Media collection development policy

Last updated: December 1, 2011

Collection focus

The Library collects audio-visual media, visual media, and audio media primarily to enhance the curricular experience of undergraduates and graduates at Laurier.

Audio-visual media

As of June 2011, the Library is now responsible for developing collections and services to support the University classroom collection through selective purchasing, licensing of streaming media, and short-term loans from other educational institutions. The type of films collected is largely determined by faculty recommendations and may include documentaries, feature films, interviews, or animation.

The former Media Technology Resources (MTR) Collection is housed at the Waterloo campus library as is the Dept of English and Film Studies media collection. The Brantford and Kitchener campuses have a dynamic, current use media collection while the Waterloo campus houses the bulk of the media collection.

The Library facilitates access to film collections through the following services: classroom booking and scheduling of media showings; cataloguing and searchable access through the Library catalogue; circulation of media to current students, faculty, and staff; reserves services for student viewing of course specific films; interlibrary loan services for faculty to borrow from other universities; delivery of media between Laurier campuses; viewing equipment in the Library, and management of university public performance rights (PPR) licenses. Information on circulation and booking policies is available at:

Visual media

The Library has a limited collection of slides and digital image databases to support visual media needs for teaching and research. The collection was originally developed to support the Archaeology and Classics program but the image databases, including ARTstor, now include a broader range of images. A focused teacher-education poster collection has also been developed to support the Faculty of Education program. The Department of Cultural Studies also collects pop culture visual print and online resources.

Audio media

Sound recording collections are developed to support the teaching and research of the Faculty of Music. The Library also has a small focused collection for other specific areas including the Faculty of Education curriculum collection.

Collecting priorities for audio-visual resources

Liaison Librarians are responsible for ensuring a balanced collection of resources in all formats in their subject areas. The Departments that are specifically interested in media have details on guidelines and collecting priorities. See other collection policies. For audio-visual media, Liaison librarians rely primarily on faculty recommendation and critical reviews when selecting titles and collections.

Because of limited Library funds for purchasing films with PPR, the librarian and faculty liaison, or individual faculty member, will discuss the frequency and anticipated use to determine if borrowing an individual title is preferable to purchasing. Information on circulation and booking policies is available at: Librarians should also check if the film is available for loan from Watmedia.

Librarians and faculty decide, at the time of request, whether the film should be housed at the Waterloo, Brantford, or Social Work campus library. Librarians and faculty submit purchase requests through the recommend an item form.

Purchase is recommended if:

  • The title is of interest to more than one department or area of study and/or will be used more than one term and/or by more than one instructor. Due to the high cost of obtaining films with PPR, it is important to select films for purchase with multiple course uses.
  • The title will be viewed by students outside of the classroom screening and may be put on reserve. Films are borrowed from other institutions with a very short loan period and restrictive use policies so are not suitable for use other than in a classroom viewing. While the English and Film Studies Department houses films in the Library, the films are solely funded by the Department and are not owned by the Library.

Collection scope and format

  • Language: Only media in languages taught at the University is selected
  • Format: For films, DVD is preferable to VHS. VHS is purchased only if DVD format is not available. DVD or CDs are purchased for audio. For DVDs, NTSC Region 1 is preferred. Beta, laserdiscs, 16mm, Blu-Ray, MP3, MP4, and AVI formats are not purchased. Slides were historically added to the collection but preference is now for digital images. Streaming media available from a vendor site is considered, with the recognition of the uncertainty of reliance on stable, high speed Internet connectivity in the viewing location.
  • Captions: Films with captions are preferred
  • Review Copies: Review copies from distributors are not generally obtained. A loan of a copy from another institution is the preferred process for reviewing purposes.
  • Multiple copies: Because of limited funds, the Library does not purchase multiple copies of the same format. Films of interest at multiple campuses can be housed at one location and delivered through the inter-campus delivery system for classroom viewing and, depending on demand, for reserve. The Library may purchase a streaming copy to complement a high demand film. The Library may duplicate films in the Dept. of English and Film Studies because of limited use policies of these films
  • Price: A single media item costing more than $350cdn will not be automatically purchased without consultation with the requesting faculty or librarian. In this initial stage of the Library providing support for the University film needs, films will be purchased from a central media budget that is equally divided between the Faculties and the Head of Collections will be responsible for monitoring requests and purchases to ensure all teaching areas are represented. Streaming media will be purchased from the central electronic resources budget. Regular reports of spending on media will be reported to librarians and due to the limited budget, a “wish list” of media requests will be maintained until additional one-time funds are available.
  • Access Rights: Media with PPR or governed by the University licenses are preferred. Educational use rights for audio and visual media are preferred.
  • Ownership Rights: Perpetual ownership is preferred but in some cases a multi-year short-term access license may be obtained, especially if cost for ownership is prohibitive.
  • Commercial Availability: Media are obtained from commercial distribution sources only

Use guidelines

The Canadian Copyright Act requires that public performance rights be obtained to show media (including films, music, and artwork) in a classroom or other public venue. The Library strives to obtain public performance rights at the time of purchase or licensing of media. The University has negotiated campus-wide PPR rights for feature films represented by Criterion Pictures and Audio Cine Films Inc. The Library has also licensed streaming rights with the National Film Board of Canada and select databases from Alexander Street Press (ASP).

To determine if the University has PPR for a specific title, check:

The Educational Rights Collective of Canada provides information and reporting forms for copying and using radio and television programs in a classroom. Copying radio or television programs and obtaining rights is not within the scope of the Library’s media services, though the Library may purchase commercially available media from sources such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The Library also does not cover the costs or arrangements for obtaining PPR for out-of-classroom events.

Films without PPR can be put on reserve for personal study but cannot be used in classroom viewings. The Library clearly labels media without PPR in the library catalogue record and on the physical item. All users are not allowed to re-sell, lease, transfer, sub-license or otherwise distribute a copy of any item in the Library’s media collection. Users must also agree not to modify, corrupt, or alter any media resource. All media must be used only for teaching or research.

Replacements and de-selection

As formats become obsolete, librarians are responsible for making decisions regarding replacement and reformatting. Media that is being heavily used may be transitioned to a newer format, after review by librarians and/or faculty liaisons. Librarians will assess emerging formats and be ready to adapt when they prove stable and appropriate for institutional needs. Under copyright law, only media that is no longer commercially available may be considered for reformatting from an obsolete to new format

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