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Document TitleReed Library Weeding and Deselection Policies
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General Deselection Criteria

Items that meet any of these conditions will automatically be kept:

  • Item appears in Resources for College Libraries
  • Item appears in a recommended, discipline specific, professional bibliography
  • Item has circulated in the past 8 years since the library's implementation of the Aleph Library Management System

The following criteria should be used in assessing an item's value for retention, and should be applied for all subject matter:

  • Physical condition-- missing pages, text unreadable, water damage, poor paper quality, musty, beyond repair, or other factors which prohibit re-binding
  • Superseded editions not containing unique information, data, or providing a historical reference not available in the most current edition
  • Duplicate titles unless a proven demand exists for multiple copies
  • Trendy ephemera-items such as handwritten or printed papers which were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity
  • Currency or reliability of the resource's information has lost value
  • Superfluous subjects no longer relevant to the SUNY Fredonia curriculum. Item has very little or no apparent relevance to current or anticipated college programs
  • Copyright date-items that appear outdated based on the subject and scope of the work. Consult the Discipline Specific Criteria for further weeding guidance.
  • Government documents-physical items currently in the stacks that are available via a ".gov" Internet site. The stable url must be located and sent to the Cataloging dept. for revision of the permanent cataloging record prior to weeding the physical item.
  • Multi-volume sets- individual items under consideration for deselection should not be removed from multi-volume sets. Either the entire set should be deselected, or, all items in the set should be retained.

To summarize the criteria for weeding the acronym MUSTY serves:

M Misleading and/or factually inaccurate
Ugly-worn, and beyond mending or rebinding
Superseded by a truly New edition or by a much better book
Trivial - of no discernable literary or scientific value
Your collection has no use for this material, irrelevant to the needs of your clientele

Last Updated: 7/17/2009

Discipline Specific Criteria for Deselection

For LC Call Number range G-JZ
Daniel A. Reed Library, SUNY Fredonia
Spring 2009

Note: The Discipline Specific Criteria for Deselection establishes guidelines for the copyright date of an item and criteria that acknowledges the uniqueness of various disciplines. This document should be used in conjunction with the document entitled General Criteria for Deselection. 

Geography: (G-GT)
Includes Subclass
G - General Geography (copyright before 1993)
GA – Mathematical geography (copyright before 1998)
GB – Physical geography (copyright N/A)
GC – Oceanography (copyright N/A)
GF – Human ecology, Anthropogeography (copyright before 1998)
GN – Anthropology (copyright before 1998)
GR – Folklore (copyright before 1998)
GT – Manners and customs (copyright before 2003)

(a) Note: Keep in mind MUSTY.
(b) Deselection criteria excludes: classics, primary works, and/or standard editions. Books in this area become dated rapidly and should be weeded unless they contain significant background or historical information not available elsewhere.

Athletics: (GV)
Includes Subclass
GV 1-200 – Outdoor life, Outdoor recreation
GV 201- 555 – Physical training
GV 561 -1198.99 – Sports
GV 1580-1799 – Dance
GV 1800-1860 – Circuses, spectacles, etc.

(a) Books that have a copyright date before 1998 should be considered for deselection, excluding classics,  
primary works, or standard editions
(b) Superseded rulebooks maintained only to last two editions. Old instructional material considered for discard if new items exist.
(c) Note: Keep in mind MUSTY

Social Science: (H)
(a) Interdisciplinary needs are considered in the deselection process.
(b) Books that have a copyright date before 1998 should be considered for deselection, excluding classics, primary works, or standard editions.
(c) Note: Keep in mind MUSTY

Statistics: (HA)
(a) Interdisciplinary needs are considered.
(b) Sources in these subject areas the sources tend to be used in a supportive nature and as such should not be analyzed heavily according to circulation figures.
(c) Books that have a copyright date before 2006 should be considered for deselection, excluding classics, primary works, or standard editions. Unless they have an historical approach,many works are of little use after five years.
(d) Note: Keep in mind MUSTY

Economics: (HB-HJ)
Includes Subclass
HB – Economics, Economic theory, Demography (copyright before 2003)
HC – Economic history and conditions (copyright before 2003)
HD – Industries, Land use, Agriculture, Labor (copyright before 1998)
HE – Transportation and Communication (copyright before 1998)
HF – Commerce (copyright before 2003)
HG – Finance (copyright before 2003)
HJ – Public Finance (copyright before 2003)

(a) Consideration of economics interdisciplinary contribution to geography,history, management, social science and international affairs.
(b) Deselection criteria excludes: classics, primary works and/or standard editions.
(c) Note: Keep in mind MUSTY

Sociology: (HM-HX)
Includes Subclass
HM – Sociology, general and theoretical (copyright before 2003)
HN – Social history, Social problems, Social reform (copyright before 2003)
HQ – Social groups (includes family, marriage, woman, sexual life, erotica, feminism, sexual orientation) (copyright before 2003)
HS – Societies (includes freemasons, religious societies, ethnic societies, political societies, Boy Scouts, etc.) (copyright before 2003)
HT—Communities, Classes, Races (includes urban, rural, regional planning, social classes (e.g., middle class, slavery) (copyright before 2003)
HV – Social pathology, Social and public welfare, Criminology (includes charities, temperance reform) (copyright before 1998)
HX – Socialism, Communism, Anarchism (includes utopias) (copyright before 2003)

(a) Deselection criteria excludes: classics, primary works and/or standard editions.
(b) Note: Keep in mind MUSTY

Political Science: (J-JZ)
Includes Subclass  
J - General legislative and executive papers (copyright before 1998)
JA - Political science (General) (copyright before 2003)
JC - Political theory (copyright before 2003)
JF - Political institutions and public administration (copyright before 2003)
JJ - Political institutions and public administration (North America) (copyright before 2003)
JK - Political institutions and public administration (United States) (copyright before 1998)
JL - Political institutions and public administration (Canada, Latin America,etc.) (copyright before 1998)
JN - Political institutions and public administration (Europe) (copyright before 1998)
JQ - Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.) (copyright before 1998)
JS - Local government. Municipal government (copyright before 1998)
JV - Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration (copyright before 2003)
JZ - International relations (copyright before 2003)

(a) Political science interrelates with other fields such as social science, international affairs, geography, history, and psychology. Keep in mind the interdisciplinary nature of this field.
(b) Deselection criteria excludes: classics, primary works and/or standard editions.
(c) Note: Keep in mind MUSTY

*The discipline specific criteria established in this document are based on the American Library Association approved “CREW Guidelines for Weeding Your Collection”

Deselection Procedures

Last Updated: 7/17/09

This document provides a detailed outline of the process and procedures followed by Reed Library in removing items from the library's collection, in keeping with the Proposed Weeding Process approved by University Senate, Spring 2007.

Stage One: Librarians Determine Subject Areas to be Reviewed and Check Standard Bibliographies

  1. Inventory of missing items completed.
  2. Librarians identified that the area G-JV will be the first area to be reviewed.
  3. If recommended by an academic department or program, the collection was also compared to available standard bibliographies. A note was added to the item's catalog record indicating the bibliography which cites the item as a "classic" title in the field.
  4. The initial weeding reports are run with the following filters applied:
    • Item appears in Resources for College Libraries
    • Items classified Inventory Missing
    • Item has circulated in the past 8 years, since the library's implementation of the Aleph Library Management System
  5. Weeding reports are divided up and assigned to librarians for review.

Stage Two: Librarians Review the Collection in the Stacks 

Procedures and Criteria:

  1. Before going to the stacks, you will need to generate an Excel Spreadsheet reflecting the call number range you are responsible for reviewing. This spreadsheet should be generated from the unfiltered reports on the library share (Go to the library share- Weeding folder-First floor analysis-- unfiltered excel spreadsheets-choose appropriate files to generate a report for your range.)
  2. It is recommended that you save your report to a jump drive as a 97-2003 workbook file.
  3. You will need to bring the following items with you to the stacks:
    1. The Excel Spreadsheet call numbers for your assigned range (it is recommended that you save this to a jump drive)
    2. The General Deselection Criteria (see below)
    3. The Discipline Specific Criteria for Deselection
    4. Laptop and Scanner (available in circulation area)
    5. A book cart
  4. Create a new Notepad file and save it with a name (e.g., WEEDING G1- 2009mmdd - Vince.txt) - WHEN YOU ARE DONE RENAME THE FILE AND PUT IN THE LAST CALL NUMBER REVIEWED (it is recommended that you save this file to your jump drive, since you may not be using the same laptop for your next weeding session)
  5. Go through the items found on the list in call number order.
  6. Check the circ data in the back of the item to verify that it has not circulated in the past 8 years. Also look for a DO NOT WEED stamp!... just in case the lists were generated before that book made it to that select group!)
    1. ILL is considered a valid circulation
  7. The following criteria should be used in assessing an item's value for retention, and should be applied for all subject matter:
    • General Deselection Criteria
      • Physical condition-missing pages, text unreadable, water damage, poor paper quality, musty, beyond repair, or other factors which prohibit re-binding A. Note: if it is reparable (can be taped, has only a few loose pages that can be tipped in, etc.), put it aside and take to Sue for repair when you are finished with this session.)
      • Superseded editions not containing unique information, data, or providing a historical reference not available in the most current edition A. Check the shelves for other versions of that title... (1) Is this an edition of which there are others?
      • Duplicate titles unless a proven demand exists for multiple copies A. Are there other copies of this title and edition that we no longer need? (The library's policy is to have only one copy of most books, classics and materials that are in Special Collections excepted. Also we should have only the latest edition unless the work is a classic in its field, or the earlier editions are required (such as for The Age of Innocence, as Kerrie was telling us at one of our meetings.) If there is more than one copy of this title, check the circulation of all to determine if you think more than one copy is still needed. If not, keep the copy that is in best condition.)
      • Trendy ephemera-items such as handwritten or printed papers which were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity
      • Currency or reliability of the resource's information has lost value
      • Superfluous subjects no longer relevant to the SUNY Fredonia curriculum. Item has very little or no apparent relevance to current or anticipated college programs
      • Copyright date-items that appear outdated based on the subject and scope of the work. Consult the Discipline Specific Criteria for further guidance.
      • Government documents-physical items currently in the stacks that are available via a ".gov" Internet site. The stable url must be located and sent to the Cataloging dept. for revision of the permanent cataloging record prior to the deselection of the physical item.
      • Multi-volume sets- individual items under consideration for deselection should not be removed from multi-volume sets. Either the entire set should be deselected, or, all items in the set should be retained.
    • To summarize the criteria for weeding the acronym MUSTY serves:
      • M Misleading and/or factually inaccurate
      • U Ugly-worn, and beyond mending or rebinding
      • S Superseded by a truly New edition or by a much better book
      • T Trivial- of no discernable literary or scientific value
      • Y Your collection has no use for this material, irrelevant to the needs of your clientele
  8. On the WordPad file, scan the barcode on the book (or books) you have decided can be made candidates for deselection.
  9. Check the file to make sure that the scanned barcode got included correctly... sometimes (very rarely) a digit will be dropped.
  10. On the Excel spreadsheet for your call number range, annotate why you decided to weed this volume in the column labeled: Deselection Criteria (note: if you generated your own Excel spreadsheet from the filtered reports, you will need to create this column within your spreadsheet). You will also need to create a column on your spreadsheet labeled Not On Shelf-to keep track of circulating/missing items.
  11. Annotations should be based on the General Deselection Criteria. For example: Superseded Editions, Duplicate Titles etc... (Providing annotations will help faculty reviewers understand our decision-making process and will simplify the communication process between library liaisons and the faculty committees.)
  12. If you come across damaged items that fall under the General Weeding Criteria of items that should automatically be kept (i.e. items that appear in Resources for College Libraries, Items that have circulated in the past 8 years, items appears in a recommended bibliography), place on a cart and take to circulation for repair. These items should not be considered for deselection.
  13. Every so often, save the NotePad and Excel files you are working with.
  14. At the end of your session, be sure to save the files (and rename them as instructed in Step 4. The example file might become WEEDING - G1-G251 - 20090112 - Vince).
  15. Return the laptop to the Circ area

Stage Three: Faculty Review of the Items Being Considered for Removal

Procedure:

  1. The library director will contact the chair(s) of the department(s) with expertise in the subject areas being reviewed. The department chairs will be asked to appoint a committee to conduct the review process. When appropriate, a faculty member who teaches the subject area as part of an interdisciplinary course should also be appointed to the committee by the departmental chair.
  2. Once the librarians complete their review of the collection, a report will be generated for the faculty review committee indicating the items under consideration for withdrawal. This list will be made available electronically. The report will contain the following information: 
    1. Title
    2. Author
    3. Imprint (date, publisher)
    4. Call number
    5. Reason for withdrawal
  3. The designated library liaison will be responsible for initial contact with the committee members. The liaison librarian will provide the faculty with the following items: 
    1. A short PowerPoint presentation highlighting the purpose and philosophy behind the deselection of materials
    2. The list of items under consideration for withdrawal.
    3. The "General Deselection Criteria" and the "Discipline Specific Criteria for Deselection" used for the area under review.
    4. The processes and procedures followed in our evaluation process
  4. If a standard bibliography has been provided, the items under consideration will be checked against the standard bibliography.
  5. The committee will have the opportunity to review the list of items for 45 calendar days, and the library liaison will act as a line of communication with the library, offering assistance, answering questions, and troubleshooting problems.
  6. Once the faculty members complete their review, a finalized list of items to be removed from the collection will be provided to their library liaison.

Stage Four: End Processing

  1. The item will be checked against the SUNY Union Catalog. Items which are not held by at least one University Center or two Comprehensive Colleges will be retained.
  2. It will be verified that the item is not a faculty publication. Items which are identified as faculty publications will be retained.
  3. All other items identified will be removed from the collection.

Weeding Process and Policy

"Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval." -from the American Library Associations' Bill of Rights.

In order to enhance the value and usefulness of Reed Library to the entire college community, care must be taken to insure that its holdings are as comprehensive as possible and are properly maintained. The vitality of a library collection depends on vigorous collection development as well as careful collection management. One aspect of this management is the judicious weeding of materials that no longer support the instructional mission of the college.

Like all collection development, the weeding of materials must be a consultative endeavor involving librarians, faculty members, and other parties as appropriate. The weeding process should rely on a well-defined plan through which the faculty and the librarians, in collaboration, identify materials that may be weeded. This process will help identify both strengths and weaknesses in Reed's holdings. Recognition of weak areas will subsequently be addressed, and whenever possible, appropriate new titles will be acquired after continued consultation with faculty and recommended bibliographies. 

STAGE ONE: Librarians Determine Subject Areas to be Reviewed and Check Standard Bibliographies

Weeding is an ongoing process which starts by librarians identifying areas of the collection (according to Library of Congress classifications) that are in need of review. 

Once an area of the collection is identified for review, titles in areas identified for the weeding process will be compared against the most recent edition of Resources for College Libraries (RCL)[1] (either in print or electronically). If Reed Library owns a book listed in RCL, librarians will make a note of it in the library's catalog record.

If recommended by the academic department or program, the collection will also be compared to available standard bibliographies published by appropriate (i.e., discipline-specific) professional faculty associations for the subject matter being reviewed. A note will also be added to item's catalog record, indicating the bibliography which cited the item as a "classic" title in the field. 

STAGE TWO: Librarians Review the Collection in the Stacks

During the second stage of each weeding cycle, librarians will examine the titles within a designated area and generate a list of items that will be considered for removal. The criteria below list factors which, when used in combination, will help librarians make informed decisions about materials to be kept and materials which may be removed from the collection.

Items that meet any of these conditions will automatically be kept:

  • Item appears in Resources for College Libraries
  • Item appears in the recommended, discipline-specific, professional bibliography
  • Item has circulated in a reasonable time period based on the subject and scope of the work, as determined by criteria developed by the Library Advisory Committee. (Note: An exception may occur if the item's physical condition is poor, particularly if it is not a suitable candidate for in-house mending or rebinding.)

Criteria for identifying those items that will be considered for removal by a process of faculty review (Stage 3):

  • Items which have become outdated based on the subject and scope of the work, as determined by criteria developed by the Library Advisory Committee.
  • Item has very little or no apparent relevance to current or anticipated college programs.

If librarians are undecided as to whether an item should be added to the list of materials being considered for removal, it will not be marked for withdrawal.

STAGE THREE: Faculty Review of Items Being Considered for Removal

When appropriate, a faculty member who teaches the subject area as part of an interdisciplinary course should also be appointed to the committee by the departmental chair. The faculty committee will be provided with a list containing the call number, author, title, and the imprint information (date, publisher) for the items being considered for removal. This list will be made available electronically via an OnCourse community group. The faculty committee members will have an opportunity to review the list of items for 45 calendar days, and the library liaison will be available to act as a line of communication with the library, offer assistance, answer questions, and troubleshoot any problems that arise. Once the committee has reviewed the items to ensure that the appropriate determination has been made for each title, they will provide their library liaison with a finalized list of items that have been selected for withdrawal from the collection.

STAGE FOUR: Library End Processing

After all stages above are completed, the library staff will finish the weeding process. Materials will be retained by Reed Library, processed out of the library, or sent to the University at Buffalo for retention.

Resources for College Libraries (2006 edition) is used as a standard tool for collection development of academic libraries. RCL is published by the Association for College and Research Libraries division of the American Library Association and Bowker. It lists an established core collection of 65,000 titles in 58 curriculum-specific subjects, selected by 300 subject experts. The relentless growth in books published and the simultaneous decline in acquisition budgets make careful title selection essential for academic libraries. Using RCL as a collection development tool insures that standard titles will remain part of the collection regardless of local use, while other titles of generally accepted significance can be considered for possible purchase.

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