Collections Overview

Ranging from our printed books to datasets and cloud-based streaming content, the general library collection reflects the diversity of both the intellectual interests of the University community and the evolving resources needed to support those interests. The collections support the teaching and research needs of the University. Visit PittCat to search what we have and have access to.

The ULS seeks to maintain a balanced collection with global reach. We collect materials that represent diverse perspectives, and we endeavor to support and promote critical thinking and informed discussion in our community.  We purchase content in many formats, including print and electronic books and journals, images, audio, visual media, maps and data. We also lease access to content when that meets the access needs of the campus. There is a library specialist assigned to each academic department. Please contact them whenever you have a question about library resources.

Is there something you need that we do not already have? Please let us know. See also our policy on returning or withdrawing general collections materials.

In addition to these materials, the University of Pittsburgh Library System’s Archives & Special Collections (A&SC) acquires and makes accessible archival records, manuscripts, personal papers and rare books, on many topics. Read about our efforts to address harmful, offensive, misrepresentative, and racist language in our archival collection descriptions.

Licensing Principles for Electronic Resources at the University of Pittsburgh Library System

The University of Pittsburgh Library system supports the guiding negotiating principles as outlined by NERL, which will give priority to partners who are willing to work with us to achieve a more equitable and sustainable academic publishing system. To that end, we recently signed,  via the NERL Consortium, an Open Access Agreement with Cambridge University Press.

Licenses are routinely reviewed and should adhere to the general guidelines set forth in the NERL Generic License Agreement for Electronic Resources.

Specific areas of concern:

  • Supports authentication via IP
  • On-campus access to all authorized users and walk-in users
  • Off-campus access  for all authorized users
  • We require the removal of any clauses that try to limit Fair Use Provisions of the United States and international law. Fair use permits library users to make certain uses of copyrighted materials for non-commercial, educational and instructional research purposes. Agreements will allow for the printing, downloading and copying activities., linking to resources in course management systems and scholarly sharing with colleagues, as well as for any future uses allowed by the fair use provisions.
  • Provisions to use to fulfill interlibrary loan requests in all relevant license agreements. Interlibrary Loan Services are critical to ensuring that researchers, scholars and students have broad access to a variety of information resources. The University of Pittsburgh Library System will fulfill such requests in accordance with Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act.
  • Permission to use the resource for text and data mining.
  • Publishers will provide computational rights for researchers as part of all licenses.
  • Perpetual access, i.e. provisions to guarantee access to back-file content following expiration of agreement.
  • All resources provided by vendors must meet or exceed accessibility standards. Resources must follow Web Accessibility Initiative’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  • Confidentiality of user data related to the usage of licensed materials will be maintained. Such data will be used only for the purposes directly related to the licensed content. Usage data shall not be disclosed or sold to any third party.
  • Vendors will provide COUNTER complaint usage statistics. Standardized usage data is critical to help support assessment and decision making.
  • No auto-renewal, unless a multi-year agreement with specified payment schedules or price caps is in place.
  • We require the removal of all non-disclosure and confidentiality clauses from license agreements in order to allow us to communicate openly and transparently about our negotiated terms and pricing.
  • Mutual indemnification between both parties to the agreement
  • Venue to be Pennsylvania (as required by University Procurement)
  • Inclusion of a force majeure cancellation clause