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Library Resourcing: Home

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.

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.



Each academic College/Department appoints a Library Liaison Officer (LLO), who acts as the main contact between the College/Department and the Library. One of the LLO's main roles is to authorise and monitor book ordering and by the department. Although the Library orders most material for the departments the budget for books and DVDs is held by the College.

  • 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. 
  • Where possible we prefer to buy electronic 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 items so that they are shelf-ready. 
  • Please allow several weeks for books and other resources to arrive from the suppliers. 
  • Please be aware that rare or foreign books/DVDs or out of print items can take longer to arrive.
Practices for allocating budgets and resource ordering can vary from College to College. Please contact your LLO to find out the correct procedure in your College/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 and other ongoing commitments are purchased via an institutional budget administered by the library. Proposals for new subscriptions are welcomed from all teaching and research staff at the University. 

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.

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.
  • Liaison librarians meet regularly to review requests.
  • Decisions on larger subscriptions may be held until later in the financial year when the overall financial 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 once available.
  • Please be aware that if your request is successful there is often a delay between approval and access to a resource becoming available.
  • If proposals are approved, but funds are not currently available, the resources will remain on the wishlist and will be re-evaluated if funding is released.

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?


Requests without sufficient supporting statements are unlikely to be successful.

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 modules 101, 310, 420) 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: 350 and 360 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 HEFCE 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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