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Collection Development Policy

General Policy Statement

The purpose of Music Library collection development at the University of Northern Colorado is to support instruction and research in the School of Music and the Musical Theatre Department, and to support these, to the extent possible, to a degree relative to each program's or concentration's relative strength.

Some music-related publications, such as choral octavos and large-ensemble parts, are collected and maintained by ensemble libraries in the UNC School of Music, and consequently are not collected by the Music Library.

Due to limited resources, no attempt is made to collect books and study materials that are required student purchases for individual courses. Materials outside the scope of School of Music and Musical Theatre instruction are not normally collected.


  • Books

    1. The Music Library seeks to have a collection of books that closely mirrors the programs of the School of Music and Musical Theatre programs at concentrations relative to program strengths.
    2. The Music Library does not purchase works whose normal function is to serve as textbooks for general survey classes (e.g. music appreciation, lower-level theory classes).
    3. Languages: A few major reference works are collected regardless of narrative language (e.g. bibliographies and thematic catalogs of major composers, MGG, major dictionaries). Non-reference narrative works (theoretical treatises, biographies, subject histories) are acquired in foreign languages only under compelling circumstances, e.g. specific request to aid long-term advanced research, and non-availability via Prospector. A small number of foreign-language periodical subscriptions are maintained, but are subject to the same serials review and cancellation procedure applied to all other subscriptions.
    4. The purchase of books costing more than $75 warrants special scrutiny. Relevant factors to be considered in purchase decisions are, in roughly descending order:
        1. relevance to curricular offerings
        2. centrality of topic to student and faculty research projects
        3. availability via Prospector
          As a rule, for instance, monographs related to composers of peripheral significance (bio-bibliographies, biographies, works studies) are seldom purchased, as these are easily available via Prospector.
    5. Librettos of operas are normally not collected unless present holdings (including librettos included in recordings) are insufficient with regard to a particular work. Books of musical theatre works are normally purchased from Musical Theatre subject funds, but will be purchased from Music Library funds as necessary. In all cases, such books are housed in the Music Library.
    6. Books about popular musics (excluding jazz) are normally not purchased on state funds.


  • General

    1. The Music Library seeks to have a collection of scores that closely mirrors the programs of the School of Music and Musical Theatre programs at concentrations relative to program strengths.
    2. The Music Library does not purchase works whose normal function is to serve as textbooks for general survey classes (e.g. music appreciation anthologies, lower-level theory workbooks).
    3. The Music Library does not normally purchase the following: 
        1. parts for ensembles of more than 9 performers
        2. popular music (song folios, individual songs)
        3. K-12 music instruction texts
        4. jazz charts
        5. choral octavos
        6. works in manuscript
        7. self-published works, unless the significance of the composer/arranger warrants it
    4. Whenever possible, scores are purchased to match recordings, and vice-versa.
  • Preferred Formats

    1. Monuments (M2): We maintain subscriptions to the Recent Researches series, Musica Britannica, Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich and a few other selected series. These will be regularly evaluated for the continued relevance of their recent publications. There are no plans to add additional topical monuments series, although individual volumes of such series may be purchased to fulfill programmatic needs. Parts are not purchased if available separately.
    2. Critical Collected Works (M3): The Music Library aspires to subscribe to editions of major composers whose works pose notable editorial challenges. Not all such series can be purchased with available funds. The presence in the library of a nineteenth-century critical edition does not preclude the purchase of a new series if the significance of the composer and the manifest improvements in editing, manuscript research, etc. warrants it. Parts are not purchased if available separately.
    3. Chamber music for up to 9 performers is purchased in both score and parts if possible. Purchase of only the score is an option when the piece is of considerable importance to music study, and local performance unlikely. Purchase of parts only is an option only when the score is unavailable and the parts are likely to support local performance.
    4. Early music is normally collected without parts if it requires instruments that do not belong to the normal curriculum (recorders, viola da gamba, viola d'amore, etc.)
    5. Orchestral and other large ensemble works may be published in either miniature/study score format, conductor's score, or both, depending on the following factors:
        1. legibility of the smaller score format
        2. cost of the larger score format
        3. importance of the score to study
    6. Opera scores and large-scale vocal/choral works are always collected in vocal scores when performance of the whole or selections therefrom is likely. Such scores are collected in full score for study purposes if the work is relevant to study; when possible, the full scores should be purchased in the smallest size that allows for easy study.
    7. Musical theatre scores are purchased in both vocal score and selections when possible. Full scores are as a rule not published, and are not purchased when available.
    8. Due to their frequently prohibitive cost, scores of avant-garde music styles are purchased with caution, and with special care to match them with available recordings.

Sound Recordings

  • General

    1. Compact Disc is the preferred format for recordings, and the only format considered for purchase. Recent format variants (SACD, DVD-A) will be purchased only if the item is backward-compatible with existing CD players and provided that
        1. there is no regular CD release of the content, and the value of the content justifies the added cost;
        2. the price difference between CD and variant format is negligible or nonexistent.
    2. Like all other Music Library collections, the CD collection's primary purpose is curricular support. Outside the primary areas of collection support (Western art music, musical theatre, and jazz), the Music Library strives to maintain a modest but representative collection of folk musics (i.e. field recordings of ethnomusicological interest) from around the world. Music for ballet class use (e.g. pointe) are not purchased with normal state-appropriated funds, nor are popular musics of any kind (including recent American "folk" music and recent pop-influenced "world" music); however, if needs arise, such materials may be purchased with gift funds and housed in the Music Library.
    3. The purchase of recordings on CD-Rs will be avoided except under compelling circumstances (e.g. specific curricular need).
    4. Duplicates of LP performances are purchased when
        1. needed for class study (especially reserves); or
        2. they can be acquired for free (e.g. via donation) or at a particularly low cost (i.e. at cut-out or record club prices, ca. $6 dollars including shipping and handling) and the potential usefulness of the item warrants its duplication; or
        3. the LP's condition warrants its replacement.

    When CDs are acquired in this manner, the corresponding LPs are withdrawn fro the collection.

  • Western Art Music

    Western art music is not only the object of most music study within the School of Music; it is studied by all music students, even those specializing in jazz and musical theatre. Consequently, a comprehensive and extensive collection of Western art music recordings is essential. Furthermore, the Music Library commits itself to offering a variety of differing interpretations of core repertoire, particularly with regard to Baroque, Classical, and early Romantic works, where both standard concert performances and historically-informed performances (using period instruments and striving to reproduce period practices) are essential objects of study. We note the following specific parameters:

    1. We strive to have a comprehensive collection of recordings within each area of Western art music study. We thus strive to have recordings of the great majority of (for example) Roger Quilter's songs, because even though he does not belong to the traditionally recognized canon of great composers and their works, his songs belong to the core repertoire of vocal music.
    2. Collection strength seeks to reflect the varying levels of intensity with which specific areas of music are instructed. Thus while organ music is collected comprehensively with regard to major canonical composers (e.g. Bach), we otherwise collect only to maintain a representative overview of works known primarily for their role within the organ repertoire, because UNC offers no organ instruction.
    3. Ephemeral repertoires are collected at a low level. These include contemporary choral music that falls outside of the Western art music tradition, music for high school bands, and other musics of primarily pedagogical nature and modest artistic quality.
    4. Whenever possible, recordings are purchased to match scores, and vice-versa.
  • Jazz

    The Music Library recognizes that jazz, even more than Western art music, is learned from the study of actual performances, and thus recognizes the crucial importance of acquiring and maintaining a comprehensive collection of those major jazz artists and styles suitable for study in an academic jazz program. To this end, the Music Library strives toward a collection that offers a representative overview of all important artists, and comprehensive coverage of major artists, in big band, bebop, hard bop, post-bop, third stream, and avant-garde styles. Early styles (e.g. authentic Dixieland, stride) and newer pop-influenced styles (e.g. soul-jazz, fusion) are collected when relevant to serious jazz study. Instrumental and vocal pop is largely ignored, although recordings by crossover artists of serious jazz content will be collected in moderation. All featured solo instruments are collected in roughly equal importance; vocal jazz styles (scat, vocalese) are collected as they are perceived relevant to jazz study. LP holdings are included in a calculation of collection strength.

Video Recordings

  • Video Recordings

    1. The desired format is DVD. VHS tapes are purchased when DVDs of the desired content are not available. The purchase of DVD-Rs will be avoided except under the most compelling circumstances. Blu-Ray discs are not purchased.
    2. Widescreen versions are preferred to the 4:3 ratio versions made to fit TV screens.
    3. Opera and musical theatre performances of important works are purchased. Original languages are preferred, and stage performances are preferred to movies, except in the case of movie musicals.
    4. A representative selection of major conductors in performance is collected.
    5. Performance instruction videos, often of a how-to nature, are at present purchased upon recommendation of concerned faculty.
    6. Music appreciation videos at the K-12 level are not purchased except when necessary for college-level music education instruction.

Other Media

  • Databases

    The addition of databases to the existing subscription profile will be considered on the basis of cost, usefulness, nonduplication of available print resources, stability, and currency.

  • Microforms

    Microforms are no longer purchased.

  • Periodicals

    The current subscription profile seeks to reflect research and performance interests related to the School of Music curriculum. (Theatre periodicals of interest to Musical Theatre students are collected by Michener Library.) The profile is renewed annually. Except in extraordinarily compelling cases, and assuming no increase in collection funds, no new subscriptions are added unless current subscriptions equivalent to their cost are dropped.

Purchase requests

  • Policy

    Patrons may request the purchase of items at any time. Decision to purchase is based on the following criteria, which are listed roughly in descending order:

    1. relevance/usefulness of the item to curricular support;
    2. cost of item against available funds;
    3. availability of item in different format in the UNC Music Library, and the usefulness of the format in which the Music Library currently owns the content;
    4. availability of item via Prospector;
    5. status of patron making request, with faculty requests meriting urgent consideration, graduate student requests receiving consideration before undergraduate requests. Note, however, that all requests made by UNC receive serious consideration;
    6. item format (subscriptions being subject to stringent ordering processes);
    7. availability of cataloging in the OCLC WorldCat database.

Donated Items

  • General

    Donations are gratefully accepted provided that

    1. the donor understands that items become the property of the University, cannot be returned, and will be treated in a manner deemed appropriate to the collection needs of the Music Library;
    2. the donor understands that neither the Music Library nor any other agency of the University may provide a statement of the dollar value of the donated items.

    The Music Library pledges itself to

    1. acknowledge receipt of donations by means of gift letters;
    2. to offer, upon donor request, a good-faith but nonbinding indication of how the donated items will be used (e.g. added to collection, sent to the University Libraries Book Sale, discarded);
    3. to provide, upon request and whenever possible, the name of an appraiser for tax purposes, and guidance in the location of the appropriate tax forms for donors desiring tax deductions.

    Acknowledgement of donations by means of  bookplates or other on-item donor tags will be provided only in exceptional circumstances (e.g. exceptionally large or rare collections).

  • Transportation of Donated Items

    The Music Library cannot pick up donations and cannot reimburse shipping costs.

  • Treatment of Donated Items

    1. Items are not added to the collection unless they are in suitable condition or, in the case of especially rare or desirable items, can be repaired, rebound, etc. for public shelving.
    2. Items in suitable condition are added to the collection based on collection needs.
        1. In the case of items duplicating those already in the collection, condition of donated and duplicated items, as well as frequency of circulation of the duplicated item, are primary considerations.
        2. In the case of items not already represented in the collection, the decision to add to the collection is made according to the collection development policies for new items.
        3. Items to be added to the collection are added in the following order, subject to processing staff availability:
            1. easily processed items (e.g. added copies, all books)
            2. items of core interest
            3. items of peripheral interest
    3. Items deemed unsuitable for adding to the collection are sent to the University Libraries Book Sale, if they are still in arguably useful condition.
    4. Items in unusable condition (high damage or deterioration, any mildewing, missing necessary parts) are discarded.

Donated Items - Special Policies by Material Type

  • Books

    No special policies.

  • Scores

    1. Multiple copies are accepted for standard repertoire if circulation statistics do not compellingly warrant the addition of extra copies.
    2. Individual songs and choral octavos are usually not added to the collection, but may be accepted for basement storage and future processing.
  • Commercial Compact Discs

    1. Due to space limitations, donated CDs that do not fit the collection development profile are normally not added to the collection. Discs are sent to the University Libraries Book Sale with their cardboard inserts; the plastic jewel case components are kept for the maintenance of the CD collection.
    2. CDs accepted for the collection are examined against the LP collection for possible duplication of performances; when such duplication is discovered, the LPs are discarded.
  • Enhanced Commercial Compact Discs (SACDs, DVD-As)

    These are collected only when demonstrably compatible with current CD playback equipment (both in computer and stereo component systems).

  • Commercial Vinyl Sound Recordings (LPs)

    1. The Music Library keeps only one copy of any given performance, keeping LP releases of a given performance only when it is not owned in CD format.
    2. The one copy of a performance may be preserved in either the circulating collection or in storage.
    3. When an item is received on donation that duplicates Music Library holdings, its cover and disc will be compared with those in the Library's holdings. The copy of the disc in better condition is preserved in all instances, with the other copy sent to the University Libraries Book Sale or discarded, according to its condition. When the condition of the donated cover is significantly better than that of the Library copy, the Library cover (with barcode) is deaccessioned and replaced by the cover of the donated copy.
  • Non-Commercial Audio Duplicates of Copyright Material

    These are neither accepted nor forwarded to the University Libraries Book Sale.

  • CD-ROMs

    Accepted, but added to the collection only in response to compelling need.

  • Other Audio Formats

    No other audio formats are collected, although infrequent and minor exceptions are made in compelling circumstances. Donations of such items are routinely forwarded to the University Libraries Book Sale. Ten- and twelve-inch 78-rpm recordings are not accepted for donation at all, unless of local interest or high collector value. Other uncommon or obsolete formats (e.g. wire recordings, disc recordings of unusual size, speed, or color) are accepted only to the extent that the Music Library needs examples of such formats for purposes of demonstrating the history of recorded sound.

  • Commercial DVD and VHS Tapes

    No special policies.
  • Commercial Betamax Tapes; LaserDiscs

    Added to the collection in exceptional cases as long as the Library's playback equipment is functional.

  • All Other Commercial Video Formats; Non-Commercial Video Duplications of Copyright Material

    Not accepted.

  • Microforms

    Accepted, but added to the collection only when need for the item is exceptional.

  • Periodicals

    Accepted, but added to the collection only under the following circumstances

    1. to fill holes in runs of periodicals already collected;
    2. to add significant (multi-year) runs of titles that serve the collection profile.

Deaccessioning and Replacement of Items

  • Lost or Nonreturned Items (all material types)

    These are replaced whenever possible, provided that the replacement serves collection needs. If replacement is desirable but impossible, they are officially withdrawn, but the Librarian will maintain a list of such items in the event that their content again becomes commercially available.

  • Deteriorating Items (all material types)

    These are replaced whenever possible, provided that the replacement serves collection needs. If replacement is desirable but impossible, they are officially withdrawn, but the Librarian will maintain a list of such items in the event that their content again becomes commercially available.

  • Replacement of Audio Formats

    Whenever possible, the preferred replacement format is CD.

  • Replacement of Video Formats

    Whenever possible, the preferred replacement format is DVD.

  • Replacement Funding

    Whenever possible, replacements are purchased using the Music Library replacement fund (fund 51180).


  • General

    The collections are weeded of superfluous items on a yearly basis. Considerations in this process are

    1. No unique copy of a given content is removed from the collection, unless
      1. it is damaged beyond repair; or 
      2. it is irrelevant to the interests of University programs
    2. The number of copies of superseded editions is to be reduced when demand for such editions subsides.

    No other formats are weeded at present.

Date of most recent revision: 11 April 2019