The collections, in addition to their intellectual and aesthetic value, represent a substantial economic investment. The responsibility to build the collections carries with it the obligation to ensure that these collections are permanently accessible. The Library is committed to the retention, preservation, and long-term access of the collections it holds, regardless of format.
Active participation and leadership in preserving the Library’s collections is the responsibility of Library staff. Decisions on preservation of damaged materials and replacement of lost, stolen or damaged materials are based on use and condition of the materials, availability of the information in the same or other formats, and within the overall context of the Libraries’ Collection Development Policy, balancing the constraints of cost, budget, historical and aesthetic and scholarly value, and user accessibility.
Preservation of library material is accomplished through storage of materials in proper conditions, through careful handling and housing, through use of security systems designed to eliminate mutilation and theft, through commercial binding and rebinding, through commercial microfilming, through refreshment and migration of electronic files, and through repair or replacement of damaged materials.
Materials of unique aesthetic or historical value are preserved in their original form. Where costs, deterioration, or damage prevent the preservation of materials, attempts are be made to replace items valuable to the collection in reprinted editions or alternative formats. Continuing access to electronic titles cannot be guaranteed once the format in which they are published becomes technically obsolete. However, the Library supports and participates in digital preservation in order to address this issue in the longer term.
In addition, certain titles are kept only for a specified period of time and then discarded (e.g., newsletters, non-indexed journals used mainly for current information, embargoed journals, newspapers, computer books, etc.).
In order to allow the collection to be alive and useful, an active and continuous program of de- selection is maintained. It is important to prevent the shelves from becoming cluttered with materials of questionable significance even though the items once had a value by removing older editions and materials that no longer support the curriculum. It also makes room for newer materials that ensure the collections remain responsive to user needs and optimizes the use of space. The following criteria are generally considered in the de-selection of library materials:
Analysis of past usage data – high usage
Value for historical research
Last copy with archival value
Analysis of past usage data – low usage
Poor physical condition
Age – dated material no longer relevant
No longer meets the applicability of the selection criteria due to shifts in the curriculum
Duplication of information in other materials
The procedures for de-selection are as follows:
The collections are inventoried periodically and a report is issued to the liaison librarians stating missing items. Additionally, a report of items officially lost and entered into the circulation records as such by the Voyager system or as notified by the patron is issued to the liaison librarians. The librarians use these reports for consideration of replacement materials.
Liaison librarians are responsible for making decisions regarding replacement of lost, damaged, missing, or worn-out materials as funds permit. It is the responsibility of the appropriate subject selector to decide, within the guidelines of this policy, whether to replace a specific item or purchase a comparable one, and in what format.
Replacement is always preferred over rebinding for inexpensive in-print titles. Current editions are preferred over previous ones, unless the earlier edition has special distinguishing characteristics.
The library will participate in the academic departmental review process by submitting a collection development review. This will include an analysis of book/monographic holdings, serials, databases, and multimedia holdings. It will provide usage reports, acquisitions reports and quality analysis.
The following tools and models will be used:
The Washington Library Network Conspectus analysis
Holdings reports from Technical Services
Circulation reports from Access Services
ACRL/Choice Magazine reviews and recommendations
Others, as determined appropriate