Newspaper Collection Policy

A. Definition

Newspapers are serials issued at stated, frequent intervals (usually daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly), containing news, opinions, advertisements, and other items of current, often local, interest (ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science, 1983). Special interest publications in newspaper format may be considered newspapers and be covered by this policy.

B. Access

Rod Library provides access to selected local, regional, national, and international newspapers through subscriptions in print format, retention of selected backfiles in microform format, and/or through provision of online access. Links to newspaper sites appear on the Electronic Newspapers page and Other News Sources page.

C. Purpose

Newspapers are acquired by UNI to support both the teaching and research needs of the University and current awareness by providing access to information on events and news at the local, state, national, and international levels to the Library's clientele. Newspapers are made available as primary source documents. Backfiles of selected significant titles are retained as a means of preserving the historical record.

D. Selection Criteria

The development and evaluation of the local newspaper collection, and the structure and content of the Newspaper and Other News Sources of the Library Web page are the responsibility of the Periodicals Oversight Committee. A number of factors are considered in determining whether to initiate or retain a newspaper subscription. These include: journalistic quality, influence, and reputation; local interest in the content; reliability of publication; subscription cost, and price increases over time; and availability of full text in electronic form. The availability of indexing is considered in selecting titles for which backfiles are retained. Use statistics are employed in making selection and retention decisions. Gift subscriptions are accepted when they meet the guidelines of this policy and the general policies for collection management.

Newspapers are selected which print news, describe events, and provide various viewpoints and opinions on current issues. The library strives to provide access to newspapers that represent various regions of the United States, and selected cities and countries worldwide. Selected newspapers from the states surrounding Iowa and larger cities in Iowa are included in the collection. The Library makes no attempt to maintain a comprehensive collection of Iowa newspapers. The Library does not seek to represent the full range of international viewpoints on political, social, and religious issues.


The Library seeks to provide representative state and regional coverage, as well as access to the newspapers from major U.S. cities in different parts of the country, and to significant U. S. national publications. Selection of international newspapers is based on the curriculum and research needs, and on support of known multicultural interests.

Selected Iowa newspapers are made available in print format. Access to additional papers may be provided via the Web. The Library seeks to acquire all the newspapers issued by University organizations and by the other Regent universities. The Library also seeks to make available both the mainstream and alternative papers issued in the metropolitan area.


Newspapers currently collected in print and microform formats are primarily English-language publications. Other languages represented in the collection include Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. The Library seeks to provide access to newspapers in languages taught at the University.

E. Retention

Retention of specific newspapers primarily depends on their expected usage or research potential, and the availability of indexing. Microform generally is used for permanent back files, with the paper issues retained until the microform copies are available. The University's official student paper is retained in print, microform, and digitized formats. Only seven sequential issues of most other newspapers are retained. The retention of paper issues of specific newspapers may be extended for a limited period to meet special needs.

Periodicals Oversight Committee

March 2000; rev. December 2004

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