Collection Development Policy

The Strauss Health Sciences Library (Strauss Library) is the primary source of health sciences information resources for the CU Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz) of the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver). The Strauss Library supports the CU Denver mission by providing access to resources related to the health sciences disciplines represented at CU Anschutz.

Introduction and Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for building and maintaining a collection of information resources to meet the needs of CU Anschutz personnel and programs. Specific objectives of this policy include:

  • Communicating the nature and limits of the collection;
  • Defining objective criteria for making decisions;
  • Ensuring appropriate use of limited funds;
  • Promoting consistency in collection development decision making over time;
  • Relating library goals to the goals of the campus;
  • Serving as a contract between Strauss Library staff and CU Anschutz personnel.

Overview of the Collection

The Strauss Library provides access through purchase or lease to information resources including books, journals, databases, indexing/abstracting tools, and reference sources in print and/or electronic formats, as well as audiovisual media and software, to support CU Anschutz curricula, dissertation preparation, research, and clinical practice. In general, resources purchased or leased for the collection are appropriate for individuals studying at a graduate level or above, health care practitioners, and research professionals. Undergraduate level materials are not acquired except to support those CU Anschutz programs that offer baccalaureate degrees.

Journals are the primary source of information acquired and the Strauss Library focuses in investing in digital resources to meet the demands of CU Anschutz faculty, staff, and students for access to online information. In some cases, it is more appropriate to acquire materials in print, for example, while CU Anschutz students require online access to major, core textbooks, print books are still well-used and acquired. The library does not have sufficient funds to purchase both print and online versions of all titles. Only electronic versions of journals are acquired except for a very small number of journals that are not yet available in electronic format.  

The Strauss Library strives to provide adequate coverage in the areas of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, selected allied health disciplines, and basic life sciences. Health sciences specialties that are not taught or practiced at CU Anschutz are usually not acquired. For example, because the campus does not offer a degree program in psychology, only selected psychology information resources that directly support CU Anschutz programs are acquired. Other health sciences specialties that are not generally collected include, but are not limited to, chiropractic medicine, consumer health, homeopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, optometry, and veterinary medicine.

A variety of media resources including CD-ROMs, DVDs, software, and anatomical models are provided for lecture support and self-instruction by CU Anschutz faculty, staff, and students. Areas of strength include resources in human gross anatomy, microanatomy, neuroanatomy, physical assessment, and human growth and development that directly support CU Anschutz curricula. Many clinical medical and nursing specialties are also represented. To support faculty continuing education, the Strauss Library subscribes to four sections of the Audio Digest Foundation DVD/podcast based series on clinical specialties. Exam preparation is supported for CU Anschutz students through a subscription to BoardVitals, an online resource that assists students in preparing for the US Medical Licensing (USMLE) exam, the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), the National Board Dental Exam (NBDE).

The Strauss Library maintains a non-circulating reference collection to answer clients' immediate needs for information. The reference collection contains a variety of resources, including almanacs, bibliographies, biographical resources, core health science textbooks, dictionaries, directories, drug and toxicology resources, encyclopedias, indexes and abstracts, government publications, grant and financial aid resources, health-related legal resources, statistical resources, style guides and manuals, and test and measurement resources. The library's reference collection contains both print and electronic resources. The reference collection policy follows the general collection development policy in terms of subject scope; however, it includes materials necessary to answer a wide variety of general reference questions. The Reference Librarian in charge of the reference collection is responsible for recommending new reference materials, based on the guidelines in this policy, available funds, and input from other reference staff, and for weeding the collection.

The Strauss Library selectively collects materials published by Colorado health-related agencies, as well as other local and regional resources that are relevant to the needs of CU Anschutz personnel. The library is not a depository for U.S. government publications, but selectively acquires documents issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other U.S. government documents that are directly related to health sciences.

The Strauss Library maintains copies of master's theses from the College of Nursing and dissertations from the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, College of Nursing, and health sciences programs of the CU Denver Graduate School. Dissertations and theses from other universities are not purchased for the general collection. Books published by CU Anschutz faculty are acquired, as funds allow. Donations of items published by CU Anschutz faculty are encouraged and greatly appreciated.

Rare and historical health sciences resources are generally acquired only through donations. Items about the history of the health sciences are purchased selectively for the circulating History of the Health Sciences Collection. Archival materials related to the history of the campus such as annual reports and school bulletins, as well as photographs and other artifacts, are acquired through donations.

Funding for Information Resources

The primary source of funds for purchasing and leasing information resources is the Information Resources (IR) account containing state funds allocated to the library by campus administration. This annual allocation depends upon overall state funding for higher education, internal allocations among University of Colorado campuses, and CU Denver budgetary matters. Funds provided by CU Anschutz are augmented by the following sources:

  • University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) – UCH provides an annual allocation to the Strauss Library in return for the provision of library resources and services to UCH staff.
  • CU Anschutz Student Academic Support Fee – A portion of student fees is allocated to the library annually for the purchase of resources that support student needs. The amount of funds may vary from year-to-year.
  • Special funding – From time-to-time special funds are provided to the Strauss Library. For example, in 2007-2008 the library received funding from the Colorado Tobacco Tax to purchase information resources.
  • Endowment funds – Funding is augmented by several small library endowment accounts that generate revenue that can be used to purchase information resources within certain guidelines.

Information Resource funds cover the costs of purchasing and/or leasing access to books, journals, media, databases, and other information resources that support CU Anschutz programs. These funds also are used to cover the costs of binding, preserving, repairing, and replacing print materials. Library base funding does not increase when new CU Anschutz programs are added and support of such programs must come from program funds or additional funds provided by campus schools or CU Denver Administration.

Library Clientele

The Strauss Library is funded to serve the information needs of its primary library users including CU Anschutz regular faculty, CU Anschutz employees, students currently enrolled in CU Anschutz program, and UCH staff. Resources that support the clinical practice, educational, and research needs of these primary users are acquired for the library’s collection

Although limited access to the library’s information resources is provided to others affiliated with CU Denver, the Strauss Library currently is not funded to purchase resources for affiliated, non-primary users including clinical/volunteer faculty and preceptors; alumni; employees of Children's Hospital Colorado; and faculty, staff, and students of other University of Colorado (CU) campuses. As the provider of the largest collection of health sciences information resources in Colorado, the Strauss Library attracts a large number of library users unaffiliated library users. The Strauss Library is not funded to acquire resources to support the information needs of unaffiliated library users, although all users and Colorado citizens are welcome to visit the library and use resources on site.

Selection Responsibility

The Head of Collection Management who reports to the Deputy Director of the library has overall responsibility for determining which items will be added to or removed from the library's collection. Several individual library staff members are responsible for selecting resources for special collections.

CU Anschutz faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to use the Strauss Library online suggestion form to recommend and suggest new information resources. Suggestions for the collection may also be submitted on print forms available at the Service Desk. Recommendations are evaluated according to the guidelines outlined in this policySelection decisions are based on the relevance of items to the clinical practice, curriculum, and research needs of the greatest number of CU Anschutz faculty, staff, and students, as well as other guidelines specified in this policy.

Selection Criteria

Many factors must be weighed in making selection decisions. The following factors are considered when evaluating resources for addition to the collection.

Books (Monographs)

  • Subject matter and relevance to the clinical, educational, and research needs of primary clientele;
  • Potential use by primary clientele – may be indicated by use of previous editions and/or inclusion in standard recommended lists;
  • Currency – preference is given to the recent three-year period; Existing coverage in the collection;
  • Language and place of publication – only English language publications are purchased;
  • Cost;
  • Recommendations from primary clientele;
  • Book reviews;
  • Availability at Children's Hospital Colorado's Library and other local libraries;
  • Format.. *

* The library does not automatically exclude formats that provide pertinent information needed by primary users. However, the following types of materials are generally not acquired:

  • Charts;
  • Congresses;
  • Examination review books/guides;
  • Graphs;
  • Laboratory manuals;
  • Lecture notes;
  • Loose-leaf publications;
  • Microforms;
  • Pamphlets;
  • Pocketbooks;
  • Popular works;
  • Posters;
  • Proceedings;
  • Programed or self-instructional texts;
  • Reprints;
  • Spiral bound publications;
  • Study guides;
  • Syllabi;
  • Symposia;
  • Workbooks.


  • Subject matter and relevance to the information needs of primary clientele;
  • Potential use by primary clientele – may be indicated by inclusion in major health sciences indexes/abstracts, citation impact factor, inclusion in standard recommended lists, and number of interlibrary loan requests;
  • Cost;
  • Recommendations from primary clientele;
  • Language/place of publication – only English language publications are purchased;
  • Availability at Children's Hospital Colorado's Library and other local libraries.

Electronic Resources

  • Subject matter and relevance to the clinical, educational, and research needs of primary clientele;
  • Potential use by primary clientele – may be indicated by published reviews and requests from primary library users;
  • Cost;
  • Availability of necessary hardware, software, and connections;
  • Licensing agreement requirements/restrictions;
  • Appropriateness for the library environment (ability to be networked, etc.);
  • Access method – preference given to IP filtered access over pass-worded access;
  • Ease of searching and user friendliness;
  • Search speed;
  • Availability of full-text, full images, tables, and figures, PDF option, etc.
  • Security issues;
  • Vendor service reliability.

Open Access

Strauss Library will provide access to useful open access journals, books, and other materials as needed or as requested by faculty and/or librarians to support educational and research goals of faculty and students. Strauss Library supports the creation and dissemination of open access materials produced by CU Anschutz faculty, staff, and students and welcomes submission to CU Anschutz Digital Collections.

Special Collections

The Special Collection Room is located on the third floor of the library, just west of the south elevator. The room provides ample seating for reading, study, and research, and houses the following special collections.

Supported by a small endowment, the Amesse Collection provides a leisure reading collection of novels, biographies, and nonfiction, as well as a selection of popular magazines. Primary CU Anschutz clientele are encouraged to submit recommendations for new materials for this collection.

The Henry and Janet Claman Medical Humanities Collection (formerly the Arts in Medicine Collection) includes resources related to the humanities (literature, philosophy, ethics, history and religion, social sciences, anthropology, cultural studies, psychology, sociology), and the arts (literature, theater, music, film, and visual arts) and their application to health sciences education and practice. Books, DVDs, and online resources are included in this endowed collection.

The James J. Waring History of Medicine & Health Sciences and Rare Book Collection comprises two types of resources:

  • A circulating collection of 10,000 titles covers all aspects of the history of medicine and related fields as well as works on medical topics published between 1876 and 1913 that do not require the special handling of rare materials. Circulating materials housed in the Special Collections Room may be checked out by the library’s primary users.
  • The Rare Materials Collection includes items that, because of age, value, or rarity, require special handling and security. These items include books and journals, historical artifacts, and a small collection of photographs, many related to the history of the campus. Rare items are housed in a special climate and security controlled area adjacent to the Special Collections Room are available for use by appointment only.

The Florence G. Strauss-Leonard A. Wisneski Indigenous & Integrative Health Collection includes books, journals, databases, and other resources related to complementary health practices and alternative therapies from around the world, with a focus on different healing traditions, practices, and attitudes toward health and disease.

CU Anschutz Digital Collections

CU Anschutz Digital Collections is Strauss Library's trusted online service and space for CU Anschutz’s institutional repository that aims to capture, manage, and preserve the knowledge base, creative works, and intellectual output of CU Anschutz. Content of CU Anschutz Digital Collections is open and freely available on the web for users around the world.

Strauss Library's staff facilitate deposits of materials into CU Anschutz Digital Collections and does not generally support the removal of publications once posted. However, Strauss Library reserves the right to remove a publication if there is reason to believe it violates the rights of a third party, including cases of accusations of libel, invasion of privacy, or plagiarism.

Other Sources of Information Resources

Interlibrary Loan: Interlibrary loan (ILL) enables library staff to supplement the collection by obtaining copies and/or loans of items not available at the Strauss Health Sciences Library. Electronic ILL systems are used to locate items worldwide and request them for CU Anschutz faculty, staff, and students as well as to extend Health Sciences Library resources to researchers and library users from other institutions. There are charges for ILL services. Find more information about ILL here.

Prospector: The Strauss Health Sciences Library participates in the Prospector catalog containing the holdings of twenty three academic, public, and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Library users have access to more than 20 million books, journals, DVDs, CDs, videos, and other materials held in these libraries. Items can be identified and requested online using the Prospector button in Library Search or directly from Prospector. Requested items will be delivered to the Strauss Library for pick up.

UCH Patient Resource Center: Located on the main floor of the UCH Anschutz Centers for Advanced Medicine, the Patient Resource Center provides current information for patients and health consumers, including videos, books, pamphlets, patient handouts, and magazines with a special focus on cancer and nutrition. Many books are available in Spanish and English. The Center also provides access to computers with Internet connections for public use, a TV with VCR, and a reference collection. The Patient Resource Center is open to all CU Anschutz faculty, staff, and students.

University of Colorado Libraries: The Strauss Health Sciences Library is one of five University of Colorado libraries, including:

  • Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver;
  • Kraemer Family Library, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs;
  • Law Library, University of Colorado at Boulder;
  • University Libraries, University of Colorado at Boulder.

The five CU libraries have a tradition of collaboration and sharing collections through ILL and cooperative collection development. Currently, there are many electronic resources available to all faculty, staff, and students across the CU system through the efforts of the CU libraries to work cooperatively and license e-resources across the campus. The most significant example of collaboration to date is the joint licensing of access to ScienceDirect online journals, giving CU personnel from all four campuses access to more than 1,800 online journals.

Other Policies

Binding and Preservation

When possible, books are purchased in hard cover. Soft cover items received may be sent for binding, depending on cost and expected use. All print journals that are retained for more than five years are bound. Items needing repair are repaired in-house when possible. Items that are too damaged to be retained are discarded or replaced, at the discretion of the Head of Acquisitions and Collections. These decisions are made based on the usefulness and uniqueness of the item, as well as cost and availability.

Gifts and Donations

Gifts for the collection provide a valuable supplement to the library's Information Resources budget. Selection criteria for gift materials are the same as those for purchased materials. In most cases, duplicate materials are not be added to the collection. Resources most suitable for donation include:

  1. Funds to purchase online institutional subscriptions to health sciences journals;
  2. New editions of relevant health sciences texts;
  3. Books published by CU Anschutz faculty;
  4. Rare or historical health sciences materials.

Donors are asked to submit a list of items they wish to donate to facilitate the selection and processing of materials and for gift acknowledgement purposes. Lists may be submitted online. Donations cannot be accepted without prior approval of collection management staff.

Multiple Copies

As a general rule, duplicate copies of materials are purchased rarely, only when a title is very heavily used and funds are available. Second print copies of journals are not purchased. Some core books and journals are provided in print and electronic formats to ensure archival access. In recent years, CU Anschutz students have provided additional funding to the library for the purchase of second and third copies of selected heavily-used textbooks.


Books that are missing, lost, or damaged are not automatically replaced, even when the library is reimbursed for these items. The decision to replace a book is made by collection management staff based on use, subject matter and relevance to the needs of primary clients, currency, cost, and available funds. Missing print journal issues are replaced only when provided to the library by donors.  

Stored Materials

Because there is inadequate space to house all print resources in the library facility, many older materials, including books and journal volumes, are stored at the Preservation and Access Service Center for Colorado Academic Libraries (PASCAL), a high-density storage facility located at the CU Anschutz campus. Items stored at PASCAL can be identified and requested online through the library’s online catalog. Items are delivered to the Health Sciences Library for pickup via courier service within two to three days, Monday - Friday. CU Anschutz library users may schedule an appointment in advance to use materials at the PASCAL facility


Weeding, or the removal of items from the collection, is an integral part of developing and maintaining a relevant, useful collection. Materials no longer relevant to the needs of primary clientele and duplicate copies of seldom-used items are periodically removed from the collection. This is done to conserve valuable space and to improve the usefulness of the collection. Withdrawn books may be offered to other local libraries or discarded. Withdrawn journals are offered to other local libraries or through national library exchanges.