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last updated: 10/31/2013

Collection Development Policy (Media)

Collection Description - Revised December 2012

General Purpose

The Librarian for Media is responsible for building and maintaining a collection of materials that will support the present and future undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral educational needs of Indiana University students, and research needs of faculty.  To accomplish this the Librarian for Media selects audiovisual materials for the teaching, research, and leisure collections of the Bloomington campus and provides traditional and digital access to the collection by maintaining a web site and by digitizing appropriate materials (i.e., selected films from PBS and Films Media Group). The Librarian for Media will work with the Subject and Area Librarians and Media Coordinator in the selection process to build and enhance the collection.  Materials are selected comprehensively for the Wells Library Media & Reserve Services unit, and as appropriate for other collections including the Business/SPEA, Education, and Life Sciences libraries.


Since 1975, the Media collection has supported the instruction and research needs of Indiana University faculty and students.  The collection includes materials in various multimedia formats:  spoken word audio cassettes, multimedia compact discs, 3/4" (U-matic) videocassettes, 1/2" VHS videocassettes, Laserdiscs, and DVDs.  Recently, we have added the option to provide Video-On-Demand streaming to support class instruction, Audiobooks, foreign language CDs, and a small number of videogames to support students and faculty in the Department of Telecommunications and graphic design.  Due to obsolete equipment and maintenance support, the purchase of 3/4" (U-matic) videocassettes and Laserdiscs are being phased out.  The Media fund supports the purchase and licensing of databases and reference works to support media reference activity and the selection of media collection development resources.  The Librarian for Media must separately consider the demand, format and characteristic of each medium to aid in collection development decisions.


The Media fund purchases documentary, educational, performances, performance art, classic and popular feature films.  Popular feature films, such as one might expect to find in a video rental store, are purchased upon the request of an instructor to support classroom instruction,  for research, and to support leisure activities for the Media Browsing collection.  Instructional or "How To" materials, defined as meeting the narrow objectives of one particular course, are excluded. 



Media & Reserve Services houses two significant and growing media collections.  They include: the Teaching & Research collection, established in 1975, is a multidisciplinary collection intended to support the broad range of study and research at IU from the undergraduate through post-doctorate level.   The collection contains @ 2,000 spoken-word audio cassettes, 13,000 one-half and three-quarter inch videocassettes, 650 Laserdiscs, 2,500 DVDs, and a small number of CDs and CD-ROMs.


The Media Browsing collection, established in 2001, is available to all Indiana residents and can be used to supplement research projects, as well as satisfy extracurricular and outreach interests.  The browsing collection contains over 12,000 DVDs and videos, and includes art, biography, classics, documentary, English and foreign-language feature films, and television series.  The collection also includes a small but growing collection of foreign-language CDs, audiobooks on CD, and videogames in various formats.



The Media collection supports most academic programs within the university, and includes all subject classifications.   However, the collections are not evenly divided among the subject areas.  Some subject areas are more frequently represented in the production of video and audio materials and more suitable for video or audio presentation, such as those films used in introductory film courses offered by the Department of Communication & Culture and Telecommunications.  A limited number of films are also collected in the sciences for non-majors, such as DNA, and other titles in the PBS NOVA series.  The ISS collections provides access to many film titles in the social and natural sciences.



Materials are collected primarily in the English language, and other languages with English subtitles.  Foreign language productions without subtitles will not be purchased on the Media fund. However, they may be purchased on other funds and housed with the video collection.



Priority is given to documentary programs produced within the past ten years.  Older programs will be purchased only when they are classic titles or when it has been determined that no more recent production offers the same level of coverage -- in terms of content or quality.  There are no chronological guidelines for the purchase of feature films.


NTSC and Region coding

Programs will be purchased in the NTSC standard if available; programs in all other standards will be purchased on a highly selective basis.  At this time, we are purchasing DVDs encoded for North America (Region 1), and some limited titles released for playback on region-free DVD players.  This may change if demand for international films on DVD cannot be met with North American releases.


Cooperative Campus Resources

The Indiana University Libraries Film Archive

The Indiana University Libraries Film Archive collections include: The Lilly Library's holdings of the personal collections of filmmakers Orson Welles, John Ford and Peter Bogdanovich.  The Lilly Library's Bradley Film Collection, one of the most comprehensive film collections ever assembled by an individual collector, consisting of 3,964 16mm films. The Indiana University Libraries' educational collection, containing over 48,000 titles and dates from before WW2; the 16mm educational collection served for many decades as one of the largest distributors of educational and classroom films in the United States.  The University Archives collections of thousands of Indiana University athletic game films and other motion picture material related to the history of the University.


The Film Studies' library pages (maintained by the Film Studies Librarian) includes resources on film history and criticism, video recordings on film studies, and feature films.  Because Film Studies supports foreign language materials, it has been used to purchase foreign language feature films without subtitles.  Video recordings purchased on the Film Studies fund are housed in Media Services, along with the other video recordings.


IUB Campus Branch Libraries (School of Education, Music, Business/SPEA, Life Sciences, etc.) and Halls of Residence Libraries collect video recordings.  The Halls of Residence Libraries collects music audio cassettes, and video recordings including some foreign and classic feature films, primarily for recreational purposes.  However, the resources available in the Halls of Residence Libraries are available for circulation to Halls residents only.  Sidenote:  be sure to check with your department for additional media related resources.  Some departments on the Bloomington campus have their own personal video library.

The Black Film Center/Archive, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, houses a collection of films  that have substantial participation by African and African Americans as writers, actors, producers, directors, musicians, and consultants; or depict some aspect of the African and African American experience. 

The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction has a collection of erotic/pornographic films that constitutes a unique resource for research. 


Russian and East European Institute Audiovisual and Curriculum Library provides access to hundreds of videos and some DVDs for all Indiana residents.


The Center for Disability Information & Referral provides access to disability-related information through print, nonprint, and human resources. Very few entertainment-related films are included in the collection.  The collection is open and is available to all Indiana residents.


Gay, Lesbian, & Transgender Student Support Services contains an extensive library of materials pertaining to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender issues. These resources include over 2000 books, videos, cds, and periodicals. Our collection is a great resource for both research and entertainment.


Western European Studies Movie Library contains a wide selection of popular fims which circulates to all Indiana residents.


The Media fund also contributes to the joint-purchase of specialized video recordings recommended by other subject or area funds to be shelved in Media & Reserve Services.  The fund does not contribute to the purchase of media resources for other regional libraries.  Collection managers who would like to suggest a purchase on the Media fund or suggest a joint purchase for media resources should contact the Media Librarian.


Selection Criteria and Duplication - Overview:

The Librarian for Media selects video and audio recordings for purchase based on a number of sources:  reviews, online previews (television broadcasts, film festivals, media markets), film requests from faculty, researchers, students, collection and fund managers.  The Librarian for Media also encourages the use of items available through Interlibrary Loan.  Once an item has been determined to fall within the collection parameters, it is evaluated according to the following specific criteria:    1) Accuracy/authoritativeness, 2) Timeliness of information, 3) Level of treatment (analytical vs. descriptive), 4) Technical quality, 5) Aesthetic appeal, and 6) Relative cost.


The Librarian for Media makes every effort to assure acquisition of the best audio and video materials available.  She relies on critical reviews for most selections.  However, the librarian may request a preview copy from the distributor when:  1) the title has not be reviewed; or 2) the evaluations of two or more reviewers conflict.  The Librarian for Media regularly consults the following review sources:  Laser Scans: The DVD Newsletter, the Educational Media Reviews Online Database, the Video Librarian/Video Librarian Online,and AudioFile.  In addition to selecting AV materials from a number of independent distributors, the Librarian for Media routinely purchases films based on critique and popularity from the following sources:  ALA's Notable Videos for Adults, selected by the ALA Video Round Table, National Film Registry, the Criterion Collection, and Oscars winners and nominees selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Media may duplicate titles in disciplines that may otherwise restrict use to departmental faculty and students, or residential use. Restrictive collections can include:  the Black Film Center/Archive, the Department of Communication & Culture's 16mm film collection, and the Halls of Residence.


All purchases are subject to approval by the Librarian for Media, who reserves the right to return to a distributor material that does not meet expectations with regard to content or quality.


Selection Criteria - Feature Films:

Feature films are purchased on 1/2" VHS, and DVDs.  However, as more educational feature films become available on DVD, the purchase of 1/2" VHS declines. DVD is the preferred format and DVD play back equiment is available in the classroom.  DVDs are less expensive and offer superior video and audio quality.  The demand for more educational documentaries on DVDs is improving each year.


The feature film collection supports courses in Flm Studies as well as a variety of other disciplines.  Therefore, the collection includes the works of recognized directors and significant individual titles from the perspective of film scholarship.  However, it also includes films that may never be recognized for their excellence but they contribute to teaching in other disciplines, such as history, sociology, anthropology, and English.  Many foreign films in the collection are used by beginning and advanced language students.  The feature film collection reflects these various uses.


Selection of titles is made on the basis of reviews and faculty recommendations.  As the collection reflects the research interests of the faculty as well as their instructional needs, some directors and some genres are collected more comprehensively than others.  The Librarian for Media gives priority to films being taught in classes; faculty are encouraged to submit their course syllabi to ensure that films being taught are available in the library's collection.


Popular, current-release video recordings of feature films are purchased upon the recommendation of faculty, with the assurance that they will be used for research and/or instruction.  The Librarian for Media will also consider the purchase of popular, current-release video recordings based on films nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the American Film Institute "best" list, and the Library of Congress' National Preservation Registry List.  She may also consider using jobbers such as Ingram's I-Page to select popular films from various "best" lists.


Selection Criteria - Audio:

Spoken word audio is collected on audio cassette and audio compact disc.  Compact disc is the preferred format, due to quality and durability.  However, the availability of spoken word audio compact discs is limited.  The spoken word audio collection includes speeches, dramatizations of plays, other dramatic readings, poetry readings, interviews, and lectures. Due to a recent wave of patron requests to purchase "Books on Disc", the media librarian will add a small number of new titles to the collection each year based on input from subject area librarians, and patrons.  Patrons will continue to be redirected to the Monroe County Public Library for a wider selection of titles. Plays on tape or audio compact disc are one of the strengths of the collection.  Significant plays and the work of significant playwrights receive top priority for selection.  The music audio cassette and audio compact disc collections are housed in the Music Library.


Selection Criteria - Digital Streaming: (updates coming soon)

Faculty are encouraged to submit film requests for Video-On-Demand streaming to the Media Librarian.  There are few distributors which serve the university/college audience such as PBS and Films Media Group.  However, there is a fast growing list of VOD companies which provide free streaming access to support K-12 and some college-level instruction.  Some sites require that you register to gain access to the titles.


Streaming Video Procedures document

IUB digitized streaming film titles

IU Digital Libraries Program FAQ Wiki



Formats Excluded

The Librarian for Media will not consider purchasing the following items:  audiovisual resources for children not unless specifically requested by faculty or researcher, other Region encoded materials not listed above without equipment to support its playback, 3/4" inch (U-matic) or Betamax videocassettes, Music CDs/vinyl, or Laserdiscs.  Printed resources are purchased on the Film Studies fund, except reference tools used to support the media collection.  Although we no longer collect 3/4" inch videocassettes or Laserdiscs, they will remain in the collection until their shelf life expires.


Criteria for Placing Materials in an Auxiliary Collections Facility

Materials will be placed in an auxiliary collections facility, as needed, according to the following criteria and in consultation with the faculty, collection managers, and Subject and Area Librarians:  a) outdated media formats, such as the 3/4" (U-matic) videocassettes and Laserdiscs; b) older reference resources which are less-used and have not circulated over the past 7 years, and are are duplicated elsewhere in the IUB Libraries, c) the 16mm film collections; d) if space permits, the unused audio cassettes.

last updated: 10/31/2013