space for print journal volumes, the Library is taking the following options and factors into consideration:

  • Traditionally print journal collections have been kept indefinitely, especially if the Library has the complete run of a title. However collection space limitations and the expense of maintaining both print and electronic subscriptions to the same title have made this practice increasingly untenable.

  • The Library may de-accession print volumes of a journal if the publisher, or a reputable third party, provides stable, electronic archival access to the title with an acceptable interface. Examples of this practice include commercial publishers and professional societies contracting with national libraries, or third parties like Highwire Press, to maintain electronic archives of their publications. An exception may be made for print titles. in areas considered "collections of excellence" or of critical importance to a research area or program.

  • Some criteria for the Library to consider for maintaining print copies of electronic journals, in addition to the issue of perpetual access, are budgetary concerns related to the purchase of electronic backfiles, the completeness of the electronic content, the quality of reproductions from an electronic format, the extent of allowable access (IP access vs. individual workstations or buildings) and restrictions on interlibrary loan which may affect the Library's revenue.

  • An unpredictable factor to consider is that a publisher or provider may promise ownership of archival content. However over time the title may be sold to a different publisher and the Library's rights to access the publication could be lost because the new provider may not honor the original license.

  • Institutional repositories should, over time, provide dependable and free access to intellectual content produced by faculty.


The endowed Florence Foerderer Tonner Library Fund provides monies for leisure reading materials in the forms of books and magazines. The circulating book collection consists of popular works of fiction and nonfiction, mysteries and science fiction that are leased through the McNaughton Book Service. The Service selects new books for the collection based on a profile determined by Library staff. Approximately fifty of the seven hundred books in the collection are replaced with new titles each month. Books are selected for return at least twice yearly based on circulation history. The magazine collection consists of quality popular titles.


The selection of reference material is the responsibility of the Information Services Librarian in charge of the Reference Collection in consultation with the Director of Collection Management.

The Reference Collection consists of the most current editions available of core medical and health sciences reference materials as well as classic general and scientific resources including the history of medicine, mental measurements and the business of healthcare.

Reference tools are distinguished from other materials in the following ways; they are used for consultation rather than in-depth study, especially for a clinical inquiry, they are often used to provide brief, factual ready-reference information and they are often best used with the assistance of a librarian since they may require interpretation.

Print materials in the Collection are non-circulating with only a few titles duplicated in other collections. The print Collection consists of two sections: Clinical Reference and Reference. The Clinical Reference Collection contains ready reference materials for pharmacology, laboratory values, and patient care. Materials should cover the clinical needs of all academic programs offered at Thomas Jefferson University, including residency and fellowship specialties.

The Reference Collection consists of ready reference materials for both health sciences and general materials. Specific subject areas to be included in the Reference Collection are:

  • dictionaries (general, medical, and foreign language)
  • encyclopedias (general and medical)
  • almanacs (general and medical)
  • directories (primarily medical and science)
  • test measurements (psychological, medical, and educational)
  • statistics (general and medical)
  • grant writing and funding resources (medical and educational)
  • career guides in support of all TJU academic programs
  • writing style manuals
  • healthcare standards and guidelines (primarily Pennsylvania and federal)
  • healthcare law (primarily Pennsylvania and federal)
  • maps and travel guides (local region)
  • history of medicine ready reference resources
  • other handbooks and ready reference materials deemed necessary for the collection

Types of materials not collected in the Reference Collections include: patient education materials, resume writing guides and classroom textbooks.

Print indexes are also shelved in the Reference area and include all years prior to their availability online. Additionally, all years of medical indexes from the National Library of Medicine will be retained for historical purposes. Any new print indexes will be retained at the discretion of the Deputy University Librarian, the Director of Collection Management and the Information Services Librarian in charge of the Reference Collection.

Comprehensive evaluation of the content and currency of the Reference Collection should occur no less frequently then every 5 years. Depending on the nature of the resource, retention in the Reference Collection may vary from current year only to current five years or permanent retention for historically significant materials. Non-current titles or editions may be transferred to the circulating collection.

This Reference resource is an annotated list of relevant websites maintained by the Information Services Librarian in charge of the Reference Collection, with final editorial control by the JEFFLINE Editor. This subject-based collection of websites exists as a separate section of JEFFLINE.

There are two types of JeffSelects modules: Medical Subject Resources and General Reference Resources. Modules are created and edited by subject according to the needs of the Jefferson community who may suggest sites for inclusion using a publicly available form. Each JeffSelects module has an entry in the online catalog and websites may be listed in multiple modules and on other JEFFLINE pages as appropriate.

Due to the unstable nature of websites, the JEFFLINE Editor will run periodic software-driven checks for broken links on the entire JeffSelects collection and a manual broken link-checking project is undertaken annually. Web addresses in the modules are updated accordingly.


The Reserve Collection supports Thomas Jefferson University's instructional programs by providing materials required by faculty for specific class assignments and a permanent collection of core materials in high demand. The Reserve Collection is primarily a temporary collection of books and periodical articles "borrowed" from the general collection and returned there when demand is no longer heavy. The Collection also includes materials not owned by the Library that faculty wish to make available for student use; personal copies of books, exams, quizzes and handouts. Additional items in the Collection are qualifying or board examination review books requiring extra security.

Material borrowed through interlibrary loan or belonging to an institution other than Thomas Jefferson University may not be placed in the Reserve Collection.

The selection of material for the Reserve Collection is the responsibility the Assistant Director of Access Services in response to requests from faculty or instructors with faculty privileges.


These non-circulating collections consist of historical and rare works documenting the history of medicine overall, including the philosophy and practice of clinical medicine, the development of its underlying sciences, and the progress of public health. The Bland Collection, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, and anatomical texts are the collections' strengths. All American imprints prior to 1820 and foreign titles prior to 1800 are housed here as are titles listed in Morton's medical bibliography: an annotated check-list of texts illustrating the history of medicine (Garrison and Morton). In addition, a copy of all Jefferson theses and dissertations are kept in Special Collections.

Special Collection Titles are kept indefinitely and added on a case-by-case basis.

This subset of the Special Collections contains books authored or edited by Jefferson faculty and staff during their tenure at the University to document the University's publishing history.

Edited works not edited by Jeffersonians are included if at least one half the chapters are by Jefferson faculty or staff, or if Jeffersonians comprise at least one half of the contributors. Books authored prior to or following a prominent faculty member's affiliation with the University may be included, depending on the interrelationship of the earlier and/or later works with the title authored at Jefferson.

An additional copy of faculty-authored, current health sciences books may be purchased for the circulating collection. Titles not related to the health sciences may not be duplicated in the general collection but added to the Jeffersoniana Collection to document the diverse talents and interests of faculty and staff. Jeffersoniana titles are retained indefinitely.

Jefferson Digital Commons
Operating as a pilot project through 2005, JDC is a central online system that manages the storage, access and preservation of a variety of materials and formats created by TJU faculty, students and administrative units. The Commons is produced with software licensed by the Library from a commercial vendor.

JDC currently contains links to a digital subset of full-text JCGS dissertations and the full-text of a monograph from Special Collections.

Adopted: November 2005