Discovery & Access Services

The Discovery & Access Services (DAS) area of the library is responsible for acquiring materials that are added to library collections, for making them available through MIDCAT and Summon, prepares them for the shelves, maintains and updates the MIDCAT database, and preserves library materials.  DAS is also the home of borrowing, Inter-Library loan, reserves, and library systems.

The formal responsibilities of RCS are to:

  • Evaluate and build our collections, and endeavor to ensure their continuing relevance
  • Locate and secure desired resources
  • Categorize, analyze, and describe our collections
  • Prepare, monitor, and preserve our collections and access tools Make available our collections and technical expertise world-wide
  • We understand the needs of faculty, students, and staff and promote change to better meet those needs.
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, students, and staff.  We vigorously promote awareness of library resources and services. We listen and respond.
  • Support the curriculum and development of various ‘literacies’ that enable independent research and lifelong learning.
  • Systematically assess the effectiveness of library and technology resources and services.
  • Maintain an awareness of the information needs of the College community and investigate and review developments in technology, formats, pedagogy, instructional design, resources, and scholarly communication.
  • Connect people who need library services and resources with the people who provide those services and resources, and when necessary, act as facilitators to help resolve problems.
  • Help develop technologies and library collections based on an awareness of available resources and the needs of our users. We test creative ways of providing resources and services.

For internal documentation and links to work-related web sites, see the DAS wiki.

Collection Policy -- General


The Collection Development policy of Middlebury College Library furnishes general written guidelines that relate the Library's collection development efforts to the needs and interests of the Middlebury College community. Because it is the College's chief provider of books, maps, serials, government documents, microforms, bibliographic databases, and other materials, the Library's central purpose is to support first the teaching and learning activities that uphold the curriculum and second the research and service responsibilities of the College.

Middlebury Community Profile

Middlebury College is principally an undergraduate, liberal arts institution of higher learning; its mission is to ensure that student educational experiences in the liberal arts are both broad and deep. The College offers students a curriculum that exhibits wide representation of academic disciplines, and privileges classroom teaching over scholarly research, although it supports both endeavors aggressively.

Selection Responsibilities

The Library has responsibility for developing the collection, with final authority for the selection of materials belonging to the Dean of Library and Information Services. Academic faculty and students are an important source of requests for the purchase of library materials and the Library strongly encourages College community members to participate in this process by filling out our Suggest a Library Purchase form.

Faculty Reimbursement for Library Purchases

On occasion, faculty may have the opportunity to purchase library materials, particularly when traveling abroad. In order to be reimbursed, faculty must get permission from Library Collections before proceeding with these purchases. In general, only items that have been requested through Library Collections, but have proven difficult or impossible to obtain, should be purchased in this manner. Itemized receipts are required by College Accounting for reimbursement.


Types of Materials

  • Monographs. For print, hardbound editions usually are purchased for the humanities and paperbound for the sciences and social sciences. The library also acquires electronic books.
  • Journals/Serials. The Library subscribes to journals and newspapers as well as other serials in appropriate subject fields. Duplicate subscriptions are avoided whenever possible. The electronic format is preferred. Requests for new subscriptions and periodical backfiles are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Library staff.
  • Electronic Resources. The library provides access to a variety of electronic information resources available locally and over the internet. Requests for new purchases or subscriptions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Library staff.
  • Dissertations and Theses. Dissertations and theses are treated as specialized research materials and are acquired only to support senior thesis research. Requests must have the support of a faculty member.
  • Textbooks. The library does not add textbooks to the collection, especially textbooks available at the College store that students are expected to purchase for use in a particular course. With the large number of textbooks required by Middlebury courses each semester, any attempt by the library to get a copy of each would quickly consume a significant portion of its materials budget. In very rare cases, textbooks may be acquired if they represent significant contributions to the presentation of a subject or if there is a scarcity of other material in the field.
  • Duplicates. The purchase of multiple copies is discouraged, as the Library is not a direct provider of books required for classes. A later edition of a monograph already in the collection is acquired only when the new or revised material justifies its purchase.
  • Faculty authors. The Library collects books written by, or with contributions by, Middlebury College faculty. We selectively collect works by visiting faculty, instructors at the Bread Loaf School of English, the Language Schools, and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). If you have a publication that the College Libraries have accidentally overlooked, please let us know by filling out our Suggest a Library Purchase form.
  • Government Documents. The Library is a depository for United States documents and collects State of Vermont documents. Government documents are housed in the main library and are available to the general public. Read the Government Documents Collection Development Policy for more information.
  • Software. Software usually is not purchased by the Library, but by individual departments and by Academic Computing. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis, as when a software package accompanies a book or when a software package supports an academic program but does not qualify for departmental or Academic Computing support.
  • Film/Video/DVD/Blu-Ray. These materials are selected primarily for research or instructional purposes. The library does not rent films, nor does it generally purchase exhibition rights to such material.  The library does purchase some materials for recreational viewing.  The preferred format is DVD.
  • Audio. Musical recordings are purchased to support the teaching, learning, and research missions of the College, as well as to support recreational listening.  Please refer to the Music Collection Policy for more detail.

De-selection and Withdrawal

De-selection is a consultative endeavor between librarians and members of the faculty aimed at enhancing the value, utility and relevance of the holdings. Librarians routinely undertake weeding to allow space for new and needed materials. We understand that in some subject areas, material has historical significance for great lengths of time. The process of de-selecting or canceling journals is done collaboratively by librarians and members of the faculty. Titles no longer relevant to current needs, unused, or appropriately accessible by electronic transmission will be identified as candidates for cancellation.


All gift materials accepted by the Library become the property of the College, and the Library reserves the right to determine retention, location and disposition. See the gift policy for further details.

Collection Policy -- Music


This policy outlines the written guidelines for the continued growth and maintenance of Middlebury College's music collection and is a supplement to the Middlebury College Library Collection Development Policy. By articulating the collection goals and policies, this document helps to ensure that the music collection supports the needs of the College community. The policy acknowledges the music collection's distinct roles in:

  • Supporting the teaching, learning, and research objectives of the Music Department
  • Providing campus-wide resources for music in cultural context within and across other academic disciplines
  • Supporting productions in related arts departments (especially the Theater and Dance Departments)
  • Providing listening pleasure for the College community


  • To acquire all library materials necessary for instructional and research purposes in the teaching of Western art music, jazz, musical theater, traditional, popular and world music at the undergraduate level.
  • To develop a strong reference collection designed to assist individuals in locating materials necessary for their research and information needs and to prepare students who may continue with graduate work in music.
  • To develop a collection of performance materials for all vocal ranges and for each instrument of the orchestra with an emphasis on chamber works, piano music, and musical theater, excluding collections of parts for large ensembles.
  • To develop a music collection in various formats that fulfills human needs for artistic expression and recreation including a representation of popular music (including jazz, blues, "world music," etc.).
  • To acquire music materials that will enhance the study of foreign languages and cultures represented in the Middlebury College curriculum.

Types and formats of materials collected generally

  • Significant books on music aimed at the educated layperson and undergraduates, including biographies, criticism, interviews, and histories of music. 
  • Significant contributions to the music reference literature, including thematic indexes, bibliographies, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. 
  • Periodicals on music history, theory, musical genres, and music performance, preferably in online format. The Serials Review Committee, following the guidelines of the Library collection development policy with regard to periodicals, will review recommendations made by the Music Department faculty and the Library Liaison to the Music Dept. in approving titles for the collection.
  • Study-sized orchestral scores, piano-vocal opera and musical scores, chamber music scores and parts for up to nine players; significant variant editions of standard repertoire; major art song repertoire in all available voice ranges. Urtext editions and other editions reflecting current scholarship are strongly preferred.
  • Sound recordings on compact disc or online of Western art music, jazz, musical theatre and popular music, world music (especially recordings in languages taught by Middlebury), including recordings for recreational use by the College community. Older formats such as LPs, cassettes, and 78s are not collected.
  • Video recordings, principally DVDs or online video streaming (if a viable option), of significant performances, particularly of opera, musicals and other works with a strong visual component; feature films with substantial music content or focusing on key eras, styles, or performers in music history; documentaries of especial significance.
  • For musical works new to the collection, the library will attempt to purchase both scores and recordings; for dramatic or multi-media works, the library will also attempt to purchase video recordings.
  • Locally produced sound recordings of music, theatre, and dance, featuring Middlebury College students, staff, and faculty.
  • Materials on dance as selected by the Library Liaison to the Dance Department.

Types of materials collected selectively

  • Monographic studies of composers' works, theoretical studies, music pedagogy and instruction, discographies, textbooks, workbooks, dissertations and theses, Festschriften, conference proceedings, anthologies of essays by multiple authors, foreign-language periodicals
  • Methods and studies for applied performance pedagogy for all instruments and musical genres taught by the Music Department.
  • Scholarly reference sets (i.e. monuments)
  • Full-size orchestral scores, full (i.e. not piano-vocal) opera and musical scores
  • Scores of solo vocal commercial works; score manuscript facsimiles, rare materials, early editions and numbered editions, fakebooks, popular song folios.
  • Sound recordings of variant performances of important works, reflecting artistically significant performances and a diversity of performance styles; anthologies for music appreciation.
  • Video recordings of documentaries and pedagogical material; concert films (especially classical repertoire)

Types of materials not collected (unless required for specific curricular needs)

  • Abstruse scholarly works intended for specialists.
  • Multiple copies of items (unless required due to high use)
  • Foreign-language dissertations
  • Pamphlets and ephemera
  • Single or discrete issues of periodicals
  • Parts for orchestra, band or jazz band
  • Sheet music
  • Multiple copies of choral works for choral performance
  • Multiple scores for in-class analysis of works
  • Arrangements by other than the original composer in score for other than the original instrument
  • Microforms

De-selection and withdrawal

The library follows the guidelines in the Library Collection Development Policy for de-selection and withdrawal of materials.


The Library may accept gifts of music materials that adhere to the guidelines in this policy. All music materials will be accepted with the understanding that the College becomes the owner of the materials and reserves the right to determine the retention, location, and disposition. See the Library Gift Policy for further details.