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Language selection


by Sandra Di Majo - Biblioteca SNS

Development of the Collections

The policies followed for the development of the collections at the Scuola Normale Library aim at:

  • guaranteeing the presence of the tools needed for information, general, specialized and interdisciplinary research even in fields outside current activity,
  • guaranteeing the update of the specialized materials, in particular for the teaching and research fields of the Scuola Normale,
  • guaranteeing the “archival” function of the Library by conserving publications which document the institutional and scholarly life of the Scuola Normale and collections acquired through donations and legacies.

Selection criteria


The criteria are those which can be found in the typical professional literature on the subject. The main points are: the quality of the work, its relevance for current needs and for the Library collections, the cost (even if not the main element for selection) and the presence or not of the work in other Pisan libraries.
The same principles, with some differences due to the type of material involved, are applied to the electronic publications. For these, the hardware and software requisites and quality are important, as well as the conditions of accessibility over time linked to the material (deterioration, hardware obsolescence, etc.), to editorial policy (the suspension of a subscription can lead to retrospective loss of access for which payment has been made as well) or stability, for the publications freely accessible through Internet.
The Library uses caution and a policy of strict relevance for the new types of publishing offers (e.g., the “packets” of electronic periodicals). This does not exclude, obviously, attention to the evolution of the publishing market and to the new forms of acquisition (in particular “consortium acquisitions”).

The Library generally does not accept

  • duplicates which are not needed
  • works which are not coherent to the patrimony of the Library or popular in nature
  • with a few exceptions, extracts of articles contained in publications already present in the Library.

The acquisition of donations of entire collections is subject to special norms.

Who carries out the selection
Many people participate: professors, researchers, librarians, students of the Scuola Normale. It is a balanced procedure aimed at facing the quantity and the specialization of current scholarly production, and its effectiveness can be positively influenced by an wider coordination among the Library and the other teaching and research structures.
The selection of the donations of single works is directly carried out by the library personnel usually as the gifts arrive. The acquisitions of entire collections are approved by the Board of Directors after considering the opinion of the Board of the Library.

Deselection criteria  

This usually involves lesser used works which are therefore considered as opportune to be removed from the collection in the open stacks and transferred to the deposits. It more rarely involves the cancellation of subscriptions or other standing order publications, or elimination.
The decision to deselect is governed by:

  • data obtained through use surveys
  • presence of the publication in other Pisan libraries
  • degree of completeness of the collection or the work
  • degree of “obsolescence”
  • language of publication
  • cost and in particular the cost/effectiveness relationship

A document explicitly dedicated to deselection analyzes in detail the criteria, the case histories and the procedures to follow.

The opinion of specialists in the many subjects is also certainly very useful, in particular if the decision involves the cancellation of a subscription or the transfer of entire collections to the warehouse.

[page created: 04-05-2004 - last modify: 02-07-2020]