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Deselection Policy

Collection management is usually perceived as an activity that only adds new materials to a library. Collection management is also undertaken to maximize the usefulness of a library's collections to the clientele. For the purpose of this policy statement, weeding is defined as the removal of items from the Library's active collection. Weeding is an important part of the management of collections. Deselection, or weeding, is the careful elimination from the collection of unwanted or unnecessary materials that accumulate over time. This is done not only to conserve valuable space, but more importantly to increase the value or usefulness or the collection (and, concomitantly, to increase circulation of existing resources). A collection is difficult to use when one must sift through large amounts of irrelevant, outdated materials.

The subject bibliographers, with the Collection Development Librarian and Associate Director, have primary responsibility for weeding activities. Other faculty and staff may be called upon to serve as consultants when necessary. All deselection/weeding will be accomplished according to the criteria listed below and with thought to preservation of the historical record of the practice of medicine. The Collection Development Librarian has the final say on titles to be deselected.

Objectives of Deselection:

  1. To make the most effective use of shelf space.
    Shelving of library materials is inherently expensive. Sufficient stack space is always at a premium. Deselection may be necessary to remove materials that are not needed and provide space for new acquisitions.
  2. To utilize acquisitions funds in the most effective manner.
    Cancellation of unnecessary subscriptions or standing orders frees acquisitions funds to acquire other titles that are more responsive to current teaching and research needs.
  3. To increase the relevance of the existing collections to current curricular needs.
    Removing dated or irrelevant titles from the shelves facilitates browsing by students and faculty.
  4. To maintain the collections in an acceptable physical condition.
  5. To ensure preservation of historically significant resources through intentional application of guidelines.

Items that will be considered for weeding are superseded editions, materials showing low use, physically deteriorated volumes, subject areas no longer collected, and outdated materials of no historical importance. Subject areas that are collected at shallow depths will be weeded more rigorously than in-depth areas.

The following areas are to be considered in evaluating each item for weeding:

  • Frequency of use - Is it used by faculty, staff, students or lent out via ILL?
  • Subject area still relevant to the needs and interests of users
  • Author - If the item was written by faculty or staff person of the Medical Center, past or current, consider for transfer to Clendening
  • Special features, such as inscription, autograph, marginalia
  • Status in history of the subject
  • Consider for Clendening if the term "history" appears in the title or if the first chapter/part delineates the historical significance of the book?
  • Publication date - Monographs published between 1900 and 1970 are to be considered for historical preservation, if the criteria for transfer to Clendening are met.Continuity or length of run of journal titles, including titles held indefinitely which are regularly transferred to the historical collection at Clendening.
  • Presence of "Medical Classics" in serials selected for possible weeding.(As defined by Ash L, in Serial Publications Containing Medical Classics, 2nd Edition.1979. CT: The Antiquarium.
  • Brandon/Hill status - older editions of Brandon/Hill materials are candidates for transfer to Clendening
  • Continuity or length of run of textbooks seminal to their fields
  • Format - Is the material reliably available electronically? See section, Weeding Notes by Condition, Format, or Type of Material
  • Physical state of the item - Can it be repaired or should it be replaced?
  • Language
  • Duplication - multiple or redundant materials
  • Materials potentially of use in legal research

Items pertaining to health in Kansas or the Kansas City metropolitan area - Items generally recognized as important contributions to the health sciences. The prime identifiers of these are listed below:

Ash L. Serial publications containing medical classics. Antiquarium; 1979.

Bullough B, Bullough VL, Elcano B. Nursing: a historical bibliography. Garland; 1981

Friesen SR, Hudson RP. The Kansas School of Medicine. Friesen; 1996.

Garrison FH, Morton LT. A medical bibliography. 4th edition. Gower; 1991. 1000 p.

Major RH. An account of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. University of Kansas Medical Alumni Association; 1968. (index published separately)

In all respects, we cooperate with the Clendening History of Medicine when weeding materials from our collection.

Special Material Types

  • CME materials will be discarded once their date for continuing education credit has passed
  • Exam review: Previous editions of exam review materials will not be retained; older editions will be discarded as new ones arrive
  • NCME videos will be discarded once their date for credit has passed, which is 3 years from the date printed on the video jacket
  • Supplementary materials: disks, CDs or other materials that come with another resource (i.e. a monograph) should be discarded when the accompanying resource is weeded
  • Websites: links to web-based materials should be removed from the catalog/website if the link becomes inactive and a current one cannot be found and/or if the material becomes outdated

Librarians may use the acronym, MUSTIE, to indicate when an item should be removed from the collection. MUSTIE stands for:

Misleading and/or factually inaccurate: *if it highlights quackery, consider for Clendening
Ugly (worn out beyond mending or rebinding): *if a first edition, consider for Clendening
Superseded by a new edition or a better source;*if a first edition, consider for Clendening
Trivial (of no discernable literary or scientific merit);
Irrelevant to the needs and interests of your community;
Elsewhere (the material may be easily borrowed from another source).

Weeding Procedures For Non-Serials

Print out two lists in your subject area(s): all items that have and have not circulated in the last three years. Each list should include author, title, barcode number, publication date, last circulation date and number of copies for each item. A starting point for deselection of monographs and A/V items is older than 1970 that have not circulated/been used in the last 3 years (the date of 1970 is offered as a benchmark by Clendening and specific to the first weeding following completed inventory). This is a guideline only, and is not intended as a hard rule for deselection. Some materials (i.e. anatomy of the rat) will be accurate and potentially useful for many years, while others (i.e. advances in cancer treatment) will have a shorter useful lifespan. It is up to each subject bibliographer to decide which materials to weed.

Once the subject bibliographer has identified titles to be deselected, he or she should place a "weeding slip" in the item and replace it on the shelf so the weeding slip is clearly visible. Alternatively, if a small number of titles are being weeded, they may be removed and placed on a book truck.

FIRST, selections must be checked against the bibliographic resources listed in the Deselection Policy. Any monographs falling within the preservation criteria are marked on the weeding slip for transfer to the Clendening collection.

SECOND, faculty, staff and/or library committee members, as well as Clendening's Rare Book Librarian should then be invited to review materials identified to be deselected. If faculty/staff feel an item marked for deselection should be kept, they may make a notation on the weeding slip, and give the item to staff at the Public Services Desk, who will give it to the appropriate subject bibliographer.

Once the review period is over, materials to be weeded should be turned over to the Cataloging Assistant for processing, removal from the collection, or transfer to Clendening.

Weeding as Part of the Collection Development Process:

When reviewing items for deselection, subject bibliographers should take the opportunity to conduct a "post mortem" on low use items, to determine why they have not been used and evaluate collection needs.

Why did the item fail? Was it due to the:

  • Author?
  • Publisher?
  • Format?
  • Quality?
  • Subject?
  • Level?

Weeding Notes by Condition, Format, or Type of Material

In cooperation with Clendening library, Dykes Library biomedical librarians are urged to consider the following when evaluating resources for deselection/discard. Please mark for consideration by Clendening any of the following:

  • Bibliographies - older bibliographies in the collection, especially in the disciplines of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Dictionaries - any biomedical subject dictionary
  • Drug Sources - Any drug sources leaving the Reference section, plus Major American drug handbooks, English language drug resource materials from foreign countries, foreign pharmacopoeias, or older editions of official U.S. drug compendia
  • Encyclopedias - older editions of the medical/scientific encyclopedias
  • Handbooks - older editions of handbooks
  • Imprint Variants - duplicate editions, different publishers or locations, and foreign imprints of U.S. works
  • Medical Atlases - any medical atlases under consideration for weeding
  • Models - contact KUMC archivist for anything produced up through 1970
  • Pamphlets - any discovered to contain historical references or content
  • Personal Narratives - transfer any with KUMC connections and/or regional, historical significance
  • Portraits, Prints, and Photographs - contact both Clendening Library and the KUMC archivist
  • Reprints - collected reprints on specific medical subjects or monographs ABOUT such collections
  • Serials - if referenced in Ash L. Serial publications containing medical classics. Antiquarium; 1979. Pull entire bound volume if one issue is cited.
  • Standards - any published through the first half of the 20th century
  • Statistics - Pass to Clendening any publications from U.S. government agencies or international bodies containing significant statistical compilations of data on health care, morbidity and morality, and socio-economic factors related to health or disease
  • Textbooks - first editions of newer medical topics, fields, investigations.
  • Translations - any first editions in foreign language and/or English

Serial Weeding/Cancellations Criteria & Procedures

Subscription payments represent advance commitment of funds for material to be published and supplied over time. Subscription cycles may vary, but the most common is a calendar year commitment beginning in January. In general publishers and subscription agents each require at least eight weeks in advance of the beginning of the new subscription period to process renewal orders and cancellation requests. Dykes Library's practice is to make use of subscription agencies as intermediaries between the Library and the publisher to the fullest extent possible. The Library needs adequate time to prepare instructions to our agents regarding cancellations. Typically, subscription agencies prefer to receive all instructions no later than the end of September. Once the cancellation deadline has passed it is unlikely that cancellation will take effect before the end of the next renewal period. For this reason, cancellation decisions are generally made early in each fiscal year, generally to be finalized by the beginning of September, although budget issues may create a need for mid-year subscription changes.

Faculty Participation
It is important for faculty to work with their liaison librarians in the review of the current slate of journal titles. This continuous review is necessary to ensure the balance between monograph and serial expenditures and to provide for serial renewal. It is through cancelling less important or low use material that new resources can be funded.

Preference for electronic delivery of periodicals over print
Our practice will be to remain sensitive to the needs of different disciplines while preferring electronic delivery of journals and discontinuing the print duplicate copies, wherever feasible. Print copies of an electronic title may be maintained under certain conditions, such as where the content is geographically specific to Kansas or the Kansas City metropolitan area, where journal content cannot be accurately reproduced by standard printing processes, if electronic versions are not complete, or the electronic version is technologically or financially unfeasible.

Weeding/Cancellation Criteria
The Evaluation Criteria of the KUMC Collection Development Policy should be used to evaluate titles recommended for cancellation. In addition, the Associate Director and Collection Development Librarian may consider the following:

Cost and use: we will create a decision spreadsheet that shows use and cost of individual titles wherever feasible. This spreadsheet will then be organized to show high cost titles, low use titles, and high cost per use titles.
What is the cost per use, both in-house and ILL, for the title?
Is the cost of the title high relative to other journals in the collection?
Is the use of the journal low relative to other journals in the collection?

Support of programs at KUMC.
Is the title highly specialized or does it support a broad range of University research/educational activities?
Is the title of a multi-disciplinary nature? If so, have all academic departments concerned been consulted?

Performance of titles and packages.
What is the impact factor of the title (if it has one)?
Is the technical performance of an online journal satisfactory? (E.g., not requiring passwords, reasonable restrictions on seats, PDF files available for printing)
If part of a package, does the publisher permit cancelling individual titles in the package?
Is the publisher's performance satisfactory?
Do print copies arrive on schedule?
Are multiple claims required?
Does the publisher respond satisfactorily to claims?
When cancelling online access to a title does the license permit permanent archival access? If so, how is this access provided? Must we take possession of the files from the publisher? Are they available from a third party?

General issues of quality, access and coverage.
Is the title named on a Brandon/Hill list, or other recognized resource for "core" medical journals? If so, preference may be given to retaining the title.
Is the title readily available at another regents or local or regional biomedical library?
Is retaining a print subscription a prerequisite for receiving online access?
Is the title available more economically as part of a consortial package?
Is the title indexed in major databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL)?

These factors all play a role in deselection decisions, though financial and economic factors usually weigh a little more heavily.

Journal Scoring Matrix
<5 = not a candidate for cancellation
5-10 = consider for cancellation
10+ = strong candidate for cancellation

Criteria Score
Cost Per Use (over $50=5 points, over $100=10 pts)  
Cost of the title relative to other titles (over $1500 =2 points, over $5000 = 5 points)  
Usage of the title (less than 100 uses = 2 points, less than 10 uses = 5 points)  
Is the title held by another Regents or local or regional biomedial library? (no=-1 point)  
Does the title support a broad range of University research/educational activities? (yes=-5 points)  
Is technical performance of an online journal satisfactory? (no=5 points)  
Is publisher's performance satisfactory? (no=2 points)  
Does publisher permit cancelling of individual title? (no=-10 points?)  
Is publisher's print-related performance satisfactory? (no=3 points)  
Will cancelling online access mean we lose archival (print or online) access? (yes=-2 points)  
Is title on Brandon/Hill or other core title list? (yes=-5 points)  
Is retaining print a requirement for online access? (yes=-2 points)  
Is title available more economically via consortial package? (yes=5 points)  
Is title indexed in major databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL) (no=3 points)  
Library Hours and Contact Info

Library Building
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Saturday – Sunday 6pm – 11pm

Reference Services
Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm

A.R. Dykes Library
Mailstop 1050
2100 W 39th Ave
Kansas City KS 66103