How to order items for the Scholarly Services collections

The University of Melbourne offers an electronic and print scholarly collection for use by current staff and students. Librarians work with publishers and academic staff to identify new materials to support teaching and research across all our Academic Divisions, and we welcome direct recommendations from academics and students.

Scholarly Services pausing non-teaching relating ordering

What is happening?

Scholarly Services is pausing existing approval plans and placing new orders on hold, unless directly required to support teaching of active subjects in semester 2.

Why is this happening?

Over the year to date there has been a large increase in scholarly collections expenditure on e-resources to support the required shift to online teaching. Funds need to be prioritised to ensure that the University can sustainably meet current teaching needs and best support students in their new learning environment, while minimising the impact to our existing journal and databases subscriptions that  support our research and will require renewal over the coming months.

How will ordering work?

The following information should be included when submitting requests for material to support semester 2 subjects:

  • Subject Code
  • Number of enrolled students
  • What week in the curriculum material is required by

Requests for other material can still be submitted and will be added to a waiting list for review and action when this pause on orders concludes. Exceptions may be made, on a case by case basis, for material that is urgently required to support research needs.

If you require assistance, please contact your relevant Faculty and School Librarian.

Please email your recommendation to

Selection Tools

Scholarly Services staff use a range of tools to locate recommended material.  We are now able to make one of these tools directly available to academic staff:

Faculty Select searches across a curated collection of unrestricted ebooks and Open Access Resources to assist teaching staff in adopting texts that are freely available or can be supported by unlimited access through the library. This works towards student equity in terms of access to textbooks.

Access via the Faculty Select page (requires authentication)

Purchasing principles:

1) Textbooks

  • We do not provide textbook “class sets”, which are one copy for every student. We purchase a limited range of material to support teaching as per the table below:

    This principle allows us to spread our budget spend over the broader collection.

    The formula for textbook purchases is :

Number of Students

Number of Copies Purchased

0-100 students

6 copies

101-200 students

12 copies

201-300 students

18 copies

301-500 students

30 copies or cost cap of $5000

500+ students

By negotiation, dependent on availability and cost, within a ration of 3:50 students, with a cap at 60 copies or cost cap of $5000

NOTE: Many publishers will not make electronic copies of textbooks available through libraries.  In this case we cannot provide textbooks through the library but we can work with Readings Online to digitise an allowable chapter under Australian copyright laws.

This is a common problem with textbooks and we would highly recommend discussing selected titles with Scholarly Services staff before prescribing a text.

2) Format of collection items

  • Unless a benefit is stated for a print copy, we will source electronic materials where available. Electronic copies offer 24/7 access and reduce maintenance costs.
  • We purchase electronic material without limits where possible. The following table shows the order in which we prioritise access models:

Licence Type


1 DRM free – Unlimited access

No digital rights management (no limits on printing and downloading and no file expiry dates) and no limits on access by users

2 Unlimited Access

There are no limits on the number of individuals who can simultaneously access, download and use the title.
Note: there may still be limits on printing and downloading in line with Australian Copyright Law

3 Non-Linear

There is a limit on the number of uses allowed of this title annually. A use is an instance of browsing longer than 5 minutes OR of downloading the title for up to a day or more (note that each day the title is downloaded for equals 1 use). There are no limits on the number of individuals who can access, download or use this title simultaneously, however each individual's activity will subtract from the total use count. For example, if three people download the book for three days each, that will count as 9 uses.


Only three individuals can download or use this title simultaneously.


Only one individual can download or use the title at a time.

Purchasing barriers

  • Some items are out of print. Our staff then investigate copyright to see if this is a case where we can digitise an existing copy, or explore second hand copies for purchase.

Material in languages other than English can take longer to source, due to additional communication required, and different publishing models. Scholarly Services staff with relevant language skills often assist the Collection Access and Development team in these purchases.