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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
025. (Book and Paper) Thoughtful withdrawal of monographs from academic libraries: Knowing the risks to our cultural print heritage

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Academic libraries are faced with pressing space issues and insufficient funding. In light of these pressures, libraries are more aggressively withdrawing materials to relieve cramped shelves and reduce overall collection footprints. Selection for withdrawal is based off many factors, but of particular concern is the withdrawal of materials relative to titles being held in shared print repositories. Recent publications point to the need for thoughtful and strategic evaluation of shared print for quality and completeness as well as evaluation of copies considered for withdrawal if we are to ensure the perseverance of an accurate representation of our print heritage in an increasingly digital library environment. This paper will discuss two related studies that enlighten us on the current practices for selection for withdrawal in academic libraries, as well as the risks libraries may be taking in basing print retention decisions on shared catalog records alone. In spring of 2015 the author, as a member of a small group of interested preservation librarians and conservators, created and distributed an online survey to academic libraries across the United States. The focus of this survey was to document what information and procedures their peer libraries currently utilize when considering the withdrawal of a monographic title from their local collection. The survey collected 99 valid responses and focused on analyzing current withdrawal practices and policies as well as specifically focusing on the impact of either access to electronic content or a commitment to retain a physical copy at another institution or shared print repository on those practices. While not the main focus of this presentation, the information collected from this survey will help to frame the main substance of the talk, focusing on the variation between "identical books” as defined by the shared print community. This bulk of this presentation will focus on the findings of a recent study of books cataloged as identical, but upon physical reviewing showing differences in editions, printings, condition, and treatments. Currently, the author is completing data collection from a physical comparison of forty-four theoretically identical monographic titles held by their library consortia, the Big Ten Academic Alliance (fifteen large academic libraries). Each title shares identical OCLC cataloging records and should therefore be identical or near-identical publications. Data being collected include bibliographic accuracy, printing and binding variances, completeness, physical damage, chemical deterioration, and provenance. Results are also being compared to existing digital content in the HathiTrust, a trusted digital repository. Early data show wide variability both in the accuracy of cataloging records, as well as in historical use, condition and ability for materials to be successfully digitized in the future. While condition and unique features are sure to vary, the similarities of the fifteen institutions would have a higher likelihood for similar storage and preservation than in many other more diverse libraries, so any variations found in this study are likely to be present, if not increased, among the broader academic library community.

avatar for Jennifer Hain Teper

Jennifer Hain Teper

Head of Preservation, University of Illinois
Jennifer Hain Teper is Head of Preservation, University Libraries, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with an MSLIS and CAS in the conservation of library and archive materials in 2000. She oversaw the construction of the... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Book and Paper