Collection development policy

Overview of the Project

The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) is a five year project funded primarily by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to create a digital library of international children's books. This five-year research project, created in collaboration with the Internet Archive and conducted by the University of Maryland, has five primary goals:

  • to create a collection of more than 10,000 books in at least 100 languages that is freely available to children, teachers, librarians, parents, and scholars throughout the world via the Internet;
  • to collaborate with children as design partners in the development of computer interface technologies that support children in searching, browsing, reading, and sharing books in electronic form;
  • to better understand the concepts of rights management and "fair use" in a digital age;
  • to evaluate the impact that access to digital materials may have on collection development and programming practices in school and public libraries;
  • to develop a greater understanding of the relationship between children's access to a digital collection of multicultural materials and children's attitudes toward books, libraries, reading, technology, and other countries and cultures.

The materials included in the collection reflect similarities and differences in cultures, societies, interests, and lifestyles of peoples around the world. The collection's focus is on identifying materials that help children to understand the world around them and the global society in which they live.

The collection has two primary audiences. The first audience is children ages 3-13, as well as librarians, teachers, parents, and caregivers who work with children of these ages. The second audience is international scholars and researchers in the area of children's literature.

Overview of the Prototype Collection

An initial prototype of the ICDL was introduced at a celebration at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, in November 2002. At that time, the collection consisted of 181 books, which were provided by national libraries and other government agencies, public library systems, collaborating publishers, and individual authors and illustrators. Approximately half of the titles were within copyright protection and half were freely available in the public domain. The materials selected for the prototype generally were in compliance with the selection criteria established for the collection by the National Advisory Board of Librarians; however, efforts were made to acquire and digitize as diverse a collection as possible to ensure that the functions of the ICDL interface could be effectively tested

Scope of the ICDL Collection

At the end of the initial research period, it is anticipated that the collection of the ICDL will consist of approximately 10,000 materials in at least 100 languages. All works will be presented in their entirety and will not be adapted or abridged from their original published form; however, works originally published as abridgements or adaptations of other works may be included in the collection. Materials included in the collection may be:

  • currently available in print and within copyright;
  • out of print but within the copyright protection of the country in which they were published; or
  • freely available in the public domain.

Materials within the collection are made available through the Library over the Internet to all users without charge. The project does not support downloading, copying or printing of any materials in the collection. During the period of the research study, it is anticipated that approximately forty percent of the collection will be made up of important historical materials that are in the public domain and approximately sixty percent of the collection will be contemporary materials that are in copyright. During the process of creating the collection, the ratio between historical and contemporary books will vary based upon the availability of materials. Historically important literature and contemporary, award-winning titles will be added to the collection as they become available.

In addition to the collection of published materials, the ICDL may also include information that extends the understanding of the materials such as biographical information about authors or illustrators; reviews or annotations of works by users of the ICDL or others; activities to support use of the materials by children or others; and/or translations of materials to expand use by children.The primary function of the collection is to serve as the basis for ongoing research concerning the development of computer interfaces for children and the use of digital materials by children, librarians, classroom teachers, scholars and researchers in the area of children's literature.

Selection Criteria for the ICDL

Materials selected for inclusion in the ICDL collection during the first five years of the project must support the research goals of the project and must be appropriate for one or both of the primary audiences identified as users of the Library. Groups working as partners in the design process, including children, librarians, teachers, parents, technologists, scholars, and researchers, have developed the selection criteria. An international advisory committee of librarians and educators oversees the selection process.

In most cases, individuals from within the country or culture are responsible for the identification of materials for inclusion in the collection (e.g., representatives from the National Library of Serbia selected materials from Serbia; PBBY, the Philippine Section of IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People) selected the books from the Philippines.

The materials in the International Children's Digital Library, which are intended primarily to be used by children, parents, teachers, and school and public librarians, should:

  • Support the understanding of similarities and differences among and within countries, peoples, and cultures;
  • Promote tolerance and acceptance;
  • Contribute to children's understanding of the diversity of the global society;
  • Have a high degree of appeal for children of an age between 3 and 13;
  • Meet professionally accepted quality standards in terms of content, format, and presentation;
  • Be considered relevant to children in today's world;
  • Be appropriate for the age levels of the intended audience for the collection;
  • Be presented in their entirety and not adapted or abridged from their original published form; however, works originally published as abridgements or adaptations of other works may be included in the collection; and
  • Be presented effectively in a digital format.

In addition, materials included in the collection that are of special interest to scholars and researchers may:

  • Expand the scope and variety of cultures represented in the collection;
  • Have achieved historical significance;
  • Represent exemplary artistic, historic, and literary qualities, such as award winners; or
  • Contribute to the project's research priorities.

All materials contributed to the Library will be evaluated using the above criteria. While all materials included in the collection must meet many of the criteria listed above, it is anticipated that not every item in the collection will meet all criteria. The final authority for the selection of materials included in the ICDL rests with the Director of Collection Development for the ICDL. Selection decisions made by the Director may be appealed in writing to the National Advisory Board of Librarians or the International Advisory Board.

The ICDL is a public library for the world, and the collection reflects diverse cultures, perspectives, and historical periods. Although the primary audience for the collection is children ages 3-13, it should be noted that some materials may not be appropriate for sensitive readers.

Acquisitions Process

Materials included in the collection may be:

  • Freely available in the public domain;
  • Contributed by a National Library or another national agency that holds the rights to the materials;
  • Acquired by the ICDL under a contractual agreement with the creator(s) or publisher(s) of the work or with another entity that has legal authority for its intellectual property rights; or
  • Collaboratively acquired by the ICDL and other private or public special collections through a contractual agreement with the rights holders

Reconsideration of Materials

Objections to materials included in the collection will be considered by the ICDL National Advisory Board of Librarians and/or the International Advisory Board. The Board(s) will use the established selection criteria in determining whether the item is appropriate for the collection. The recommendation of the Board(s) will be given to the Director of Collection Development for the Library. The final decision concerning the retention or withdrawal of a work will be made by the Director of Collection Development.

Any work may be removed from the collection by the Director of the Collection, in consultation with the project management team, if it is determined not to support the research goals of the project nor reflect the needs and interests of either of the primary audiences for the collection.