The Library collects data sets and subscribes to sources of data for the use of UCSB faculty and students.  At this time, only requests from graduate students and faculty for the purchase of data will be considered.

Data sets will be selected for acquisition, and data sources will be selected for subscription, based on the following criteria:


  • Joint purchases between the Library and researchers, departments, or research groups preferred*
  • Does not duplicate data that are already available through the library or open to the public


  • The source of the data must be credible and reliable
  • The quality of the data must be confirmed
  • The quality of the documentation and metadata must be confirmed

Format and Access

  • Data are in an accessible machine-readable format
  • Access methods currently supported:
    • Physical format (e.g. CD-ROM)
    • Mounted on library server with IP access 
    • Online licensed databases with IP access 
    • Online data repositories with institutional memberships (e.g. ICPSR)
    • Mounted on library server with dedicated terminal access 
    • Online licensed databases with dedicated terminal access (e.g. Datastream)

Scope and Relevance

  • Must be relevant to the curricular and research needs of the University
  • Data likely to be of interest to multiple users is preferred
  • Chronology: Both current and historical materials are collected
  • Geography: Materials of relevance to California and the United States, as well as international resources are all collected
  • Language: English preferred
  • Data that is used primarily with geospatial software is not a focus of the Social Science Data Collection, and requests for such materials should be directed to the Maps and Spatial Data Librarian.


  • Data must be available to all current UCSB students, faculty, and staff
  • Considerations include availability of data to walk-in users and remote access
  • Confidential/restricted data is not acquired


  • Comes with all necessary documentation, such as the codebook and relevant metadata


  • In alignment with the General Collection Development Policy, access may be discontinued if it is determined that the content is outdated or no longer relevant to teaching and research at UCSB.

*The Library will acquire only data whose license it can support. Any data that is purchased with supporting funds (of any amount) from the Library will have the license negotiated by the Library, and will be hosted by, or housed in, the Library for access.  Ongoing costs for resources acquired in joint-purchases will require ongoing financial support.

All requests for purchase should be directed to the Social Sciences Data Librarian.  All requests are considered on a case-by-case basis following the stipulations of this policy.  

Subject librarian: Jon Jablonski (interim)
Policy Last Updated: April 2018