Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center


Collection Development and Management


LR Operating Instruction 34-4



November 2004  



READER SERVICES DIVISION                                                                                  LR OPERATING INSTRUCTION 34-4

Fairchild Research Information Center (FRIC)

Maxwell AFB AL  36112                                                                                               29 November 2004



Morale, Welfare, and Recreation


This operating instruction sets forth the Collection Development policy of FRIC.  It applies to all staff members involved in the selection/deselection of materials for the FRIC collection. 


1.  References:  FRICR 34-4, Acquisition of FRIC Material.


2.  Policy:


     a.  FRIC provides academic research support as required by the educational and research missions of Air University (AU).  The Chief, Reader Services Division, is responsible for the selection of FRIC materials and for the general development and management of all parts of the FRIC collections with the exception of map collection, which is the responsibility of the Cartographic Technician, Circulation Branch.


     b.  An inclusive basic acquisitions policy was first developed and published in 1955.  The present policy evolved from later versions of the first publication, but incorporates changes of emphasis and direction as required by events and developments of recent years.  This policy is included as Attachment 1 to the Instruction.




Terry L. Hawkins                                               1Atch

Chief, Reader Services Division                     FRIC Acquisitions Policy








Supersedes LR OI 34-4, January 2003








Attachment 1


1.  Introduction.    This operating instruction provides staff guidance on and user clarification of the acquisition of information in support of the instructional and research needs of Air University.  Historically, the FRIC collections have consisted of monographs, periodicals, documents, maps and authority materials.  These terms still apply; however the formats now encompass print, microform, in-FRIC electronic media, remote electronic media, and audio/video/graphic media.  Although the scope and emphasis of the collection continues relatively unchanged, the trend of delivering information is gradually evolving to include both in-house physical volumes and electronic access by the user both within and outside the FRIC facility.  The following sections describe the priorities and contextual scope of the information, modes of delivery and the tiers of access, and they serve as acquisition criteria.  The policies are intended to be broad enough to anticipate known requirements and yet be flexible enough to encompass the unknown.


2.  Acquisition Patterns and Priorities.     Acquisition priorities form concentric  circles, with highest priority given to AU curriculum and research support.  Basically three levels of priority are identified: 


         core mission support, primarily AU school curriculum/assignment information in the English language

         supplemental mission support, including research and in-depth concentrations in various languages

         strengthening and broadening of undergraduate collection goals


Recommendations by AU faculty are sought and, if approved, expedited.  As discussed previously, the format of the information may be in other than print volumes.  It is the FRIC’s goal to acquire information in the format most appropriate for intended application, and for broadest access affordable.


3.  Modes of Information Delivery.     Historically, AU FRIC acquired and stored information in a tangible format that the patron accessed within the FRIC facility.  The world of information today does not necessarily require the physical presence of the user, nor that the information be in a tangible format.  These modes of delivery are currently in place:


As opportunities for electronic access to information mature, FRIC will evaluate those alternatives and, where appropriate and affordable, will adopt the electronic options.  The goal is to maintain a high-level of convenient, dependable resources accessible to resident and remote users.


4. Gifts and Donations.  The Director and the Chief, Reader Services Division, divide the responsibility for dealing with prospective gift offers. 


5.  Development and Preservation of the Collections.  


        a.  Selection.  The Chief, Reader Services Division, is the staff officer responsible for overall development of the print, microform, and electronic media collections.


To achieve diverse and informed coverage of relevant subject fields this individual will be assisted by FRIC staff, faculty, researchers, and students.


       b.  The FRIC staff functions in collection development in two primary methods.  Members of the Reference Branch will constitute an unassembled selection committee for books, journals, videos, microforms, and electronic/digital products and services.  The division chief will rotate selection journals, slips from the approval vendor, and other relevant documents to them.  Using their general knowledge of customer requirements, expectations, and needs, initial recommendations will be made by these librarians.  The Chief will review recommendations, consult with individual selectors and/or branch chiefs, and forward approved selections to the acquisitions librarian.


      Members of the Bibliography Branch will have primary responsibility for selection of materials for the Military Document Collection.  They will screen incoming documents that are received “on distribution” (i.e., because the Center has previously indicated to specific agencies our desire to receive all of their publications) and select those considered appropriate for FRIC.  They will review and select from announcement publications such as the Cumulative Abstracts Bulletin from the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).


      Teaching faculty and other researchers will be encouraged to play a role in the development of the collections.  During new faculty orientations, each instructor will be informed of the process by which recommendations for the collection may be made.  Faculty recommendations will be processed through the appropriate school bibliographer.  The Chief, Reader Services Division, will review faculty recommendations, approve/disapprove, forward the item(s) to acquisitions for purchase, and maintain a dialogue with the instructor for feedback and discussion as appropriate.                                                                                                                                         


        c.  Deselection.  The Chief, Reader Services Division, will also preside over the processes associated with deselection of materials, including journals, subscriptions, books, documents, and electronic products and services.


               (1) Journal subscriptions will be reviewed twice annually upon the receipt of vendor invoices.  Primary responsibility will lie with the Chief Periodical Reference Librarian, but consultations with the Chief Reference Librarian, other affected librarians, and with faculty are undertaken as appropriate.


               (2) The Document Collection will be weeded on a continuing basis by a team of bibliographers under the review of the division chief.

               (3) The book Collection is regarded as a permanent research collection.  Deselection is rare but may be undertaken by teams of reference librarians and bibliographers when the division chief deems it appropriate.

                (4) Electronic products, because they are still new and novel, will be reviewed annually by the Chief Reference Librarian and the Chief Bibliographer in consultation with the Electronic Resources Librarian.  Primary  criteria for deselection will include continued relevance to the curriculum, cost-effectiveness, availability of better products, etc.

d.  Deteriorating Print Materials.  Circulation staff will be alert to the need for an ongoing surveillance program that concerns itself with endangered volumes.  Experience teaches that some materials that deteriorate from heavy use can be rebound without much further consideration depending on age,  currency, dollar value, curriculum relevance, etc.  Others require more investigation.  Generally, books with a pre-1900 imprint deserve close scrutiny by the Chief, Reader Services Division, before any steps are taken to bind, repair, replace, or protect.  Pre-1850 volumes generally belong in the Air University Collection.  Pre-1920 volumes with potentially valuable illustrations or maps also deserve inspection for inclusion in the Air University Collection.  


            Preservation of our collections is a Center-wide responsibility.  Staff members will take every opportunity to direct the division chief’s attention to items in need of care, repair, replacement, binding, etc.


        e.   General Criteria for Selection/Deselection.  These criteria are intended to provide broad parameters for collection management activities.  They should not be regarded as limiting, categorical, or interpreted as the sum total of considerations that can be applied to specific decisions.



            (1)   Selection Criteria:



·        Consider the relationship of the item under inspection to the subject area (to which it belongs) as a whole.


            ·        Is the coverage this item provides important, either currently or historically, to the collection?  Is it needed to

support AU curriculum requirements.


·        If this is a new or revised edition of an earlier book held by FRIC, does it different significantly.


·        Consider the author.  Which other items by this individual are owned by FRIC?  Consider the author's

credentials, evidence of reliable scholarship, etc.


·        Consider existing coverage of this subject in the FRIC collection.  Is another (book, journal, document, electronic product,

or service) a needed, justifiable, cost-effective addition?


·        If the book is a foreign imprint, consider publisher and price as well as language.  In general, we will not purchase

extensively in languages other than English unless a faculty member recommends the item.


·        Consider the intrinsic value of the item.  Is it a definitive study of the kind no academic research center should be without?  This is

a powerful justification that also serves to keep the collections diverse and wide-ranging.



               (2)  Deselection Criteria:

·        Items should be weeded if they lend "negative value" or impression to the collection due to outdated or misinformation,

inappropriate format, or other contributing factors.


·        Items should be weeded if they are marginal to FRIC customer interests, older than 10 years, and available in other collections.  Classics in core fields can be identified by checking Books for College Libraries.   


·        Bibliographer and faculty review of deselection candidates in

their areas of expertise is appropriate and valuable.  The designated weeder will be responsible for coordinating the process with faculty members.


·        Items older than 1950 should be checked in OCLC prior to

deselection to determine uniqueness; this factor could influence the item’s return to the collection, or relocation to Special Collections.


·        Volumes in poor physical condition may be forwarded to

Circulation for rebinding, or replacements may be ordered.


·        There may be occasions when it is appropriate to retain an item

regardless of condition or usefulness to the collection.  Usually, that will be a consensus decision between the weeder, LR, and FRIC director.


·        Generally, textbooks older than 5 years should be withdrawn.


·        Full runs of superseded editions that provide useful historical

data, such as encyclopedia yearbooks, or The Uniformed Services Almanac, should be retained.

·        Generally, superseded and updated directories, chronologies, and encyclopedias should be withdrawn


            (3)  Additional Selection/Deselection Criteria Specifically for Journal Subscriptions and Standing Orders.     

                   Does the item provide significant coverage in its field, and is it a value-added title for FRIC?

                   Is the item’s cost justified in terms of the research value it provides?

                   Is the title indexed in indexes held by FRIC?

                   Is the full-text equivalent available via a current electronic database, subscription service or the Internet?

                   Will it continue to be accessible in the future?

                   Is the item used, or will it be used, in sufficient numbers to justify purchase as opposed to acquiring

                   needed articles or issues via document delivery or interlibrary loan?

6.  Specific Collections. Historically, FRIC has found it appropriate to organize certain materials separately for improved control or access.  These collections have unique properties that deserve to be addressed individually.  As a selective depository in the Federal Depository Library Program since 1963, FRIC receives core federal publications from the Superintendent of  Documents and individual agencies, concentrating in the areas of national defense and international security.  These materials are incorporated into the book,  technical report, periodical, microform, and  electronic collections as appropriate,  rather than housed separately.  Accordingly, the same selection, deselection and preservation guidelines apply to depository item as to other library materials.


      a.  Documents Collection.  FRIC has, since inception, recognized the importance of the “document” (the general FRIC term for the technical report and allied literature) as a research and curriculum support tool of major importance.  Today, as the result of long years of effort by a diligent staff, the FRIC document collection, consisting of half a million items, constitutes a source of information without parallel in scope and general depth within the Department of Defense.  The blueprint for the coverage and the FRIC “need-to-know” is provided by AFI 36-2303 which states, “FRIC requires copies of all publications and documents which express or support policy decision, furnish significant information on Air Force programs, or otherwise have a current or future research or reference value in matters pertaining to the mission and operation of the Air Force.”  It must be noted that the recent climate of downsizing  defense agencies and trimming contract operations has impacted the process of obtaining documents substantially.  Fewer agencies now maintain automatic distribution lists, and copies that may previously have been provided free now incur charges.  As these factors gradually take their toll, it is anticipated that the rate of print acquisition will decline, and the nature of many acquisitions will be “on-demand” rather than proactive.

The Center is cleared to receive documents classified up to NATO and including TOP SECRET (RD).  All documents incorporated into the collection receive full bibliographic treatment and every effort is made to ensure that this valued resource is kept current by virtue of a continuous program of professionally monitored acquisition and weeding.


                        (1)  Central to AU curriculum support is the full spectrum of publications from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the research products from other PME institutions, and the Dept of Defense Directives and Instructions. 


                        (2)  Complete coverage of Air Force Major Command and Air Staff document publications is sought.  This applies especially to such products as staff studies, operations analyses, plans and orders, program documents, statistical summaries, and weapons analyses and applications.  Selective, discriminating coverage is maintained for such materials emanating from the other armed services, with the exception of key high level documents such as five-year plans and technological forecasts, which are extensively acquired.
                        (3)  Extensive coverage is provided in the fields of intelligence, insurgency/terrorism, and foreign military capabilities, vulnerabilities and intentions.  Selective coverage is maintained in the areas of scientific and technical intelligence.  Tactical intelligence coverage of areas where U.S. forces are currently deployed is maintained as necessary.


                        (4)  The reports of DOD contractors, such as Aerospace Corporation, Abt Associates, Rockwell International,  Lockheed Martin  and numerous others are obtained selectively as they pertain to AU requirements.  The same is true of the reports, research memorandums and other publications of the defense-oriented research corporations, such as the Battelle Memorial Institute, the Rand Corporation, and the Institute for Defense Analyses.


                        (5)  The publications of special agencies and commissions of the federal government are selectively acquired.


                        (6)  Intelligence and technical publications of friendly foreign governmental agencies, such as Great Britain, Canada and Australia, are acquired selectively in accordance with exchange procedures set up by HQ USAF in cooperation with the Defense Intelligence Agency.


                        (7)  The acquisition of the documentary publications of international treaty organizations is pursued selectively.

        b.   Authority Collection.  In 1994 the Air Force issued the first CD-ROM containing the Air Force Electronic Publications File (AFEPL), and has subsequently reduced distribution of those publications in print format.  This disk and now the Internet site contain most Air Force Instructions and Air Force Forms, and is destined to contain all unlimited Air Force Publications entirely.  The same plan is underway for most Air Force Major Command Publications.  The AFEPL is widely available throughout the Air Force, and the new system has altered FRIC’s procedures in managing the Authority Collection, temporarily creating a  dichotomy in organizing and accessing the information.  Nevertheless, the following paragraph still accurately reflects FRIC's authority for the collection and its application.

(1)  The FRIC Authority Library, organized in accordance with the procedures provided by AFI 37-160,  v.7 constitutes a Master Publications Reference Library as defined in that regulation, but with a major difference.  The FRIC Authority Library exists to provide an additional source of reference materials for the academic activities of the AU, rather than to provide a master reference file for an administration function.  As such, the FRIC collection includes a great deal more material and type of publications than a Master Library, and occasional deviation from AFI 37-160, v.7 regarding filing and posting are countenanced with a view to making the collection administratively manageable and usable by students.



(2)  FRIC has provided a unique historical approach to printed authority materials.   Complete coverage of superseded Air Force regulations has been sustained, bound for permanent retention.  Superseded manuals and pamphlets are retained selectively.  All superseded disks of the AFEPL are also retained for historical purposes.

                   (a)  Scope The growth and coverage of the Authority Library is determined, as is that of the document collection, by the FRIC responsibility, outlined in AFI 36-2303,  “to provide a comprehensive documentary collection to support the reference and research requirements of the Air University and USAF.”  As a result, coverage is vast as well as varied.


                              (1)   Complete holdings of all current USAF and major command regulations, instructions, policy directives, manuals, letters, pamphlets, and organization charts are sought and largely achieved.


                              (2)  Comprehensive, but not complete, coverage of numbered Air Force publications is sought.

                              (3)  Selective coverage is provided for the publications of certain Air Force Centers and Services depending on their observed relevance to the academic program of AU.


                              (4)  Complete files of the regulations, supplements and instructions of AU schools, colleges, other organizations and of the 42d Air Base Wing are provided.


                              (5)  Outside the Department of the Air Force, complete coverage of Federal Aviation Administration regulations, Defense Intelligence Agency directives and Armed Services Procurement regulations is sought.


                              (6)  Selective coverage is provided to the circulars and instructions of the Defense Communications Agency, and to the regulations, manuals, and handbooks of the U.S. Navy, U. S. Army, and the Defense Supply Agency.


      (b)  Maps, Charts and Related Publications.  The Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center Cartographic Information Section maintains a current collection of maps, charts and related materials.  The collection, numbering about 463,000 items, is comprised of Army, Navy, and Air Force maps and digital products from the Defense Mapping Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, and others.  This cartographic collection was explicitly developed for and in direct support of the Air University mission.  Distribution of these maps  and charts is under the guidelines set forth by the producing agencies supplying these products and Air University.  The Cartographic Technician, Circulation Branch, is responsible for the selection, acquisition, organization and maintenance of all maps, charts, and related products.