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Collection Policy: Selection Standards

D. Journals

  1. Degree of Scholarship: The library generally subscribes to new substantive journals produced by American law schools and high quality English-language law reviews from other countries. New non-academic law journals are collected within the collection parameters and practice-oriented journals are purchased if they are of high quality and relevant to faculty interest or the curriculum. Journals consisting of reprinted articles are not purchased. Non-legal scholarly journals are considered if they focus consistently on topics collected at instructional or research levels.

  2. Topical Journals: The library subscribes to topical journals that support the instructional and research needs of the law school.  The library prefers not to subscribe to those journals that are so specialized that a very limited number of patrons would use them, e.g., a journal dealing with an aspect of law and technology that is aimed towards the scientist rather than the public policy maker, or a journal that covers a narrow aspect of a subject where that aspect is already covered by other journals with a greater breadth of focus. Specific faculty requests are evaluated on an individual basis. The library also considers the extent to which other Boston University libraries may own or be expected to purchase the journal.

  3. Level of Indexing: The library generally collects scholarly titles indexed in Index to Legal Periodicals and Books, Current Law Index, Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, and Legal Journals Index.

  4. Long Term Research Value: The library prefers journals that are not aimed towards providing current awareness. For those titles that do serve primarily as current awareness (generally purchased upon faculty request), the library tends to retain issues for a limited period of time.

  5. Format preference: The library provides multiple formats and access methods for a broad range of law and law-related journals. Print supports routing to faculty and is the basis for the permanent historical collection. The need for multiple print copies has decreased due to increasing reliance on electronic sources.  However, duplicate print copies are purchased for a small number of frequently cited journals to provide availability to a wide audience and, if needed, for faculty routing.

    Electronic access supports broad access for both remote and campus-wide use, and is increasingly the choice of researchers for its ease of retrieval and copying. Online access is typically acquired for print subscriptions when available and the cost is reasonable. Page image sources are given highest collecting priority to support citation to the final published version. Access through journal aggregators is rarely relied on as the only or primary source for journals because of concerns about long-term reliable access and incomplete coverage. Electronic-only access is preferred for materials that contain primarily current information with less permanent value, or infrequently used sources.

    Access to e-journals is provided in the same manner as print resources via the catalog, Boston University’s BU eJournals  list, as well as through campus open URL link resolver services. The law library coordinates with other campus libraries to prevent duplication, purchase digital archive access, and explore the most advantageous pricing models for electronic offerings.

  6. Symposium Issues: Duplicate issues are collected selectively under the standards for monographs.
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