Collections governance

About the Library collection

The library manages an integrated collection of physical and online information resources to support teaching, learning and research at Swinburne and selects, acquires and provides access to these resources for Swinburne staff, students and researchers.

Resources are available at Swinburne’s Australian campus libraries at Hawthorn, Croydon and Wantirna and online via the library website. The Licensing, Acquisitions and Copyright team manages acquisition processes for the collection.

Discovery and access

Our collection is managed by the Ex Libris library management system, with access provided through Search the library. Resources included in Swinburne Research Bank and Swinburne Commons form part of the overall library collection but are managed under separate guidelines.


Library resources are selected and approved based on a range of criteria including cost, demonstrated or expected usage and relevance. We focus on selecting high use resources that support teaching, learning and research at Swinburne.

Preference for online formats

The library’s priority is to maximise access to online content to deliver information resources to the widest possible audience.  Online formats are preferred where they meet the information needs of users subject to budget, licensing and technical requirements. As a rule, the library will not acquire physical resources where an online alternative is available.

Physical and technical infrastructure

Evaluation and selection of physical and online resources for the library’s collection will take into account available physical and online infrastructure and intended use.

For physical resources this includes shelving, storage, booking, loan and use.  For online resources this includes software and hardware requirements, authentication, limitations on access and  intended use. As a rule, resources  with requirements that limit their open and effective use will not be acquired.

Business rules to encourage use

Library resources are acquired to maximise access. Where possible, physical resources will be available in the general collection and online resources will be open to all Swinburne users. Requests to limit use of physical and/or online resources must be approved by the Library Collections Advisory Committee. The Library Management Team manages the library’s business rules regarding loan and use of resources.


The Library Management Team convenes a Library Collections Advisory Committee to manage acquisition and provision of library information resources. The Committee is chaired by the Manager, Licensing, Acquisitions and Copyright.


Copyright law and licenses are considered in the evaluation and selection of physical and online resources. As a rule, resources with licensing requirements that limit their effective use will not be acquired.


The library manages the library materials budget. We aim to acquire and provide information resources that maximise use and meet the needs of all library users. Due to costs it may not be possible to acquire or provide access to all requested resources. The library will make decisions based on the current and projected annual budgets, expenditures, and encumbrances.

Subscriptions or continuous orders commit the library to ongoing expenditure in future years. As a rule, new subscriptions will require cancellation of an existing subscription to an equivalent amount. Subscriptions will in most cases be considered on an annual basis. Subscriptions and resources with a purchase price in excess of $A5000 and resources that require ongoing costs must be approved by the Library Collections Advisory Committee. Resources with a purchase price in excess of $200,000 must be approved by the Associate Director, Library.

Textbooks and class sets

Students are expected to purchase required textbooks. Where possible, depending upon acquisition and pricing models, the library will acquire a limited number of textbooks and recommended readings. The library does not acquire class sets or online resources which are licensed to a limited cohort, such as a class group, or that can only be used in a classroom environment.


The Library will only purchase texts in languages taught at Swinburne.

Works by Swinburne authors

Works authored by Swinburne academics will be considered if they satisfy the general selection criteria. Subscription resources that feature a large number of Swinburne authors will be considered where they satisfy the general selection criteria including cancelling another subscription of equivalent value.

Special collections

Most library collections are acquired for general use.  Special collections with  specific requirements for acquisition or use must be approved by the Library Collections Advisory Committee. Special collections form part of the overall library collection but are managed under separate guidelines.

Design Special Collection

The Design Special Collection is a collection of historical source material and contemporary design related material.


Equipment may be acquired for student and/or classroom use.

Non-library resources/equipment

Swinburne staff may request that personal or departmental owned resources or equipment be temporarily loaned to the library collection. If accepted, loaned resources and equipment will be managed according to the usual library business rules regarding booking, loan and use.


Donations to the library will be considered according to the usual selection criteria applied to other resources. If accepted, donations will become part of the general library collection and subject to normal business rules including deselection.


The library will manage the physical and online collections on an ongoing basis and deselect materials that are no longer relevant, out of date, in poor physical condition, no longer conform to technical or licensing requirements, do not demonstrate ongoing usage, or that are being deselected to allow release of funds to acquire more relevant or cost-effective resources.

With regard to older editions, only the most recent editions of multiple-edition works will generally be retained in the library collection. Upon acquisition of newer editions, regardless of format, superseded editions will generally be removed from the collection. Exceptions to this practice, for example where content differs between editions, must be authorised by the Collections Advisory Committee.


Proposals for acquisition of resources outside the scope of this policy must be referred to the Library Collections Advisory Committee via your liaison librarian.