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Foreign Materials Collection Policy

Foreign Materials Collection Policy

The UMD Libraries emphasize the acquisition of English-language materials. However, subject selectors may purchase material in any language appropriate to a given subject area, or at the request of faculty or students. Literary works in the languages taught at the University of Maryland (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) are preferred in the vernacular, and are acquired in English translation only when in direct support of the curriculum. Non-literary works may be acquired in the vernacular and/or in English translation, depending on the subject or if requested to support curriculum.


The purchase of works translated from one foreign language into another is generally avoided unless an English translation does not exist. Translations from English into other languages are rarely acquired, unless they are to be used in coursework.

Reference works:

In general, electronic versions of reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are preferred. Some print foreign-language dictionaries are purchased when no electronic version is available, along with limited numbers of specialized foreign reference sources. General print encyclopedias in foreign languages are not typically acquired. Foreign dissertations are not purchased, as those are provided through the Center for Research Libraries (CRL).

Audiovisual materials:

With input from subject selectors, foreign audiovisual materials are purchased by Library Media Services. Materials will be purchased to support the research and teaching interests of students and faculty, with additional emphasis placed on acquiring materials that highlight issues relevant for diverse populations.


Materials are generally acquired in the format that will best meet user needs. Digital materials, depending from which country, may be more difficult to acquire. Therefore, it is likely that some traditional formats (such as print books and even microform) will be purchased. This will be reassessed on a regular basis.

Resources selected:

Along with traditionally published works, high quality open access resources from foreign countries are considered when developing our collections.

Collection Review:

The collection will be reviewed for appropriateness on a regular basis. Unless justified by demand, duplicate copies will not be kept. Replacing print copies with electronic versions is a viable method of deselection. However, the following must be taken into consideration: 1) quality of scanning; 2) conditions of access (leased or perpetual); 3) associated annual fees; 4) completeness of reproductions.

Policy created 2015; Reviewed and approved by CDC 6/23/15