Acquisition Policy

The Library has developed subject profiles based on the major fields of study and research at KFUPM as a guide to selecting materials in different subject areas


The mission of the KFUPM Library is to collect materials in all formats in support of the university's teaching and research programs. Primary emphasis is on acquiring current materials.


The Library has developed subject profiles based on the major fields of study and research at KFUPM as a guide to selecting materials in different subject areas. The profiles cover academic department codes, department names, subject majors, corresponding LC class numbers, and the Book Industry Classification (BIC) codes. BIC is a standard classification used by all major vendors in categorizing materials by subject. For more information about BIC subject categories and qualifiers, please visit:


The American Library Association has defined the following levels of collection as numerical valuesto describe a library's collecting activity and goals

  1. Minimal level. A very limited collection of general materials, including monographs and reference works.
  2. Basic level. A highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject, to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere, and to support the needs of general library users through the first two years of college.
  3. Study level. A collection which supports undergraduate or graduate course work, or sustained independent study; that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, or less than research intensity.
  4. Research level. A collection which includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers.
  5. Comprehensive level. A collection in which a library endeavors, so far as is reasonablypossible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge for a necessarily defined field.

While it may not be possible for us to achieve a level-5 collection due to limited resources, a level between 3 and 4 should be our target.


Subject specialists are subject experts who are responsible for collection development in one or more areas. Since the library does not have its own subject specialists, the liaison persons from academic departments will act as subject specialists. The acquisitions librarian designated for each college will work closely with the liaison persons of academic departments within the college in developing their respective subject collections. They will ensure that no areas of development proper to the collection are ignored and the collection as whole is developed objectively, consistently and thoroughly. The Manager of Acquisition will prepare a directory of subject specialists with their full contact addressesand update it each semester. The directory may also include the names of subject specialists from the library, if any.


Users should observe the following guidelines for initiating library materials purchase requests

  • All library materials purchase requests related to the fields of study in the curriculum orgeneral research of academic departments must be approved by the department chairmen ordeans before sending them to the Dean of Library Affairs.
  • The requests for materials required for funded research projects must be sent to the librarythrough the Dean of Scientific Research and in the case of requests from the Research Institutestaff, through the Vice Rector for Applied Research
  • The library will encourage the faculty, students, and staff to recommend library materials forpurchase, however, the decision to approve or disapprove them will rest with the Deanship ofLibrary Affairs.
  • Faculty may also recommend titles to be purchased from short course and research funds or todevelop their own departmental resource collections from the department funds.Recommendations may be initiated by completing the purchase request form( or by contacting the designated liaison person fromthe department.

The Manager of Acquisitions will keep track of the collection growth in each subject area based on thecollection statistics generated on regular basis. If he observes that the collection in any particular areais lagging behind the collections in other areas, he will take his own initiative in selecting materials inthat area in consultation with the department liaison.


The general criteria to be used by the selectors for the acquisition of library materials are listed belowin priority order:

  • Curriculum support. Materials related to the fields of study in the curriculum will form thecore of the library collection
  • Research support. Materials related to the research conducted by faculty, researchers from RI,and graduate students to be acquired.
  • Collection continuity. Updating of the collection with new titles and editions on a regular basis.
  • Reference materials. Bibliographies, catalogs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes andabstracts, directories, and manuals fall under this category.
  • Audiovisual media. E-books, CDs, DVDs, videos (preferred medium will be DVD, if available,over videocassettes) and multimedia form a critical resource of a modern library. Microformreproductions will be limited to retrospective materials that are unavailable or very expensive inother media.



In general, the library should acquire materials in what it judges is the most appropriate format(s)when there is a choice?printed, microform, digital. Until electronic resources are judged to becompletely secure and sustainable, most text-based materials will not be acquired in electronic onlyformat when there is a choice. Some reference materials, however, such as abstracts and indexes,dictionaries and encyclopedias, directories, etc. may, because of their usefulness in this format, beacquired and retained in electronic only format. In addition, back files of periodicals in print formatand large sets on microform should be replaced with their electronic version to ease pressure on thecritical library space.


English is the principal language of materials acquired for library use. Arabic materials relevant to theuniversity curriculum will also be acquired. Care should be taken in assessing the value of Arabicmaterials, which should only be done by professional librarians.Selected materials from other languages will only be acquired if supported by strong justification andapproved by the Dean of Library Affairs.


Cost of materials will also be a deciding factor in acquiring materials. Request for any item costingmore than $ 500 will be discouraged. The Acquisition librarian may contact the requester to informhim about the high cost of the material and to advise him to find an alternative title with a lower cost.If the requester insists on his request, the matter should be referred to the Dean of Library Affairs, whowill have the final authority on acquiring expensive materials.


The acquisition of duplicate copies of books or any other library materials should be avoided unlessthe item is in great demand and acquiring the second copy will help the users in their studies.

Gift and exchange

The library welcomes gratis materials from individuals, government, and private organizations anddepartments to enhance the collection. However, any materials which are not relevant to the subjectprofiles or found to be below the accepted minimum academic level will not be added to thecollection.The library regards mutually beneficial exchange agreements as an appropriate method of acquiringimportant materials which fall within the context of its subject profiles.


The library maintains a collection of textbooks prescribed in various courses offered at KFUPM. Thiscollection will be updated each semester with the lists of textbooks received from the bookstore. Forany questions regarding the list or a textbook, the respective department may be contacted.

Government publications

The library gets Saudi government publications free of charge. However, not all of them are receivedautomatically. Considering their academic and research value, efforts should be made to acquire thosemissing publications through regular follow ups with the concerned departments. Reference librarianswill be responsible for selecting and acquiring Saudi government publications of reference nature.

Learned societies' publications

Because of the research value of the learned societies' publications, the library will acquire thosewhich fall within our subject profiles through membership of the societies or through orderingindividual titles. These publications also include proceedings of numerous conferences organized bythe professional organizations and societies, such as the Association for Computing Machinery(ACM), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Chemical Society (ACS),etc.

Theses and dissertations

The library as a policy collects one hard copy and one soft copy on CD-ROM of all Master's thesesand Ph. D dissertations accepted in various academic departments at KFUPM. The library also getshundreds of theses and dissertations in Arabic, mostly on CD-ROM, from other universities in theKingdom. Care should be taken in selecting only those theses and dissertations which fall within oursubject profile. The rest should be brief listed and kept in a designated area.Acquisition of theses and dissertations from foreign universities should be discouraged as much aspossible. Selected foreign theses and dissertations may be acquired with the approval of the Dean ofLibrary Affairs.

Paperback vs hard cover editions

The library will prefer hard cover editions over paperbacks as they do not get mutilated quickly due toheavy use.

Solutions manuals

The library will not acquire any solutions manuals relevant to any courses taught at KFUPM unlessrequested by the academic departments for their own use. In such cases, the manuals will be sent tothe departments without cataloging them.


Materials which do not support the collections' stated purposes and objectives may be withdrawn.Materials will be identified for withdrawal as they come to the attention of the library staff in thenormal course of their job performance.

Damaged and lost materials

Damaged materials are repaired, rebound or replaced when they meet other selection criteria asdescribed in our policies.Lost materials are replaced whenever possible, if they meet other selection criteria as described in ourpolicies. Later edition or version will be preferred, if available.


The library collection needs continuous evaluation in order to be sure that the library is fulfilling its mission to provide materials in support of the university's academic and research programs in a timelymanner. Statistical tools, such as circulation reports, collection turnover rates, fill rates, reference fillrates, shelf allotments, and volume counts will be studied to determine how the collection is beingused and how it should change to meet user needs. The input received from user surveys will also beused in evaluating the collection.