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Acquisition Policies


Book Acquisitions

Multiple Copies

Multiple copies will only be purchased when a title is recommended as a textbook (prescribed text) or a reference (recommended text) for a course offered by the University. Multiple copies of texts will be ordered according to the following formula:

  No. of students No. of copies
Prescribed text 1-30 1
--ditto-- 31-60 2
--ditto-- Over 60 3 maximum
Recommended text 1-40 1
--ditto-- 41-80 2
--ditto-- over 80 3 maximum

Additional copies will only be ordered if heavy demand is evident. Second copy of a donated item will be added to the library collection only if the first copy has been checked out 10 times or more in the last 2 years.

Electronic Books

Electronic texts will be acquired if they are suitable for scholarly use and will either support teaching programmes or be relevant to the education and research mission of the University. In addition, one or more of the following criteria will be applied when acquiring electronic books:

1. Uniqueness

  • A book title is available in electronic format only.

2. Access

The acquisition of an electronic book should facilitate access and alleviate the need for multiple physical copies. Examples are reference materials and textbooks.

3. Convenience of use

  • A book title is accessible either via a dedicated system with value-added features or directly through 1 Search. Users should be able to print pages or chapters as they would with a print text.

4. Currency of content

  • The content of a title is updated frequently.

5. Authoritative text

  • The text is authoritative, i.e. provided by a trustworthy and critical source and ideally includes an image of the original for verification. For example, Project Gutenberg texts would not be considered as authoritative.


Non-print Acquisitions

1. Relevance to teaching programmes

  • The title will either support teaching programmes or be relevant to the education and research mission of the University.

2. Uniqueness

  • The title of a particular subject is available on AV format only.

3. Format

  • The format must be compatible with equipment in the Library.
  • Current and acceptable format such as BD, DVD, VCD, CD etc. will be purchased.
  • Superseded and not acceptable format are 8mm loop film, or filmstrips, laser disc etc.

4. Usage

  • When considering usage of the title, it is important to note whether it is for short, medium or long term use.


To recommend Book / AV materials to the Library

  1. Select books or AV materials from the publisher's catalogues sent to the departments by the Library.
  2. Select books or AV materials through the Book Selection System at:
  3. Fill in the online recommendation forms at:
  4. Fill in a recommendation form and send it to the Library (Collection Development) by fax at 2838-6231, via internal mail, or email at The form is also available at the Circulation Counter.

Services 1 and 2 are available for academic staff only. All recommendations needed to be endorsed by relevant Programme Directors before ordering.


Donation of Materials

1. Policy

  • Materials offered as a donation is not always added to the library collection.
  • Donated materials will be evaluated with criteria, such as relevance to the teaching programmes, usage, currency, physical conditions and so on.
  • The Library may not accept items that are already found in the collection.  Donated materials become the property of the Library.
  • The Library reserves the right to dispose donated items not required by the library collection. 

2. Guidelines

  • Conditions for donation must be clarified and agreed upon at the time of acceptance.
  • Standard processing will apply to donated materials except where special treatment has been agreed upon.
  • A letter of acknowledgement will be sent to the donor upon receipt of the materials, confirming any agreed special conditions.

3. To donate materials to the Library

  • Donated items together with a donation form can be sent to the Circulation Counter (1/F of the Library).


Serials Subscription

Considerations in Serials Subscription

  1. If a serial title is available with full-text in electronic format, cancelling the print subscription may be considered unless a sound cause is given.
  2. The Library's emphasis is on accessing rather than owning the titles, particularly those costly ones. A greater portion of the library budget will shift from print journals to electronic access of full-text articles.
  3. Cost & Budget.
  4. Indexing:
  • Is the serial indexed in major indexes and abstracts?
  • Does the serial have its own index?

 5. Availability from Alternative Sources:

  • Is it available locally in other UGC libraries?
  • Is it available on the Internet or online electronic databases?
  • Would it be more cost effective by acquiring individual articles from document providers?
  • Other factors such as shelf space required, special equipment needed and binding requirement will also be considered.


Procedure of Recommendation of New Serials

  1. Serials selection is mainly based on the recommendations from academic staff.
  2. Recommendations of new serial title can be made by filling the online Serials Recommendation Form or by printing a Hard Copy of the form and sending the completed form to the Library (Collection Development) by fax at 2838-6231, via internal mail, or email at
  3. Recommendations will be checked against 1 Search. The recommender will be informed if the requested title is found in the collection.
  4. Serials staff will obtain quotations from appropriate vendors with the following evaluation data:
    • Title
    • ISSN
    • Price
    • Frequency
    • Subject coverage
    • Recommender
    • UGC libraries holdings
    • Availability in electronic format
  5. The Department Heads and Programme Directors will be asked to prioritize and endorse the recommendations in October.
  6. When the feedback is returned from the relevant Programme, the Serials staff will proceed to order around November, subject to the budget available, and the Programme's serials allocation.
  7. The Library will start receiving journal issues in the following year; the receipt month varies with the publication dates of the titles.


Acquisition of Back Issues

When making a new serial title recommendation, the recommender should also indicate if back issues are required. However, the Library cannot guarantee the availability of back issues.


Procedure for Cancellation of Existing Serials Subscriptions

  1. The current subscription to serial titles is reviewed on an annual basis.
  2. The Library staff will send a list of serials subscriptions to the Department Heads in September.
  3. Academic staff are requested to review the list and confirm whether the subscriptions will be renewed by October.
  4. The list of cancelled titles will also be circulated to other Departments for comments in October.
  5. If any other Department wishes to retain any titles on the list, the future subscription cost will be transferred to the interested Department.
  6. The cancellation process will begin in November. New issues of the cancelled title will stop coming in when the subscription expires.


Journal Use Study


To cope with the skyrocketing price of the serial and the budget constraint, the Library has been seeking effective ways to control the budget while keeping the quality of the serials collection. Use study is one of the measures. Data collected help decide whether a title of high cost but low use will be cancelled. Titles of low use will be sent to the Department Heads and Programme Directors for consideration during the serials review exercise.


The use of a printed journal is counted as the frequency of re-shelving. The following signage has been posted on every other bay of the bookshelves to remind users not to re-shelve used journals.

Chinese: 閱畢之期刊,請置於書車上,以便統計。

English: Please don't re-shelve used journals, put them on the trolley for statistical purpose.

Usage statistics of an electronic journal are collected from the relevant journal publisher's / aggregator's website.