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					     Stock Withdrawal and Retention Guidelines
                         for the SWIMS Network

Author:              Collection Development Group: Alison Housley (NDH), Annette Giles
                     (TAU), Lesley Greig (SMD), Sally Ryan (HGM)
Date created:        June 2001
First update:        February 2005
Second update:       December 2008
Review date:         December 2011

Purpose:             To ensure that a common set of standards are applied to the retention
                     and withdrawal of books, reports and electronic media throughout the
                     SWIMS network.

General Age Rule
Reviewing stock against age, usage, relevancy, space and condition should be part of
an ongoing process in all libraries and some of the decision-making will inevitably be
subject to local circumstances. However, for the sake of consortium consistency, this
guideline suggests that items over 10 years old should be considered for withdrawal with
the following considerations for exception:

  1. Classic texts where no later edition exists
  If the book is deemed to be a classic, but the content is considered out of date, it may
  be retained but ideally should be placed in an archive or reserve collection.

  2. Older clinical material still in active use
  Older material should only be retained in live collections where it belongs to an area,
  or specialty, which dates less quickly and where it can be demonstrated from
  borrowing records that the book is still in active use e.g. anatomy books, diagnostic
  colour atlases, reference works on nomenclature, some scientific tables. Books which
  have clinical content alongside legal and/or ethical material may retain their
  usefulness for longer than books with just clinical content. Where librarians are in
  doubt as to usefulness an expert end user should be consulted.

  3. Subject areas with a shorter shelf life
  Some subjects may have material that needs withdrawing in less than 10 years e.g.
  drug treatment, computer science, some communicable diseases. Exactly how long
  material of this type should be kept is a subjective issue but if in doubt consult an
  expert end user.

22nd December 2008
  4. Seminal works in mental health
  Mental health material does not date in the same way as books in other specialties
  and seminal works may be much older than ten years e.g. the works of Freud, Jung,
  Adler and Klein. Where librarians are in doubt as to current usefulness they should
  consult a specialist mental health librarian or end user for advice.

  5. Seminal government documents relating to health
  Hard copies of Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments, Committee of Enquiry,
  Royal Commission & similar reports that are not freely available online should be
  retained indefinitely at the local librarian’s discretion.

  6. Seminal international publications relating to health
  Hard copies of publications from organizations such as the World Health Organization
  and the European Community that are not freely available online should be retained
  indefinitely at the local librarian’s discretion.

  7. Seminal reports, research reports and policy documents from health-related
      professional and voluntary bodies
  Hard copies of publications from organizations such as the Royal Colleges, NMC,
  GMC, King’s Fund that are not freely available online should be retained indefinitely at
  the local librarian’s discretion. Guidelines, guidance and policy documents should
  only be retained where no later ones exist and if libraries have problems keeping up
  to date they should refer users to the organization web sites.

  8. Original local material
  Local grey literature is increasingly difficult to trace as time passes and libraries
  should retain all local material of health interest that is not freely available online.

  9. Non-clinical material
  Biographical and autobiographical works, fictional works, histories, general reference
  material such as language dictionaries, legislation and legal commentaries and works
  on ethics might all be candidates for retention beyond 10 years.

  10. Selected old editions
  One school of thought is that no old editions should be kept once the new edition has
  been purchased. However, some libraries may like to keep the closest edition to the
  current one as either a back up for a popular text or as a loanable copy because the
  current one is in reference. On no account should editions older than the last two be

  11. Items in need of repair
  Items in poor condition should be withdrawn and/or replaced regardless of age.

Good Practice
  1. Housekeeping
  Library managers should ensure that weeding forms part of the regular housekeeping

22nd December 2008
  2. Stock Management
  A large weeding exercise should not be carried out in isolation. It should form part of a
  wider stock management process.

  3. User consultation
  User subject specialists should be consulted, before final withdrawal decisions are
  made, to demonstrate active user consultation processes.

  4. Disposal
  Organizational policies on disposal and recycling should be followed when getting rid
  of unwanted stock.

  NB Offering ex-library books for sale, at give-away prices, is always popular but
  warnings should be displayed drawing attention to the out-of-date status of the books.

  How SWIMS can help in the weeding process
  1. A filter can be used to pull up a list of books over 10 years old in class mark order.

  2. Item usage can be checked via the history tab in the copy details.

  3. Older items that are being retained can be tagged and reasons for retention given.

  4. Older items for retention can be listed.

  5. Older items for withdrawal can be listed and deleted.

  For details of 3, 4 and 5 see:

22nd December 2008

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