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Welcome to the A.J. Eastwood Library

Library's Weeding Policy

Limestone College Library Weeding Policy

The library’s primary mission is to meet current student research needs. Therefore, the Library attempts to provide a collection designed for active use by our students and the campus community.

Accomplishing this goal requires a weeding (deselection) policy with specific guidelines. Before being discarded, each item is reviewed by the appropriate staff member based upon professional judgment and knowledge of the collection and curriculum. Librarians may, at times, look to faculty members for their recommendations.

GENERAL WEEDING CRITERIA

1. Superseded editions not containing unique information, data, or providing a historical reference not available in the most current edition.

2. Titles unused within a reasonable span of time based on subject and scope of the work except for items considered standard editions or classics.

3. Duplicate titles unless a proven demand exists for multiple copies.

4. Materials that do not support the current college curriculum.

5. Items in poor condition that are beyond reasonable preservation efforts.

6. Electronic books (ebooks) allow users to have instant access to materials at any time from nearly any location. Currently, there are several avenues to obtaining ebooks for libraries.  Most often, libraries purchase them through subscription services where they can obtain large collections of materials according to subject matter. The subscription services regularly update the electronic materials as well as provide files to delete obsolete or subsumed virtual holdings. E-book weeding practices hinge on the purchasing model used to acquire e-materials. If e-books are purchased in bundles from a vendor, titles may reside in the vendor’s catalog rather than on the library’s server.

Weeding of electronic resources is continual using the following criteria.

     a. Link is no longer available or maintained.

     b. Currency or reliability of the resource’s information has lost value.

     c. Another source offers more comprehensive coverage.

Specific Weeding Criteria and Schedule

CLASSIFICATION: A (GENERAL WORKS) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: The latest editions of encyclopedias most likely will be available through online sources.  Books, both reference and circulating, in this area should be evaluated every five years.

CLASSIFICATION: B-BD, BH, BJ (PHILOSOPHY) 7 years

Weeding Criteria: Most philosophy books do not become outdated. Circulation is often low and is not necessarily a guide for weeding. Titles are retained unless superseded by more recent editions. Duplicate copies of low-usage books are to be weeded, as are superseded editions.

CLASSIFICATION: BF (PSYCHOLOGY) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: A 5-year weeding process is necessary to maintain a live, usable, and up-to-date collection. Such weeding affords renewed insight for the subject librarian into the strengths and weaknesses of the Behavioral Sciences collection.

CLASSIFICATION: BL-BX (RELIGION) 7 Years

Weeding Criteria: Material does not generally become outdated. Books that have not circulated should be considered for weeding after ten years. Superseded editions and unused duplicates are to be weeded. The collection should have current titles on each major religion as well as earlier editions of classic or standard texts, regardless of current curriculum usefulness.

CLASSIFICATION: C (AUXILIARY SCIENCES OF HISTORY), D (HISTORY: GENERAL AND OLD WORLD) 5 Years
E, F (HISTORY: AMERICA)

Weeding Criteria:

1. The main factors include demand, accuracy of facts, and fairness of interpretation. Nonetheless, the history collection should be reviewed periodically, and books should be judged for their continuing usefulness in the collection. In general, it is wise to keep:

a. Books that are too new to show use (purchased within the last five years).

b. Older books that reflect the expectations of another era, regardless of the accuracy of predictions made in them about the future. These are useful in lending perspective to present day expectations of our own future.

c. Otherwise inappropriate books if bibliography, appendices, maps, illustrations, or other supplementary features are still useful.

d. Earlier editions of classic or standard texts (at least one copy), regardless of current curriculum usefulness.

CLASSIFICATION: G-GR (GEOGRAPHY) 3 Years

Weeding Criteria: Books in this area become dated quite rapidly and should be weeded about every three years unless it has a significant amount of background or history information not available anywhere else. Beyond that, age, usage, size of area collection, physical condition, and number of copies determine decisions.

CLASSIFICATION: GV (ATHLETICS) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Superseded sports rule books are to be maintained only to last two editions. Old instructional materials should be considered for discard if new items exist.  Books on sports are to be weeded if they deal with celebrities no longer of interest.

CLASSIFICATION: HB-HJ (ECONOMICS) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: This process considers timeliness of research, value of material, number of sources on topic, age of source, circulation, number of copies, whether part of a set, and physical condition. Consideration of economics interdisciplinary contribution to geography, history, management, social science, and international affairs.

CLASSIFICATION: H-HA (SOCIAL SCIENCE) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Interdisciplinary needs are to be considered when weeding. Other factors considered are age, usage, extent of collection, years covered in information, and physical condition of materials. 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. Books on finance may be outdated sooner.

CLASSIFICATION: HM-HX (SOCIOLOGY) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Materials may be withdrawn from the collection for the following reasons:

Age: Superseded by a later edition.

Physical condition: Materials that have pages missing, unreadable text, or poor quality paper and are not worth repairing, rebinding or replacing.

Usage: Duplicate copies that have not circulated once in two years.

Level of treatment: Too superficial or too advanced for college level use.

Subject matter: Older editions in a subject area that has low circulation activity and numerous other works.

CLASSIFICATION: J-JX (POLITICAL SCIENCE) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Political science interrelates with other fields such as social science, international affairs, geography, history, aerospace sciences, and management. Consideration is then given to usage, size of collection, whether parts of a series, number of copies, age, timeliness or historical value, and physical condition.

CLASSIFICATION: K (LAW) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Multiple copies, superseded works, some outdated topical books are weeded, but little else.

CLASSIFICATION: L (EDUCATION) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Outdated monographs, superseded works, title not circulated, and duplicates are to be weeded. No biographical materials are to be discarded.  Different editions of encyclopedic works may be kept if they still hold value.

CLASSIFICATION: M (MUSIC) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Titles are to be retained, unless superseded by newer editions. Music books generally do not become outdated.

CLASSIFICATION: N (ART) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Art books do not generally become outdated.

CLASSIFICATION: P, PE, PN, PR, PS, PZ, PA-PD, PF-PL, PQ, PT
(FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Age and use are not always accurate guides for weeding literature books. Some critical works (especially superseded editions) may be weeded by date and usage. The fiction is to be screened for outdated materials. Keep criticism of classic writers. Keep history unless superseded by better titles. Maintain multiple copies of classic literary works.

CLASSIFICATION: Q (SCIENCE) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Materials may be withdrawn from the collection based on the following criteria:

Age: Superseded by newer editions, ephemeral material.

Usage: Not checked out in last five years, multiple copies with little or no use.

Physical condition: Missing pages, text unreadable, other damage, poor quality paper, or other factors.

Level of treatment: Too superficial for college level study; newer materials provide better or expanded explanations of complex subjects, clearer text styles, and better illustrations. New science discoveries, theories and techniques are continually updated.

CLASSIFICATION: QA 9-74, 78-939 (MATHEMATICS) 5 Years

Weeding criteria: Books older than ten years are to be withdrawn unless they are considered "classics." Older editions are usually withdrawn when a new edition is received.

CLASSIFICATION: QA 75-77 (COMPUTER SCIENCE) 3 Years

Weeding Criteria: Material may be withdrawn from the collection based on the following criteria:

Age: Superseded by newer editions, ephemeral material.

Usage: Not used in last 3-4 years; copies with few or no uses.

Physical condition: Missing pages, text unreadable, damage, poor quality paper, or other factors.  Level of treatment: Too superficial for college level study; newer materials provide better or expanded explanations of complex subjects, clearer text styles, and better illustrations.

CLASSIFICATION: QB (ASTRONOMY), QC (PHYSICS) & QD (CHEMISTRY) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Books considered for discard include added copies printed more than 10 years ago not identified as "landmark" and those with more than two editions in that period. Older editions, if superseded, are to be discarded.

Materials on poor quality or brittle paper with no use during the past five years are to be withdrawn if more current, more highly regarded books with similar coverage are available.

Books by undistinguished authors, in difficult-to-read format, with very small print on topics well-covered by other better prepared monographs are discarded. Basic works of significant historical or literary value, such as Darwin's The Origin of Species ought to be kept indefinitely.

CLASSIFICATION: QH-QR (BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Material may be withdrawn from the collection based on the following criteria:

Age: Superseded by new editions. Materials have a shelf life of approximately ten years.

Usage: Not used in last 3-5 years, copies with few or no uses.

Physical condition: Missing pages, text unreadable, water damage, poor quality paper, or other factors that preclude rebinding.

Level of treatment: Too superficial for college level study; newer materials provide better or expanded explanations of complex subjects, clearer text styles, and better illustrations.

CLASSIFICATION: R (MEDICINE) 3 Years

Weeding Criteria: Material may be withdrawn from the collection based on the following criteria:

Age: Superseded by newer editions or those that present new knowledge; older materials may be very misleading or even dangerous.

Usage: Not checked out in last five years, copies with little or no use.

Physical condition: Missing pages, text unreadable, other damage, poor quality paper, or other factors.

Level of treatment: Too superficial for college level study; newer materials provide better or expanded explanations of complex subjects, clearer text styles, and better illustrations.

CLASSIFICATION: S (AGRICULTURE) 5 Years

Weeding Criteria: Material may be withdrawn from the collection based on the following criteria:

Age: Superseded by newer editions, ephemeral material.

Usage: Not checked out in last five years, copies with little or no use.

Physical condition: Missing pages, text unreadable, other damage, poor quality paper, or other factors that preclude rebinding.

Level of treatment: Too superficial for college level study; newer materials provide better or expanded explanations of complex subjects, clearer text styles, and better illustrations.

CLASSIFICATION: T (TECHNOLOGY, GENERAL) 3 Years

Weeding Criteria: Materials are to be withdrawn from the collection when newer editions are published or if newer material provides better coverage and treatment and if no usage in five years. Technology is making such rapid advances that materials over seven years old should be viewed skeptically, with obvious exceptions for the fields of engineering, construction, photography, and manufacturing. 

The Reference Collection: The goal for weeding the reference collection is to make these materials discoverable and accessible at all times. Weeding the reference collection requires some special considerations, especially as more reference collections include electronic resources. The existence of an electronic equivalent may warrant the weeding of certain print editions if space is a major consideration.  Use of printed materials is more difficult to determine since most reference works do not circulate. Most of the criteria for removal remain the same as for circulating collections, with the possible exceptions of use and currency. Some sources are considered reference "classics" and may be valuable for many years. Others (especially scientific, medical and technological works) may be quickly outdated. Many reference works are issued in revised editions, and any previous editions can usually be removed. An exception is any new edition that supplements rather than replaces an older edition. Weeding should always be a collaborative decision between subject specialists, reference librarians, and faculty, if possible.  Items selected for weeding should be identified and a list created for distribution to the appropriate individuals for further vetting. Additionally, depending on subject matter and relevance to our curriculum needs, Reference titles may also be moved to our circulating collection so that these titles may be checked out.

Audiovisual Materials: Non-print media should be weeded on a regular schedule just like print materials, although it can be harder to judge content and quality without spending a great deal of time watching or listening to each item. Keep in mind that non-print materials can be quite difficult to borrow through interlibrary loan. Other issues to consider when evaluating non-print materials include format and condition. Is the format still available?  If not, and the materials are not replaceable, you may want to investigate transferring unique materials to current formats. Watch for broken cases, missing pieces, poor sound, or visual quality of compact discs. CDs are relatively sturdy, but they can be chipped, cracked, or scratched, or otherwise rendered useless.

South Carolina Materials: This is one area to weed lightly, with an eye for new editions or updated information. Keep as much as possible. Local history, materials by local authors or with local settings, memoirs, directories, and oral histories should not be weeded.

The Limestone College Archives: The Archives department reserves the right, once it has taken possession, to weed materials according to accepted professional practice. 

Evaluation: The following questions guide the reappraisal and possible subsequent weeding of materials in the department: 

1. Does the material fit within the collection development policies and mission of the Archives?

2. Would the collection strengths of the department suffer if the material were weeded?

3. Are there duplicates of the material in the collections?

4. Has the physical condition of the material deteriorated to the point that it can no longer be

    preserved?

5. Is the archival collection capable of providing proper storage and care for the material? Does the material require continual special treatment?

6. Is there a donor agreement or other legal stipulation that might impose restrictions on weeding?

7. Have the donors’ original desires for the collection been honored?

8. Has an item been found to be inauthentic (is the material forged or otherwise misrepresented)?

9. Do restrictions on use prevent the material from being effectively used for research or  

    instruction?

10. Would weeding the material limit public access to the information presented in that material?

Disposal: Materials will be disposed in the following way, according to the appropriate circumstances:

1. The donor will have the right of first refusal to accept the materials.

2. Materials may be transferred to another institution.

3. Materials may be destroyed in a proper and safe manner appropriate to the material.

4. Materials may be sold; all proceeds are to be disposed of according to college regulations.

5. Books or other published works may be offered to the library’s general circulating collections, if   

    appropriate.

Disclosure: The department will share, according to its guidelines, information as to the rationale behind the weeding of material to appropriate parties and how that material will be disposed of.

 

 

If you are experiencing problems with our guides, please contact Janet S. Ward, jward@limestone.edu, Associate Professor and Web Services Librarian.