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Guidance on recommending books, journals and databases for library purchase


The University's education and research are currently supported by a large and diverse range of digital package subscriptions, including publisher's journal packages, e-book packages and other more subject-specific digital resources.

Full details of all current holdings are available on Library Search.

Databases available via the Library can be viewed in the A-Z Database list.

Going beyond UoE Collections


Books flying out of a computer screen

If we do not stock a particular book or subscribe to a journal from which you need an article, you may be able to obtain the item from our Document Delivery service.




The information below outlines the key processes for obtaining library resources for university staff.



Books for teaching will be automatically ordered by the Reading Lists Team whilst they are creating your digitised reading lists. For other orders, the process varies across the institution:

Some Departments appoint a Library Liaison Officer (LLO), who acts as the main contact between the Department and the Library.

Where there is an LLO, they usually authorise and monitor book ordering by the department. Where there is no LLO, academic staff can use the form below to submit orders.

Although the Library orders most material for the departments the budget for books and DVDs is held by the department.


Academic staff can use the online Book Request Form for library book purchases.
Professional Services staff should use this alternative Book Suggestion Scheme to request library book purchases.


  • Send full details (author, title, edition, publisher, ISBN and price) to your Library Liaison Officer, who will then pass them on to our Resource Development team. If you don't have a Library Liaison Officer, use the online Book Request Form. You can enter titles one at a time, or upload a list - see below for the purchase request form to use if you wish to make a list to upload.
  • Wherever possible we will buy digital versions of books to ensure that more people can use them, wherever and whenever they choose to. The Library's Collection Development Policy outlines agreed principles for the development and management of the University's print and electronic collections. If you would like to know more about e-books take a look our guide.
  • Orders are placed with our regular suppliers, who provide discounts and process any print items so that they are shelf-ready. 
  • Please allow six weeks for books and other resources to arrive from the suppliers. E-books generally arrive a lot faster than print books.
  • Please be aware that rare or foreign books/DVDs or out of print items can take much longer to arrive.
Practices for allocating budgets and resource ordering can vary across the institution. Please contact your LLO to find out the correct procedure in your Department.

An ISBN is a unique 13 digit number, assigned to a book or similar publication. It denotes the publisher and edition of the book and allows booksellers and purchasers to identify exact versions of a publication. For information on obtaining a single ISBN for your publication from the University of Exeter, please contact Phil Hicks. Further information on getting ISBNs can be found on the Nielsen UK ISBN Agency website.


 An ISSN is a unique 8 digit number, assigned to a serial publication (e.g. a journal, magazine or electronic journal).  It acts as an identifier and allows potential subscribers and readers to locate the exact publication required. To obtain an ISSN for your serial publication, you need to contact the British Library directly. For more details, see the British Library website.


Subscriptions to journals, databases, digital archives and other ongoing commitments are purchased via an institutional budget administered by the Library. Proposals for new subscriptions that match current teaching and research needs may be submitted by academic staff

Subscription resources have been subject to above inflation price increases over a number of years, meaning that there are significant budget pressures in this area. Therefore it will not always be possible to purchase all new requested resources and in some cases it may be necessary to cancel existing subscriptions in order to divert budget to new resources. 

All requests are scrutinized in terms of budgetary impact and added value they bring to the University.

Professional Services - Subscription requests

If subscriptions are required to support professional departmental activity these should be sourced via PS departmental budgets. 

If the materials would be useful to the wider university and support the teaching and/or research activities of academic departments, they can be considered as part of the Institutional Wishlist process. 

Please contact Caroline Gale, Library Liaison Manager for advice before submitting a request.
How do I submit a request?


  • Complete the online request form.
  • You will be asked to provide information about the resource and a supporting case for purchase.
What happens once a request has been submitted?


  • Requests are added to a wishlist for consideration by the library.
  • Decisions on all resources will usually be made later in the financial year when the overall budgetary picture is more precise.
When will I find out if my request was successful?


  • The Library will advise you in due course about whether or not your request was approved for purchase.
  • Approved resources will be added to Library Search and/or the Library's A-Z databases list once available.
  • Please be aware that if your request is successful there is often a delay between approval and access being switched on.
  • If proposals are approved, but funds are not currently available, the resource will remain on the wishlist and will be re-evaluated if funding is released in future.

We ask you to make a supporting case for your request, including comments from colleagues as appropriate.

We consider such information under two headings:

Educational impact and strategy, e.g. how does the resource contribute to the University’s educational strategy? How much impact will it have on current students?

Research impact and strategy, e.g. how does the resource contribute to the University’s research strategy? How will it contribute to current research?


Please contact us if you would like to discuss your supporting statement prior to submitting a request.

Educational impact and strategy


Example One
The programme requires students to perform a number of individual and groups projects (undertaken in module numbers ...) in a wide range of areas. This resource will enable students to place their projects within the industry context and consider real world solutions, reinforcing the modules employability and transferable skills. This resource will be used extensively for the completion of summative assessments in the following modules: ... and ... by some 400 students. It will also be invaluable for our growing degree apprenticeship programme plans.
Example Two
This package of titles would be extremely useful for teaching across our undergraduate modules (600 students) and essential for the third year module in this area. It provides access to a large collection of current articles and book chapters critical to our teaching plans which have been remodelled to encompass this new area. Accessing a wider range of material for this purpose would be crucial and will enable more complex research issues and scenarios to be addressed as part of the research methodology module.


Research impact and strategy
Example One
This is a journal that the research team I work within regularly publish in and would like to be able to use more for our work. The lack of access to this journal provides significant challenges to our research. The international focus of material published in this resource would be an important addition to our resources. It would also be beneficial to new PhD students working in this area.  At the moment we are ‘plugging the gap’ via the inter library loan service but that is becoming unsustainable as our research team grows.
Example Two
With the recent global drive to understand the impact and interactions within this subject area, it is imperative that the University subscribes to this resource to enable researchers to keep up to date with the latest research. The resource will support newly expanding multidisciplinary research teams and new research opportunities, as we hope to utilise the material therein as part of a large funded research project that we are considering bidding for. The current resources do not adequately cater for this specific subject area as it is a ‘new to Exeter’ research area.

Some resource providers offer trials of their resources to allow for review prior to taking out a subscription. It is Library policy to only organise trials for resources that are being seriously considered for purchase. We are unable to set up trials to provide short-term access.

Once you have made a request for a subscription using our online form we will be in touch to discuss trial options.

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