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Collection Development Policy

Revised May 2023

Table of Contents

Collection Development and Management Policy

I. Introduction to the Collection Development Plan

A. Purpose of the Plan and its Audience

The Cleveland State University College of Law Library Collection Development and Management Plan is intended (a) to guide the Law Library’s professional staff in the management, selection, retention, supplementation, preservation, cancellation, and disposition of library information resources, and (b) to inform library patrons, Cleveland State University and College of Law officials, and other stakeholders of the principles upon which Law Library staff base collection development and management decisions.

Because of the ever-shifting terrain of budgetary concerns, faculty research interests, teaching foci, and institutional priorities, this policy is a living document subject to change. Since FY 2009, the Law Library has focused on cutting and constraining collection costs as the prices of legal materials continue to rise beyond the rate of inflation. A major shift in philosophy relates to the purchase of integrating resources and electronic resources. Selected print integrating resources and less important print secondary materials with annual update costs are being purchased following a “just in time” rather than a “just in case” approach. This results in major annual upkeep and labor costs savings.

B. Description of Institution and Patron Groups

The Law Library is part of Cleveland State University. The College of Law offers both a full-time and a part-time JD program, as well as an LLM program and MLS (Masters of Legal Studies) program. Several types of health care certificates are available: for J.D. students, a general certificate in health law is available, while both J.D. and non J.D. students may earn certificates in health care compliance and health law and privacy. Practicing attorneys and health professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers and health care administrators, are eligible to enroll in an online Health Care Compliance Certificate. As of 2023, certificates are also available in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Security, Intellectual Property, Space Law, as well as a professional certificate in Electronic Discovery (eDiscovery).

The College of Law requires its upper-level students to complete a clinical or externship experience. Students also participate in Moot Court, Trial Team, Law Review, and Law Journals. The Law School publishes the Cleveland State Law Review, the Journal of Law and Health, and the Global Business Law Review.

The College of Law houses several Centers which influence collection development. As of 2018, these Centers are: The Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection; The Center for Health Law and Policy and The Global Space Law Center.

The Law Library also serves as a legal research center for the Cleveland State University community. In addition, the Law Library is available for use by the local bench, bar, and general public for the purpose of conducting legal research.

C. Library Mission and Goals of the Plan

The primary mission of the Law Library is to support the curricular and research needs of the students and faculty of the College of Law.

II. Policies of General Applicability

A. Selection - General

1. Selection Information

The Law Library’s information resources include not only physically owned items, but also purchased or leased information services in electronic or other formats. The Law Library provides access to legal information at the College of Law by using primarily online and print formats.

The Law Library’s information resources include physically owned items as well as purchased or leased information services in electronic or other formats. The Law Library provides access to legal information at the College of Law by using primarily online and print formats.

The Collection Development Librarian selects resources for discussion through a variety of means including use of Hein Greenslips, new title lists from vendors, advertisements, catalogs, publisher’s visits, review of materials at conferences, and faculty recommendations. The Law Library Director has final decision-making authority.

The Law Library encourages suggestions from the law faculty, and every effort is made to purchase titles suggested by law faculty, as the budget allows. For budgetary reasons, the Law Library places a lower priority on purchasing materials suggested by the faculty of other University departments, by members of the bench and bar, and by the general public.

The Law Library adheres to the standards of its accrediting organizations, the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, as well as the standards of the United States Government Depository Program.

2. General Criteria

Regardless of format, general criteria for selection of materials include the following:

a. Scope of the work and significance of the topics covered;

b. The author’s prominence or reputation for scholarship within the field;

c. Authoritativeness of the publisher or producer;

d. Accuracy of information and data;

e. Research level and intended audience;

f. Potential for known use by faculty, students, and other Law Library patrons;

g. Initial purchase price

h. Need for current information in the subject area;

i. Permanent or historical value of the work;

j. Importance within the context of the existing collection (i.e., unique vs. duplicative)

k. Scarcity of materials on the subject;

l. Whether the Law Library will own or license the materials;

m. Whether the item can be obtained by interlibrary loan or through OhioLINK;

n. Source of the request or recommendation

o. Whether the title or information sought is available online or in other works in the library;

p. Frequency and cost of supplementation;

q. Space, service, and equipment requirements to store, catalog, and use the item;

r. Use of the resource in law practice and the need to train students in the use of the resource; and

s. Jurisdiction: The Law Library provides access to primary materials for all state/federal jurisdictions. The primary jurisdictional emphasis of the collection is on Ohio and federal law. Foreign, international, and comparative law resources are collected at introductory levels, as well as in subject areas complementing collection strengths and curricular emphasis.

B. Levels of Collection Development

The Law Library collects at all collection development levels. See Appendix A for list of subject area levels.

[1] Out of scope

No material will be selected for the collection.

[2] Minimal/Basic

Materials selected generally provide an introduction or outline of legal issues related to the topic as well as an indication of the variety of information that may be available elsewhere. Typical minimal/basic materials would include broad-based summary works, major reference tools, serials, and bibliographies.


A reference level collection should support the information needs of faculty, staff, and students engaged in answering questions posed by classroom assignments at the introductory level of a legal topic. This collecting level should be able to assist a practitioner with information related to the investigation of routine legal problems. Typical reference level materials would include all minimal/basic choices as well as multi-jurisdictional topical treatises, major topically-oriented loose-leaf publications that are kept up to date, and important government documents and reports.

[4] Instructional Support

A collection that is adequate to support the J.D. program. The emphasis is on building current and representative collections adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject for limited or generalized purposes or for student research related to seminar work, but less than that required for scholarly research.

[5] Research

The Research level selection should support a large portion of faculty needs for conducting original research as well as moot court, trial advocacy, and Law Review and Law Journal. This collecting level should provide practitioners with the depth to research complicated legal questions. This area includes major published source materials and a wide selection of monographs.


A comprehensive collection seeks to collect all significant works within a particular field regardless of format or language. This collection level is historical by definition, and the library should seek to acquire all relevant works as they become available. A comprehensive collection should make the library a destination for scholars seeking to research the specified topic.

C. Language

The Law Library is not currently collecting information resources published solely in any native language other than English.

D. Package Plans and Standing Orders

Vendors and publishers offer package plans and standing orders for print materials as a mechanism to automatically ship their materials, sometimes at discount prices. These plans help to ensure that the Law Library receives, in a timely manner, significant publications considered essential to the collection. Package plans and standing orders are reviewed on an annual basis, or as the budget necessitates.

E. Cooperative Agreements

The Law Library is a member of several law and library related organizations and consortia. Consortia and memberships provide resource-sharing for member institutions. Currently, the Law Library is a member of the Law Libraries' Microform Consortium (LLMC), and, in partnership with the CSU University Library, is a member of OhioLINK, the resource-sharing consortium for most of Ohio’s academic libraries. OhioLINK membership provides member institutions, faculty, and students with access to materials held by other OhioLINK members. OhioLINK membership presumes that member institutions will maintain collections of value to be shared among consortium members.

F. Gifts

The Law Library sometimes accepts gift materials when they are given without restrictions. The Law Library reserves the right to review all gifts, select materials of interest, and decline offers of materials. All gift materials become the exclusive property of the Law Library and are added to the collection or otherwise disposed of as appropriate to the needs of the Law Library. Potential donors are urged to provide a list of the items considered for donation. The Law Library acknowledges receipt of any donation with a letter as soon as possible after receipt of the gift, but, pursuant to IRS Rules, we cannot appraise the value of, nor itemize, the donation.

G. Duplication

As a general rule, the Law Library purchases a single copy of any material, although the Law Library may purchase duplicate copies of certain core materials and of heavily used materials. The Law Library will purchase duplicate copies in sufficient numbers to maintain an acceptable level of availability in the library.

The Law Library purchases materials in electronic format. The availability of a publication in electronic format is a factor in considering whether to purchase a title. The Law Library aims to eliminate duplicate coverage among formats unless multiple copies are required.

The Law Library very selectively collects materials and resources of sociological, economic, and historical value in non-law disciplines when these materials support the teaching and/or research needs of CSU|LAW faculty and students. The Law Library generally does not purchase materials already held by the Cleveland State Michael Schwartz Library unless the College of Law curriculum or demand by College of Law faculty and students supports such acquisitions.

When appropriate, the Law Library purchases some duplicates of materials for use in the clinic library due to the demand and need for access to those materials on site in the clinic. These materials are duplicates of materials available in the Law Library.

H. Format

The Law Library seeks to select material formats most appropriate to the needs of its patrons. Information resources available for purchase or lease may be available in one or more formats: online, print book, audio or video such as DVD. For selecting information resources that primarily provide document text delivery, the Law Library will consider the guidelines below.

1. General Format Guidelines

The Law Library collects materials primarily in print and digital formats, weighing various factors in considering acquisition. General considerations include:

a. Cost;

b. Accessibility, including off-campus access;

c. Coverage

d. Probable demand;

e. Ease of use of the interface;

f. Reliability of hosting vendor or government entity to archive;

g. Licensing guidelines;

h. Ownership;

i. Financial ability to keep current;

j. Availability of alternate and/or back-up sources;

k. Use of this format in practice;

l. Availability of catalog records;

m. Projected longevity;

n. Primary or secondary information; and

o. Usability and stability of format


  1. Guidelines for Certain Formats

Audio-visual Materials: The Law Library purchases some audio-visual materials such as DVDs where the content will enhance the collection.

Microforms: The Law Library is not actively purchasing microforms.

Audiobooks on CD: The Law Library has a collection of audio study aids, such as the Sum and Substanceseries. Law student requests of additional audio study aids would be considered.

  1. Guidelines for Certain Types of Materials

Cancellation and Withdrawal

Professional staff regularly assess subscriptions to determine the best allocation of Law Library resources. Review focuses on each vendor, including vendors providing third party services. The Law Library may cancel the receipt of some materials but retain back issues or copies. In other cases, the Law Library may cancel materials and withdraw all copies of the material.

The Law Library follows these principles in considering materials for cancellation and withdrawal:

  • Consider cancelling the print version of titles available to students and faculty electronically, either freely available through the internet or as part of databases to which the Law Library or Michael Schwartz Library subscribe, such as HeinOnline, LexisNexis, and Westlaw. The library adheres to Interpretation 606.2 for reliability criteria.
  • Consider cancelling an item when upkeep costs become a financial burden to the institution. The Director will make the cancellation decision. Law Library staff will consult with members of the faculty as appropriate.
  • Consider cancelling an item that is not in substantial demand and is not of continuing research value.
  • Cancel duplicate copies of materials unless there is a clear demand that justifies multiple copies.
  • Consider cancelling low demand titles that are available through OhioLINK.
  1. Weeding and Withdrawal

The Library will make decisions regarding which items should be withdrawn permanently from the Library’s collection, based on several criteria:

  • Importance of the material to the legal collection (based on the Library’s collection development goals and program);
  • Obsoleteness of material (particularly canceled materials and older sets without value for research purposes);
  • Duplication of and/or alternative access to content;
  • Space considerations (existing space vs. future growth space needs);
  • Level of use; and
  • Publication or accession date.

Retention Policies and Superseded Materials: The retention of dated or superseded materials will be based primarily on maintaining the presence of information in the collection, rather than on the probability of future patron use[BAF1]. Some items are withdrawn on a periodic basis; other decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. In order to maintain complete collections in selected substantive areas, superseded editions of materials may be retained. Other factors to be considered in retention decisions include faculty scholarship and research interests, the cost and feasibility of adequately preserving the physical format of the information, cost and availability of content replacement in other formats, shelf space and duplication of the information in other sources.

III. Detailed Analysis of Collections

A. Introduction

The major focus of the information available in the Law Library is United States legal materials. The information resource development guidelines are divided into several parts:

  1. Core Collection
  2. Law subject/treatise collection
  3. Reference collection
  4. Ohio law collection
  5. State law collections (other than Ohio)
  6. Foreign, Comparative, and International Law
  7. Non-law
  8. Federal government documents
  9. Newspapers and newsletters
  10. Casebooks
  11. Study aids
  12. Practice Collection
  13. Reserve
  14. Special Collections (Archives)
  15. Casual reading

B. Guidelines

1. Core Collection

The law Library’s Core Collection consists of the core materials identified in Interpretation

606-5 of Standard 606 of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standards for Approval of Law Schools. This portion of the collection includes fundamental primary legal resources, secondary legal resources, and appropriate finding tools for conducting legal research on United States law. Core materials are available in print or stable electronic form. Core materials include:

  • All reported federal court decisions and reported decisions of the highest appellate courts of each state;
  • All federal codes and session laws, and one current annotated code per state;
  • All current published treaties and international agreements of the United States;
  • All current published regulations of the federal government;
  • All codified regulations of the State of Ohio;
  • Selected federal and state executive and administrative agency decisions, opinions, indexes, and digests;
  • US Congressional materials appropriate to the curriculum;
  • Significant secondary works necessary to support the programs of the law school; and
  • Those tools, such as citators and periodical indexes, necessary to identify primary and secondary legal information and update primary legal information.

    2. Law Subject/Treatise Collection

The Law Library purchases titles for the law subject/treatise collection that support the College of Law’s programs and the teaching, scholarship, learning, skill-building, and research needs of the College of Law’s students, faculty, and staff. The Law Library collects with particular intensity in Ohio law and in those areas covered by the

Curriculum including the College of Law Centers. The Law Library provides basic, general coverage in other areas unless there is an identified need for a stronger research level collection in an area.

3. Reference Collection

The Reference Collection includes, in print and online formats, selected reference materials such as: legal encyclopedias, American Law Reports, dictionaries and thesauri, directories, idioms and usage guides, citation guides and style manuals, and bibliographies. The most current Ohio law resources are also housed in the Reference area.

4. Ohio Room

The Law Library’s extensive collection of Ohio primary and secondary legal materials is housedin the Ohio Room. The goal of the Ohio Room is to provide comprehensive access to Ohio legal primary and secondary materials, Ohio practice materials, as well as other materials on Ohio politics and government.

5. State Law Collections (other than Ohio)

The Library does not actively collect print materials for states other than Ohio.

6. Foreign, Comparative, and International Law

The Law Library selectively collects foreign, comparative, and international law materials in accordance with the selection guidelines in Appendix A.

7. Non-Law

The Law Library very selectively collects materials and resources in non-law disciplines when these materials support the teaching and/or research and scholarship needs of the faculty, students, and staff. The Law Library generally does not acquire materials that the Michael Schwartz Library already holds in non-law areas unless the College of Law curriculum or demand by College of Law faculty, students, or staff supports such acquisitions.

8. Federal Government Documents

The Law Library is a designated United States Government Depository Library. As the Michael Schwartz Library is also a member of the Depository program, the two libraries collaborate on selection decisions. The goal of the collaboration is to ensure a comprehensive non-redundant collection, which supports the University and Law School curriculum. See Appendix B for additional information on government document selection.

9. Newspapers

The Law Library subscribes to major legal newspapers relevant to our patron’s needs. Many newspapers are available in electronic format from the Michael Schwartz Library or OhioLINK.

10. Casebooks

The Law Library generally does not purchase casebooks. Some professors and students donate casebooks, and we keep those in our study aid room.

11. Study Aids

The Law Library collects selected study aids for student use. Some examples are Examples & Explanations, Nutshells, hornbooks, and Sum & Substance. Some prior editions are retained to meet student demand.

12. Legal Clinics

The Library acquires limited print resources for the Clinic Library. This Library is located in the Clinic area of the basement of the College of Law. Materials for this location are chosen by the clinic faculty members.

13. Reserve

The Reserve collection includes non-circulating copies of faculty designated course reserve materials drawn from the Law Library collection or provided by the faculty member 14. Special Collections (Archives)

The Law Library seeks to acquire official publications and productions of the College of Law including law reviews, audiovisual materials, program materials, promotional and informational materials, and final reports resulting from College sponsored celebrations and special events, as well as publications of the Law Faculty.

When budget allocations permit, the Law Library seeks to acquire materials of special curricular or scholarship interest or historical value, with particular emphasis on Ohio law. In determining if a donation is appropriate for our Archives, library staff considers the following:

  • Who created the item?
  • Is the item of relative importance?
  • Does the Archives already have an identical item? No more than 3 copies, in general, of an item will be retained.
  • What is the condition of the item? Can the Archives care for it properly? Will its preservation require expense that is beyond the means of the budget?
  • If the item is a donation or bequest, is it clear that the donor has legal ownership and the right to offer the item to the Archives?
  • Is this material available elsewhere?

At some future time, the library may decide to digitize or otherwise reformat donated collections for preservation and access purposes. In this instance, the original material may be kept, returned to the donor, or destroyed according to the terms of the donation agreement.

In 2012, The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office donated a collection of materials related to the trials of Sam Sheppard. The thousands of digitally scanned items in this collection include police reports, trial transcripts, newspaper articles and other legal documents related to the case. Many documents are posted and can be viewed for free on the College of the Institutional Repository and all the electronic files may be viewed on designated computers in the Law Library. The Law Library attempts to acquire all significant published titles related to this important legal case.

15. Casual Reading

The Law Library collects a number of legal and general interest periodicals and newspapers. In addition, the Law Library acquires through donations of popular legal fiction and non-fiction titles for circulation.

V. Review and Revision of the Plan

While the need to provide access to certain core legal materials remains central to the library's mission, the means of such access is continuously evolving. The curriculum, faculty and student research interests continuously develop and change. To ensure that the Library anticipates and supports academic needs, the Collection Development Policy and its accompanying procedures are reviewed regularly.


Appendix A - Subject Areas of Collection Development


Administrative Law4
Alternative Dispute Resolution3
Aviation and Space Law4
Banking (International and US)3
Business Enterprises3
Canon Law2


Civil Law3
Civil Procedure4
Cleveland History2
Commercial Law3
Comparative Law4
Conflict of Laws3
Constitutional Law4
Constitutional Law - First Amendment4
Consumer Law3
Corporations and Securities3
Criminal Law and Procedure4
Criminal Law and Procedure - Death Penalty4
Criminal Law and Procedure - Juvenile3
Criminal Law and Procedure - White Collar4
Cyber Law4
Education Law4
Elder Law3
English and Canadian Law1
Entertainment Law4
Entertainment Law - Art Law3
Entertainment Law - Music Law4
Entertainment Law - Sports Law4
Environmental Law4
Estates, Wills, and Trusts4


European Economic Community1
Family Law3
Federal Legislative History4
Government Contracts3
Health Law5
Intellectual Property4
Islamic Law4
Judaic Law4
Labor and Employment5
Land Use Development and Planning5
Law and Literature2
Law and Medicine (see Health Law)5
Law and Psychology4
Law and Public Policy4
Law and Religion (Church and State)3
Legal Education4
Legal Philosophy4
Legal Profession and Ethics4
Legal Research and Writing4
Legal History4
Local Government Law4
Military Law2
Nonprofit Organizations3
Ohio Law6
Oil and Gas Law4
Products Liability3
Roman Law2
Sexual Minorities and the Law4
South African Law2
State Materials (other states)1
Supreme Court History3
Telecommunications Law3
Trade Regulation3
Urban and Community Development5
Women and the Law4

Appendix B - Government Documents Policy

1 Introduction

The Law Library is a member of the Federal Depository Library Program. As a selective depository, the library is responsible for maintaining and organizing the government documents distributed to us by the FDLP. The purpose of the library’s government document collection is to support the information needs of the College of Law’s students and faculty and members of the public.

2 Scope

The library is a selective depository and does not receive all materials. Selection is based upon the Law Library community’s informational needs; therefore, the materials tend to be law-related. The materials are particularly selected to support the curriculum of the College of Law and facilitate student and faculty research.

Because the Law Library general collection includes multiple sources of laws and regulations (in print and/or electronic formats), items that are laws and regulations related to a Federal Agency are generally not selected.

Because annual reports, performance reports, financial reports, strategic plans, rules, and similar materials are readily accessible on Federal Agency and Congressional Committee web sites, such items are generally not selected.

3 Formats

Materials are selected primarily in electronic format. The Law Library does not select microfiche, poster, braille, CD-ROM, or non-English language materials.

4 Retention

Print materials with exceptional historical or research value may be retained indefinitely while other materials are retained until obsolete. Weeding is irregular. In reference to the CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, since the Law Library selects electronic and print formats of this title, it is only necessary to retain one year of the print format of this title.

6. Compliance

The C|M|LAW Library maintains its government documents collection in compliance with:

A. 44 USC Chapter 19 - Depository Library Program (

B. Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository

Library Program


Weeded government documents are discarded in accordance with FDLP Needs & Offersprocedures.