Skip to Main Content

Collection Development Policy

Data Collection Development Policy for the Sciences and Social Sciences

UChicago librarians will help students, faculty, and staff to find and access data for research and teaching. For help finding data, please contact the subject librarian that specializes in your area of study or the Ask a Librarian service.


When a suitable dataset is not available through our collection or open access source, the librarian will consider purchasing data that meets the following criteria:

Prioritizing Utility and Usability:

  • The library will prioritize purchases with broad appeal that can be applied in instructional and research settings.
  • The library will only purchase data that is accessible to all UChicago students, staff, and faculty.


  • Numeric, quantitative, geospatial, and textual data will be considered.
  • Any time-period, geographic area, or language will be considered.
  • Data that contains confidential or personally identifiable information (PII) will not be considered.
  • Preference will be given to datasets that are one-time purchases and do not require regular updates.


  • Preference will be given to datasets that have robust documentation or metadata.
  • Data must be from a credible source that has the right to sell the information.
  • Subject librarians will evaluate datasets for quality and potential use cases.

Format and Access:

  • Preference will be given to data in non-proprietary file formats.
  • Preference will be given to data that can be hosted online and accessed remotely.
  • Preference will be given to vendors who comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by providing data that is compliant with the latest version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The Library will make best efforts to include the accessibility language recommended by the Library Accessibility Alliance into all license agreements for electronic resources.
  • The Library provides access to a selection of software on its workstations, but does not provide support for computational methods or software installation.


  • The Library will work to license datasets that allow text and data mining (TDM) and to allow users to share the results of TDM in their scholarly work.
  • The Library will also attempt to have additional terms included in the license such as scholarly sharing, creation of derivative works, and the ability of the Library to maintain a backup copy of the data.


  • Subject librarians will receive requests, evaluate datasets, and respond to the requestor with a status update.
  • Proposals for joint funding with campus units are welcome.

For questions about text and data mining resources, please see the Text and Data Mining Guide and contact us through the online form.