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Data Sets Collection Policy

General Requirements

Those submitting a purchase request for data sets should follow these guidelines. Data sets requested should meet the following general criteria:

  • Requested data sets should be useful to multiple researchers.  Access to data purchased by the library cannot be restricted to individual schools, departments, buildings, or specific groups. 
  • The library cannot acquire “single user” data sets for individuals. That is, the library cannot acquire data sets with restrictive license terms or technical requirements limiting use to one individual or group, to one specific project or purpose, to a limited term or time period. 


  • Data sets requested for the Purchase Program must be available for one-time purchase, rather than annual subscription. 
  • Otherwise, data sets requiring an annual subscription can be acquired by liaison librarians through the same processes, outlined in the library's Collections Manual, for obtaining subscriptions for other digital serials such as online journals or databases.
  • Cost must be reasonable and reflective of the value of the resource.  The cost for data sets considered under the Data Purchase Program should fit in scale to the purchase funds available.


  • Data acquisitions must be accompanied by adequate documentation and metadata.

Data Types


  • Numeric, spatial, and textual data will all be considered.
  • This policy covers purchased data sets, but open access data resources can also be recommended as collection additions. 
  • Data should be relevant to research and curricular needs of Tulane University.
  • Data related to any chronological time period, geographic location, or language will be considered if relevant to the above.


  • Data sets should be currently produced, and should not require or commit the library to the purchase of updates or additional products.
  • Data sets should be acquired only from credible and reliable sources or vendors.

Data Formats

Format and Access:

  • Data sets purchased must be able to be organized, described, and easily accessed through one or more of the library's common diiscovery tools.  
  • The data must be in a public-use version containing no personal identifiers. It must have undergone de-identification to remove sensitive information and will not include non-human sensitive data.
  • Preference is given to data that is available for online access on third-party hosted platforms, viewable or downloadable in software-independent (“standard”) formats.
  • See Data Hosting Guidelines for data sets requiring local hosting. 
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