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Discovery Services Procedures: Collection Evaluation, Development, and Weeding

"How to" documents for OCLC, Alma, and general Discovery Services Procedures.

Collection Evaluation

Subject selectors are responsible for evaluating their collections on a continuing basis in order to

  1. Know their collections very well
  2. Withdraw materials that are no longer useful
  3. Identify gaps in the collection and order books to fill those gaps
  4. Identify heavily used materials and order second copies or new books in those topics

The Create List function in Sierra can help with Collection Review. Create a list by call number and review the age of the books, the titles, duplication, and the number of checkouts and renewals. Caveat: Create List is not very reliable in Sierra. We hope that this will improve in later versions.

There is no substitute for going to the stacks and actually looking at and handling your collection. The goal is to review about 1,000 books annually - that is only 30-40 shelves.

Use the Weeding Policy (q.v.) as a guideline.

If you are doing a large review project, it is useful to have a processing slip. First define your review criteria and then create a processing slip that reflects your criteria. An example is given in "Sample Weeding Project" below.

Sample Weeding Project

Children's Collection Weeding Project

Purpose:   Weed outdated books from the children's collection to make space for newer materials and to reduce the quantity of books to be relocated in a space re-allocation project.

Method:    Using specific criteria, an intern or student assistant will examine the books and make preliminary decisions on weeding and retention. The Children's Literature subject specialist will review weeded items and make decision changes as needed. The faculty liaison will be invited to review books selected for weeding. If the faculty liaison has not responded within the deadline, the librarian's decision will stand.

Scope:        All books in the Children's Collection will be reviewed except for Dewey Decimal Classifications 500 and 600, which were weeded recently.

(A) Criteria for potential withdrawal

  1. Publishing date earlier than [15 years ago] and book has not circulated for 5 years
  2. Book is damaged
  3. Book is a duplicate (multiple editions may count as duplicates)
  4. Book is part of an incomplete series

(B)  Criteria for retention regardless of age and Access Services

  1. Title was awarded a prize or honorable mention (see list of prizes and prize winners attached)
  2. Author is on our Major Authors List


  1. Examine each book in the section
  2. Pull off each book that meets one of the criteria in section (A)
  3. Check the lists and retain any books that meet the criteria in section (B)
  4. In the Awards list, highlight each title the library owns
  5. Put a slip in each potential withdrawal, noting the appropriate information
  6. Take the truck to Cataloging when full. Label the truck: Children's Collection weeding, waiting for final approval.
  7. Notify the Children's Literature subject specialist to review the truck [name, phone]
  8. Re-shelve any books that the specialist wants to keep
  9. Give approved books to the Cataloging assistant [name] for withdrawal


____ Publishing date earlier than [date]

____ Not circulated since [year]

____ Book is damaged

____ Part of an incomplete series

____ Other copies/editions on shelf (give number)

____ Awards list checked

____ Major Authors list checked


Subject specialist decision:

Withdraw      Keep

Initials & date _________________

Subject Guide

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