Video/DVD/Film Collection Development Policy


The primary purpose of the videocassette/digital video disc/film collection is to support the instructional needs of Gettysburg College faculty, students, and staff. The collection also supports and enriches the university's cultural and intellectual resources.

The collection consists of ½" videocassettes and digital video discs (DVDs). These media resources are presently housed on the ground floor of Musselman Library. Items in duplicate formats and low-use items may also be kept in the Knouse Remote Storage Facility. A small number of films containing College lectures and events are stored in Special Collections, along with second copies of films in which College faculty or alumni starred in or directed.

The Musselman collection is browsable, located in open stacks. Items held at Knouse are not browsable and must be requested through MUSCAT or the Circulation Desk. Special Collections items are not browsable, and must be requested from staff in Special Collections.

Items check out for a period of three (3) days, and can be renewed once for an additional three (3) days. Longer loan periods may be coordinated with the Media Services Coordinator under special circumstances. Items in Special Collections do not circulate.

Types of materials purchased

  1. Materials purchased include documentary films, instructional films, performances, performance art, and feature films, including independent, foreign-language, and popular features.
  2. Popular feature films are normally purchased only upon the request of an instructor to support classroom instruction. However, in some cases, the Media Services Coordinator or librarian liaisons may purchase popular feature films at his/her discretion in order to meet curricular or community needs.
  3. Formats purchased include ½" videocassettes and DVDs.
  4. Because the video/DVD collection supports all academic programs within the college, it includes all subject classifications. However, the collection is not evenly divided among subject areas. Some subject areas are more frequently represented in the production of video/DVD materials and are more suitable for video/DVD presentation. In addition, some subjects are of more interest or use to the Gettysburg College curriculum than others.

The library no longer selects or maintains 16 mm films or filmstrips as part of its collection. At present, the library does not select or subscribe to any streaming video services. However, this is an area being explored for future collection development.

Scope of coverage

  1. When documentary films are purchased, priority is given to those produced within the past ten (10) years. Older films will be purchased only when they are classic titles or when it has been determined that no more recent production offers the same level of coverage, in terms of content or quality.
  2. There are no chronological guidelines for the purchase of feature films; all time periods may be collected.
  3. English and any other language with English subtitles will be preferred. Resources in a foreign language without English subtitles will only be purchased in special circumstances, e.g., upon the request of a foreign language faculty member for use with upper level curricular needs.
  4. Although the collection includes materials produced throughout the world, most resources are obtained through United States distributors due to format compatibility issues. Programs will be purchased in the NTSC (for video) or Region 1 (for DVD) standard if available; programs in all other standards will be purchased on a highly selective basis. The library's media equipment generally is capable of playback of multi-region videocassettes and DVDs, but this is not the case for the entire campus.


  1. Video/DVD purchases in interdisciplinary areas or which may be of interest to several departments, the greater curriculum, or the college community are normally selected by the Media Services Coordinator. The Media Services Coordinator uses the General Materials-Video/DVD fund code (GMSVD) to pay for these materials.
  2. Materials of interest to specific departments or curricular needs may be recommended for purchase by librarian liaisons. Librarians may choose to use librarian funds to purchase these materials for subject areas for which they select. Librarians use the appropriate fund code for the subject area (e.g., PHI4 for Philosophy, MUS4 for Music) for purchasing these materials.
  3. Faculty are encouraged to suggest appropriate titles for instructional or curricular use. Either the Media Services Coordinator or librarian liaisons to individual departments may choose to use a portion of the department's annual monographs budget to purchase the material. The appropriate fund code for the faculty member's department (e.g., PHI for Philosophy, MUS for Music) should be used for purchasing these materials.

General selection criteria

  1. Video/DVDs considered for acquisition should follow all current collecting guidelines presented in the General Collection Development Policy.
  2. The following criteria may be considered when evaluating materials for addition to the collection:
    • Accuracy/authoritativeness
    • Timeliness of information
    • Level of treatment (analytical vs. descriptive)
    • Technical quality
    • Aesthetic appeal
    • Relative cost
    • Intended audience (age or grade level)
    • Reputation of producer/distributor
  3. Award winners/nominees that are selected for the collection include (but are not limited to):
    • Academy Awards
      • Performance by an actor in a leading role
      • Performance by an actress in a leading role
      • Achievement in directing
      • Best documentary feature
      • Best documentary short subject
      • Best foreign language film of the year
      • Best motion picture of the year
      • Best animated feature film of the year
    • Sundance Film Festival Awards (based on reviews)
    • Festival de Cannes Awards (based on reviews)
  4. The following resources are consulted when making selections for the collection:
    • Reviews (including, but not limited to):
      • The Alert
      • Film Comment
      • Video Librarian
    • Vendor catalogs and magazines (including, but not limited to):
      • PBS
      • New Yorker Films
    • Lists (including, but not limited to):
      • ALA Video Round Table Notable Videos for Adults
      • National Film Registry (Library of Congress)
      • Village Voice
    • Internet Movie Database
  5. Previewing of videos/DVDs by faculty to determine if they meet intended curricular needs is strongly encouraged, particularly when items are costly or when items may be difficult to acquire.
  6. If faculty members request the purchase of video/DVD resources that are especially costly and will be used infrequently, they may be encouraged to rent the items from a distributor rather than having the library acquire the materials. Some distributors allow the Media Library Coordinator to rent an item first, and if he/she decides to buy it, the purchase price has the rental fee deducted.
  7. DVDs are the preferred format, and therefore will be purchased if available. Videos will be purchased if DVDs are not available. If faculty members specifically request that a film be purchased on video instead of DVD, there must be some compelling curricular reason, rather than individual preference, to purchase the item in the alternate format.

Interlibrary Loan

In general, videos/DVDs will not be lent to other libraries through interlibrary loan. Exceptions to this policy may be made, for example, if a special request is made by another institution for faculty research or instructional needs.

In this situation, Interlibrary Loan staff will consult with the Media Services Coordinator, informing the Media Services Coordinator of the request. ILL and Media Services will negotiate the request and supply the item if possible. The Director of Collection Development will be consulted as necessary if the matter cannot be resolved between ILL and Media Services.

Reasons to deny requests may include the high cost of the item, rarity of the item, the resource is needed by the Gettysburg College community for research or instruction, or the item is being requested for recreational rather than curricular or scholarly interests.


  • Items will be considered for replacement when they are in poor physical condition, damaged, missing, or lost. When deciding on whether to replace an item, the content of the film should still be deemed important or relevant to the curriculum. The Media Services Coordinator may work in conjunction with librarian liaisons to determine whether to replace an item in the collection.
  • An item may be replaced in a different format if there is value added in either the quality of the resource, the convenience of using one format over another, or instructional appropriateness.
  • Obsolete formats will be replaced with appropriate newer formats whenever possible.


  • When possible, videos and DVDs may be repaired when damaged. Some minor in-house repair may take place, but commercial services, such as RubberDisc, may be employed for more significant repairs.
  • Before preserving videos/DVDs, the cost of repair should be weighed against the cost of replacement. In addition, the continuing value of the item to the collections and the curriculum overall should be considered.
  • The Media Services Coordinator may make decisions on preservation. The coordinator may do so alone or in consultation with the subject librarian liaison and/or the Director of Collection Development.
  • The Media Services Coordinator uses the Replacement Fund code (REPVD) to pay for repairs of damaged items.


In general, the criteria for deselection in the General Collection Development Policy will be used for this collection. In addition, items will be considered for deselection if they are in an obsolete format.

The Media Services Coordinator will work in conjunction with librarian liaisons to academic departments in determining materials for deselection.


  • Meggan Smith, Program Assistant, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College
  • Nancy Bernardi, Media Services Coordinator, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College.
  • John Barnett, Director of Collection Development, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College

Policy revision schedule

This policy statement will be reviewed every five years from the date of approval.

Date of approval

19 October 2006