Rutgers Law School Collection Development Policy

  1. Purpose and Scope of Collection
  2. Ownership and Access
  3. Inter-Locational Coordination
  4. Categorical Details
    1. United States primary materials
    2. United States finding tools
    3. Government documents
      1. Federal government documents
      2. New Jersey government documents
    4. Briefs and records and other archival and ephemeral materials
    5. Secondary materials
      1. Topical reports and looseleaf services
      2. Periodicals
      3. Monographs
    6. Foreign law, ancient and religious law
    7. International law
  5. Formats Policy
    1. Books
    2. Microforms
    3. Audio/video
    4. Digital formats
      1. Online services
      2. CD-ROM, DVD, and disk-based materials
      3. Email subscriptions
      4. File downloads
      5. E-books
      6. New Jersey Digital Legal Library
  6. Retention and Weeding Policy
  7. Duplication Policy
  8. Gifts Policy
  9. Decision-Making Policy

A. Purpose and Scope of Collection

The primary purpose of the Law Library's collection is to support the instructional and research needs of the Law School's faculty and students. Secondarily, the collection is intended to serve as a resource for the rest of the University, the legal community and the general public. With respect to New Jersey legal materials, the collection is also intended to help preserve the historical record for future generations.

The Law Library collects legal and law-related published materials, both current and historical, relating to the law of the United States, to international law, and, to a lesser extent, to the law of selected other jurisdictions. The types of material collected include primary sources, finding tools, government documents, and secondary materials. With respect to the secondary materials, we collect those intended for a scholarly audience and, to a lesser extent, those intended for the legal practitioner.

Language restriction: We collect English-language materials and materials that include a substantial proportion of English-language content. Exceptions are to be made in cases where needed materials are only available in another language.

B. Ownership and Access

In accordance with the American Bar Association's Standards for Approval of Law Schools, Standard 606 [see 2017-2018 ABA Standards], we maintain in this Collection Policy a distinction between collecting with ownership and maintaining reliable access without ownership, while recognizing that both are necessary for compliance with the standard. Therefore, in this document, "collect" means to acquire with ownership. That may mean acquisition in a tangible form such as hardcopy print or a micro-format, or purchase of perpetual access online. The Law Library also maintains, by subscription to online services, access to many materials that we do not collect, and in this document we use "provide access to" when referring to such materials. We continue to collect in print some materials that are also accessible on the online services, because the print form offers convenience of use for many of our primary patrons. The balance between collecting and maintaining access remains in flux, with changes being driven by factors including increasing availability of online resources, increasing acceptability of online resources to our primary users, and budgetary restrictions. For some materials for which a change from collecting to providing access may be imminent, we indicate that in this document by saying, "collect or provide access to."

The Law Library also takes into account in its collection decisions the availability of some materials on free public websites. We facilitate our patrons' access to those websites by maintenance of an Internet Law Guide. We continue to collect in print some materials that are also available on free public websites, both for convenience of the print format and to assure permanence.

Purchases from Law Library funds are in principle for materials that will become part of the Law Library collections, usable by all library patrons (with appropriate restrictions). Law Library funds will therefore not be used to purchase material for the sole use of a faculty member or staff member. (The Law Library may, however, pay for expedited shipment, or inter- library service, for the benefit of a single faculty member.)

C. Inter-Locational Coordination

As decisions are made on whether to purchase a specific title, consideration is given to the location that should keep it. Electronic databases and individual resources made available electronically through a vendor will be made available at both locations unless there is a compelling reason not to do so. Print materials will be purchased for a single location, or for both locations, depending on the importance of the item for serving the scholarly and curricular needs of the program. Whether certain categories of materials should be purchased for both locations by default or not is discussed below.

D. Categorical Details

1. United States primary materials

For the law of New Jersey and for federal law, we collect or provide access to the published primary materials, both current and historical. These include the session laws, the legislative codes, the regulations, all published court decisions and attorney general's opinions, all published administrative decisions, and the current court rules. We provide access to unpublished decisions of the New Jersey courts from Sept.20, 2005 forward. We collect historical editions of the New Jersey court rules. These materials are collected equally at both locations.

For the other states and territories, we collect or provide access to one current annotated edition of the statutory code, the current court rules, selected historical codes and compilations, and the court reports as found in West Publishing Company's regional and supplemental reporters. We have state attorney general opinions in microform through 1990 and provide access to state session laws in HeinOnline. We have most nominative and official state and territorial court reports through about 1993. We are currently subscribing to official court reports from New Jersey, at both locations. New York is being collected at Newark, and Pennsylvania at Camden. We collect the current administrative codes of New Jersey and New York only.

We collect or provide access to codes of local ordinances from municipalities in New Jersey to the extent available at reasonable cost. We collect or provide access to the local laws and regulations of New York City at Newark.

With respect to Native American legal materials, we currently collect only selected secondary sources.

2. United States finding tools

We rely on the online services Westlaw and LexisNexis for case-finding ability and citator service for our primary patrons, and on Westlaw Campus Research (provided by the University Libraries) and Fastcase for secondary patrons. We maintain in print a selection of state digests for New Jersey, New York (in Newark) and Pennsylvania (in Camden), and the complete ALR system and all the earlier annotated reports. We collect or provide access to the legal encyclopedias of national scope (current and historical editions); and we collect the current edition of Summary of Pennsylvania Jurisprudence 2nd and New York Jurisprudence; if a New Jersey legal encyclopedia of comparable quality were published we would collect it.

The only Shepard's Citations unit that we maintain in print form is the New Jersey Citations. We are retaining non-current copies of other Shepard's units because they still provide some reference value.

3. Government documents

i. Federal government documents

As a selective depository for United States government publications, we select material to serve the governmental information needs of Rutgers students and faculty, and the citizens of New Jersey. Our selections are concentrated on law-related information.

We collect or provide access to Congressional debates; Congressional committee reports; Congressional committee hearings and prints; Congressional documents; Congressional bills; independent study commission publications; Presidential publications; regulatory agency publications (other than detailed statistical and technical publications); Justice Department publications; judiciary publications; annual reports of all executive branch departments; census data for New Jersey and for the United States as a whole; annual statistics on education, housing, labor, and income; tax forms compilations; and other publications relating to our curriculum subjects or general reference needs.

We do not collect agency editions of laws or regulations unless they include unique information or other added-value features not available in the official and commercial editions of the United States Code or in the Code of Federal Regulations.

The Law Library will in general not purchase commercial compilations of legislative history materials on particular laws, except to the extent that they are included in online collections that we acquire for the sake of other material in them.

ii. New Jersey government documents

The Law Library at the Newark location is a depository for New Jersey state government publications, and as such has agreed to maintain all distributed items and make them publicly available for at least five years. We are high on the priority list for the distribution of items that are available in only limited quantities. We also make an active effort to obtain important law-related documents that are not distributed through the depository system. We collect in microfilm the legislative bills up until the date of their free online availability. We collect public hearings, reports, minutes and journals; all Governor's publications; all judiciary publications; all regulatory agency publications; and all Department of Law and Public Safety publications.

4. Briefs and records and other archival and ephemeral materials

We collect or provide access to briefs, records, and oral arguments of the United States Supreme Court and the New Jersey Supreme Court, to the extent available online or in micro-format. We collect selected other recent briefs to serve as models.

We provide access to briefs and records of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to the extent available through Westlaw and Lexis.

We collect examinations, assignment sheets, catalogs, bulletins, newsletters, student newspapers, and other material of Rutgers Law School, and examinations from selected other law schools. We do not collect catalogs and bulletins of other law schools.

The Law Library has only limited physical facilities and staff to house and service paper archival collections. Offers of such collections may be referred to the Special Collections Department of the Rutgers University Libraries. Given sufficient funding, the Law Library will undertake to digitize archives relating to selected significant New Jersey court cases (including cases handled by the clinics of the Rutgers-Newark Law School or cases of high relevance to the law school's programs and objectives), and relating to other aspects of New Jersey legal history.

5. Secondary materials

General policy

The main factor in selection of secondary materials is their potential usefulness to the educational, research, and public service missions of the Law School. With regard to controversial topics, we try to include works representing the range of viewpoints, subject to the criterion that the material be of academic or professional quality. This criterion will be applied to materials offered as gifts, just as to other materials.

i. Topical reports and looseleaf services

Topical reports and looseleaf services are collected selectively. Criteria for selection include uniqueness of the material included or the indexing, ease of filing, currency, cost, relation to our curriculum, and faculty demand.

ii. Periodicals

We collect or provide access to the following legal periodicals: selected scholarly reviews from ABA-accredited U.S. law schools; selected law reviews from other common-law jurisdictions; selected commercially published legal periodicals, legal newsletters, and legal newspapers, and the sectional journals of the American Bar Association and the sectional newsletters of the New Jersey State Bar Association. (Because the ABA journals are acquired through a package plan, we also obtain many ABA newsletters that we retain for only limited times.) Criteria for selection of legal periodicals to maintain in print include: substantive nature of contents, inclusion in studies of most highly cited journals, prestige of the publishing school or organization, coverage in the standard indexes to legal periodicals, relation to our curriculum, faculty demand, cost, and availability or non-availability online.

We have in print state bar association journals from all states through 1994; currently we subscribe only to the New Jersey and New York bar journals. We provide access to the Bar Journals collection in HeinOnline.

We do not collect law school newspapers or law school alumni magazines except those of Rutgers Law School, Newark.

We subscribe to a few selected general newspapers and general periodicals as an amenity for onsite users, keeping only current and very recent issues.

In accordance with the guidelines developed by the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works, we will review for subscription any periodical for which, within a single calendar year, we have made six or more interlibrary lending requests for articles published within five years prior to the date of the request.

COMMENT: We collect selected law reviews from other common-law jurisdictions, although we do not collect primary materials of those jurisdictions, because the law reviews tend to include theoretical articles of general interest, and demand for them arises through their inclusion in the general indexes of legal periodicals.

iii. Monographs

Selection criteria for monographs include: relevance to the Law School's curriculum and extracurricular programs and research interests of the faculty; scholarly nature of the work; reputation of the author; scarcity of other material on the subject; publication format; and price.

The Law Library collects all Restatements and other monographic works of the American Law Institute.

We collect the West "hornbook" series and similar works from other publishers, on all legal subjects. We collect the West "nutshell" series and similar works from other publishers, and other study guides, on a selective basis.

The following categories of monographs are presumptively excluded (exceptions being made for uniqueness of content): bar review course materials; casebooks; anthologies of material already available in our collection; works likely to be collected by the Criminal Justice Library; works intended for the layperson or for members of professions other than law. With respect to works intended for the layperson, we do collect materials issued by New Jersey governmental agencies or New Jersey nonprofit organizations that are law-related and intended for a lay audience.

Fiction and drama of high quality relating to lawyers, judges, or legal disputes are collected selectively. (Note: "drama" here should be understood to include motion pictures.)

"Practice" works and form books are collected, in current and older editions for New Jersey law, and, in current editions only, for United States federal and national law and New York (more selectively for New York than for New Jersey). "Practice" works and form books are not collected for other states or for foreign jurisdictions.

Bibliographies, directories, statistical sources, and miscellaneous reference works are collected selectively. Technical standards are collected selectively, one criterion being incorporation by reference in primary legal materials.

For subjects peripheral to law, the primary criterion for purchase is faculty demand. We will generally avoid purchasing titles that are available in the Rutgers University Libraries.

6. Foreign law, ancient and religious law

We collect selected monographs in English describing foreign legal systems in general, or comparing the law of foreign systems on particular topics, and selected multi- jurisdictional compilations of primary materials in English translation.

We collect or provide access to primary and secondary materials on the law and legal history of England. For budgetary reasons we no longer have current print subscriptions to any primary sources or finding tools for English law. Given sufficient funding, we would consider reinstatement of selected primary sources and finding tools (e.g., the All England Law Reports, Halsbury's Laws, Halsbury's Statutes, The Digest).

COMMENT: The main reason for collecting the law of England is its status as the parent system of the law of the United States, and the frequent citation of older English cases by American cases.

We have and will retain substantial holdings of primary material on the law of Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, but no longer collect the law of those countries.

For ancient and religious legal systems: we collect only the principal primary sources in English and Latin, and selected introductory or general monographs. Additional material on these legal systems will be purchased to meet curricular needs.

7. International law

We collect or provide access to all officially published pleadings and reports and other publications of international courts and international arbitral tribunals; general worldwide treaty collections; all official United States treaty collections; selected "digests," yearbooks, and periodicals from all jurisdictions in English; and selected monographs in English.

E. Formats Policy

1. Books

Given adequate funding, we would prefer hardbound over softbound where the choice exists, with some exceptions, including: materials purchased in multiple copies for short-term use on reserve; materials available in good paper in softbound form at a savings over hardbound greater than the cost to us of binding (including labor cost); peripheral materials purchased at faculty request in connection with short-term research or teaching needs and deemed not to be of lasting value to the collection. We avoid looseleaf format except where necessary to achieve currency or unique content.

COMMENT: Hardbound books are preferred for durability. Looseleaf services are avoided because of the time burden of filing, their susceptibility to theft of pages, and their high cost.

2. Microforms

Reasons for microform acquisitions may include: nonavailability of set in hardcopy or digital format at reasonable price; replacement of lesser-used hardcopy sets to save space; replacement of hardcopy in bad condition or likely to deteriorate; back-up for frequently-used hardcopy sets. Microform or digital access will be preferred to hardcopy for the following categories, to the extent that it is available, and (where replacement of hardcopy is involved) to the extent that our financial resources allow:

  • briefs & records
  • less-important federal legislative hearings
  • the Congressional Serial Set prior to 1948
  • legislative journals and minutes
  • most legislative bills
  • back files of legal newspapers
  • old Martindale-Hubbell law directories

Microfiche will generally be preferred to microfilm, where the choice exists, but microfilm will be purchased if substantially less expensive than fiche and if relatively low use is expected. If the number of reels is equal, we prefer 16-mm microfilm to 35-mm, to save space.

In microfiche, 24:1 or 42:1 reduction will be preferred. Ultrafiche will be avoided for the foreseeable future. Negative polarity will be preferred over positive. Diazo will be preferred over silver halide, but silver halide will still be purchased if diazo is not available. Acquisition of micro-opaques will be minimized because of limited reading and copying equipment.

COMMENT: Microfiche is preferred to microfilm because of ease of use and economy of storage. 24:1 reduction is preferred because it is what we have most of already and we want to minimize variability, to minimize the need to change lenses or have extra equipment. 42:1 reduction may, however, be purchased for some large sets because of storage economy and lower cost. Negative polarity is preferred to positive because of better print capability. Diazo is preferred to silver halide because it is not as sensitive to storage conditions, is less susceptible to mold, and is less likely to be scratched during usage; it is the type offered by the Law Library Microform Consortium, the Government Printing Office, and the William Hein Company. However, we recognize that silver halide has the advantage of being less susceptible to fading, and might therefore be preferred for high-use sets. Also, certain major sets, notably those offered by CIS, are available only in silver halide.

3. Audio/video

Reasons for acquisitions in audio/video formats may include: nature of material uniquely suited to audio/video presentation; facilitating study by blind students; facilitating study by commuting students. We collect audio compact disks (alone and in combination with print materials) as well as Digital video discs (DVD's).

4.Digital formats

i. Online services

We presently maintain access to five major online legal services: Westlaw, LexisNexis, HeinOnline, Fastcase, and LLMC-Digital. Although our relationship to LLMC- Digital differs from the others in being a membership in a library cooperative, all five of these services require continuing payment for continuing access, and thus provide us no ownership of resources (except for certain components of HeinOnline).

Westlaw and LexisNexis are competing services with considerable overlap in their coverage and similarities in their search capabilities. So long as both of them continue to be used by many law firms, they both continue to be of pedagogical importance at the Law School, and maintenance of access to both of them therefore remains a high priority of the Law Library. Yet, in a time of severe shortage of funds, the Law Library may choose to suspend access to one or the other of these services, in preference to discontinuing other services or subscriptions. Similarly, as other competing services develop and appear on the market, the cost-effectiveness and the extent use of these services in the legal market will be evaluated, and appropriate decisions will be made.

HeinOnline and LLMC-Digital each provide unique coverage of major categories of material not covered by either Westlaw or LexisNexis.

Criteria for selection of other online services include:

  • The service will provide content not otherwise available to us, or make access to content substantially more convenient than it is in whatever format we presently receive.
  • The service will work with the Law Library's and Law School's current hardware and software.
  • The service is user friendly and will not require extensive training.
  • Annual cost is predetermined, and there is no possibility of users causing extra costs.
  • Access via IP addressing is possible for on-site users. Remote access is also possible by some means.
  • License agreement allows "fair use" by authorized users. License does not restrict use of public domain material.

ii. CD-ROM, DVD, and disk-based materials

CD-ROMs have disadvantages, notably the need to devote hardware and I.T. staff time to making them usable; their lack of currency as compared with the online services; their uncertain life expectancy; and (for some products) built-in expiration. The Law Library therefore prefers not to acquire CD-ROM or similarly formatted titles unless they provide material not available in other formats, or they are judged pedagogically useful because widely found in law offices, or they provide some other advantage clearly outweighing their disadvantages. Preference will be given to CD-ROMs that do not have built-in expiration and therefore provide archival ownership; which do not require new hardware or training; and for which the license agreement allows "fair use."

iii. Email subscriptions

We will pay to acquire material by Internet transmission if this enables us to distribute high-demand material with greater currency than otherwise possible, or if it gives our faculty customized access [e.g., the Current Index to Legal Periodicals and its associated SmartCILP service].

iv. File downloads

We will acquire selected materials by free download of digital files from public websites, for the purpose of assuring continued availability of those materials. This will only be done if the materials are in the public domain or we have permission of the copyright holder.

We will not purchase any material by download of a digital file if that file would only be usable by one person.

We will collect electronic material of unique significance to the Rutgers-Newark Law School [e.g., Rutgers Law Record, law school newsletter], either by archiving the electronic files or by making printouts. We will not collect material of a non-public nature circulated on the Law School's local area network.

v. E-books

The library disfavors the purchase of e-books due to the lack of control, ownership and the ability to assure their permanence in the collection. However, certain materials, may be considered for purchase as e-books, particularly those that are oriented to current awareness, and are not intended as permanent additions to the collection, may be considered if convenient and cost-effective.

vi. New Jersey Digital Legal Library

We maintain a New Jersey Digital Legal Library (NJDLL), the mission of which is to enhance scholarly, practitioner, and public access to the materials of New Jersey law and legal history through the processes of digitization, metadata creation, and placement on a freely accessible public website. The following criteria will be considered in determining priorities for inclusion of material in the NJDLL:

  1. Public domain status or ability to obtain permission from copyright holder.
  2. Non-availability on other free public websites. In general, we will avoid duplication of coverage of material already freely and reliably available in organized collections elsewhere on the web. However, we will add copies of selected law-related electronic government documents, in order to provide more convenient access to them, as well as to assure permanency of access.
  3. Value to legal practitioners.
  4. Historical interest.
  5. Lack of coverage in existing online services.
  6. Scarcity of print version.
  7. Condition of print version (need for preservation action).

F. Retention and Weeding Policy

  • Advance sheets are retained only until receipt of the bound volumes.
  • Superseded pocket parts are discarded, except for New Jersey Statutes Annotated (one copy retained and bound, other copies discarded). Pocket parts in superseded volumes are retained if the volumes are retained.
  • Superseded court rules (pamphlet editions) are discarded, except New Jersey, for which one copy is retained permanently, other copies discarded.
  • Superseded U.S.Code (official editions) have been retained (one copy only), and are accessible in HeinOnline. Superseded Code of Federal Regulations are available in HeinOnline. Superseded U.S.Code Annotated volumes and superseded U.S. Code Service volumes are discarded.
  • Superseded bound volumes of state legislative codes and compilations are discarded, except for New Jersey Statutes Annotated, of which one copy only is kept.
  • Session law services (pamphlets) are discarded when covered by the code pocket parts. Superseded interim annotation service pamphlets are discarded.
  • Superseded volumes of C.J.S. and Am.Jur.2d are discarded.
  • Superseded digest volumes from current sets are discarded. However, we will retain non-current sets of the state digests as of when they were cancelled.
  • Superseded Shepard's New Jersey editions are retained in one copy; all other superseded Shepard's Citations are discarded--except that we will retain non-current sets of state Shepard's as of when they were cancelled.
  • Older editions of legal monographs are retained selectively. Criteria for retention include uniqueness of content and reputation of author. Only one copy of each older edition is kept, except that multiple copies of the next-to-last editions of hornbooks and nutshells are retained for circulation (the current editions being on reserve). (Nutshell editions earlier than the next-to-last are not kept at all.) Superseded volumes of current editions of multi-volume treatises are discarded.
  • Superseded form books and "practice" works are discarded, except those for New Jersey, of which one copy is retained.
  • Superseded directories and other reference works are discarded, except for selected major sources of biographical information e.g. Who's Who in American Law, the Directory of Law Teachers, and the New Jersey portions of superseded Martindale-Hubbell Law Directories. (All editions of New Jersey Lawyer's Diary and New Jersey Legislative Manual are retained--in single copy.)
  • Superseded looseleaf pages are discarded. When a treatise in looseleaf form is updated by a replacement set, the outdated set is discarded.
  • Newsletters primarily intended for current awareness, with little substantive content, not indexed in the standard indexes, are generally retained for limited periods of one to three years. New Jersey legal newsletters are retained permanently.

COMMENT: We retain much more superseded New Jersey material than we do of any other jurisdiction, because of our policy of maintaining a comprehensive collection of New Jersey materials.

G. Duplication Policy

We buy duplicate copies only for a few very-high demand items, such as N.J.S.A., U.S.C.A., Supreme Court Reporter, the New Jersey court reports, and selected monographs. If funds allow, we may purchase extra copies of serials for routing. However, we will not use library funds for permanent "office copies" of sets.

H. Gifts Policy

As a general rule, the Law Library only accepts donations that are without conditions on their use or disposal, and that come within the scope of the collection as set forth generally in this Collection Policy.

I. Decision-Making Responsibility

The Director of the Law Library -- guided by this Collection Policy, and in consultation with the collection/acquisitions librarians at both locations -- has ultimate responsibility for the development of the Law Library collection. Routine selection and deselection of monographs is usually delegated to the collection development librarians, who consult with reference librarians and relevant Law School faculty members on many selections. Decisions on serials subscriptions and cancellations are usually made in consultation with all the librarians, and, for subject-specific titles, in consultation with relevant Law School faculty members.