Audiovisual Materials

Audiovisual materials are purchased to support instruction at Western Oregon University. Entertainment films may be accepted as gifts and are purchased when they support classroom instruction or degree programs. Archival copies of Western Oregon University produced films and videocassettes may be accepted as gifts for preservation and research.

Library personnel may be able to help faculty and staff with locating and renting films, videocassettes and other audiovisual formats.

Audiovisual resources are selected by the subject selectors, with recommendations from faculty. Some media reference sources and reviewing aids such as The Video Source Book, are available for use by staff and faculty. Vendor catalogs, contact information, and rental agreements are kept on file in Collection Development. Also on hand are the media catalogs or websites of the major universities which supply rental/purchase programs to educational institutions.

  1. Languages: Most materials are acquired in English. Foreign language materials are purchased usually with English subtitles or dubbing, however, films or tapes in foreign languages without subtitles of dubbing may be acquired for language instruction. All materials should assist in meeting the educational goals of the university.
  2. Chronological Guidelines: No limitations.
  3. Date of Publication: Emphasis is on currently released materials, except for the acquisition of "exceptional materials" to build the depth of the collection. Non-current or retrospective materials are acquired to replace damaged items or to fulfill special requests. Recordings of exceptional quality will be archived rather than withdrawn when it is necessary to stop regular circulation due to age, damage, or format.
  4. Geographical Guidelines: No area is excluded from subject coverage. Most acquired titles are produced in the United States. Materials should have appropriate encoding to play on machines manufactured for use in the United States. Due to the high cost, licensing fees and limited licensing agreements that usually accompany foreign media material, foreign films and products are rigorously examined according to the Selection Criteria listed below. Audio materials may come from any region, but should meet the format guidelines below.
  5. Treatment of Subject: Films and recordings appropriate for use with college and adult level audiences are acquired, except for materials specifically acquired for the K-12 curriculum collection. Materials providing broad curricular support are preferred and given priority in selection to insure maximum use of expensive material. The audiovisual budget is not separate from the general funds that are divided by subject area and should be used by the selectors to acquire audiovisuals specific to the subject areas.
    No abridgments, excerpts or promotional films are collected. Duplicate copies are typically not purchased, though duplicates may be accepted as gifts or purchased in a different format. Instructional productions on recreational topics or "how to" films are not collected with the exception of "how to" videocassettes or disks on the application of computer software such as software tutorial programs and programs on scientific techniques.
  6. Rights: Materials will be purchased with public performance rights, if cost is not prohibitive.
  7. Formats: Most materials are acquired in DVD or CD format, though VHS or other format material may be purchased when CD or DVD is not available.
    • Preferred -- Optical laser disk, 1/2-inch VHS videocassette and CD-ROM compatible to Macintosh or IBM computers
    • Unacceptable -- Beta videocassette; phonographic records; 4mm, 8mm, 16mm film; superseded software versions, reel-to-reel film, large format laser disks, filmstrips and slides are not collected in the AV collection. Exceptions may be made by the selector in conjunction with the Collection Development Librarian.

The selection effort is to purchase the most appropriate format.

Selection criteria:
The following factors may be considered in selecting titles and formats for purchases:

  • Funding available
  • Relative cost
  • Curricular relevance
  • Effectiveness of presentation/level of treatment
  • Interdisciplinary nature
  • Quality of technical production
  • Balance within existing collection/amount of similar material in collection
  • Aesthetic/cultural appeal and value
  • Previewed by faculty or library staff before purchase
  • Is a rental more appropriate? Is it of limited use?
  • Accuracy, currency of production
  • Favorable reviews
  • Anticipated use


All gifts are accepted in accordance with the library's gift policy. Monied gifts are handled by the WOU foundation. Gift audiovisual material must comply with the acceptable formats mentioned in this statement and must meet copyright policy requirements. The AV Collection reserves the right to refuse any gift that does not fit the definitions of relevant curricular materials. Classic feature films and documentaries, as well as productions made at or about Western Oregon University will be accepted. The collection development unit reserves the right to dispose of unwanted materials by sale, sharing, lending or discard.

Collection Management:

Storing and preserving the audiovisual materials is a continuous process. The library maintains the AV Collection against humidity, extreme temperature changes, theft, dust and misuse.
Weeding the collection is a necessary ongoing process in order to maintain quality, currency and usefulness of titles. The weeding criteria include: worn or damaged formats, superseded by another version or format, review by faculty and/or staff for curricular relevancy, and use statistics.