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Collection Management: Collection Management

Collection Management is an ongoing process that we conduct in order to ensure our materials support the needs of the MSOE Community.

Resource Suggestions

We welcome suggestions for library materials from current students, staff, and faculty. Please use the Library Materials Suggestion Form to send your suggestions.

Whether or not the library can purchase the materials depends on a number of factors, including how the material would support collection development, and whether or not sufficient funds are available. Library personnel will carefully evaluate each request and then inform the requester of the library's decision with respect to the request.

Print Weeding

Library Print Weeding Policy and Procedures

What is Weeding?

Weeding in a library is sometimes referred to as "selection in reverse." It is the ongoing evaluation of books and print journals in a library collection, together with the removal of those books and journals which have been determined to be no longer useful or helpful to the library's patrons. Weeding can be controversial and can sometimes upset library patrons. For this reason, weeding must be carried out in a manner that encourages input from patrons. The MSOE Library maintains a weeding process that provides the library’s patrons with an opportunity to provide feedback concerning print items that have been selected for permanent removal.

Why Must Libraries Weed Print Items?

Weeding is a difficult but essential responsibility in all libraries. It is an important aspect of properly maintaining a viable and relevant library collection, since the needs of patrons change. Weeding is also necessary because a library has limited physical shelf space. Additionally, weeding contributes to good service. When a library does not weed consistently, patrons have trouble finding interesting and relevant materials. Removing outdated materials makes the library more visually attractive and more user-friendly for patrons. Moreover, the removal of obsolete and unused print items additionally can enable a library to redeploy its physical space for a variety of other valuable functions, such as informal and formal learning spaces.

How Is Weeding Carried Out in the MSOE Library?

Weeding of print items is an ongoing responsibility in the MSOE Library. The weeding of items first entails the selection of print items from the collection that are considered by the librarians to be candidates for permanent removal. In selecting items for possible permanent removal, the librarians consider a number of criteria (see Criteria for Selecting Weeding Candidates). The bibliographic information associated with each weeding candidate (e.g., author, title, etc.) is added to a weeding candidate list. In addition, a reason is provided for selecting the item as a weeding candidate.

After a minimum of 20 items have been added to the weeding candidate list, a publication date and a scheduled removal date are assigned to the list, and the list is then published on the MSOE Library’s Collection Evaluation page.

The publication date indicates when the list was made available on the library website, and the scheduled removal date indicates the closing date for patrons to send feedback to the librarians concerning items on the list. The time between the publication date and the scheduled removal date is typically a two-week period. Patrons are invited to send their feedback to library@msoe.edu. Patrons who are interested in providing the library with feedback on weeding candidates are urged to check for new weeding lists each week.

Criteria for Selecting Print Item Weeding Candidates

MSOE librarians consider the following questions in their evaluation of print item weeding candidates:

  • Is the content outdated?
  • Do faculty and staff members recommend that the item be retained or removed?
  • Do students recommend that the item be retained or removed?
  • Has the item been reviewed? Reviews may be consulted in published literature or on websites, such as Amazon, that feature reviews. If the item has been reviewed, what do the reviews indicate?
  • How many times has the item circulated? Has it circulated in the last ten years? Has it been used in-house in the last ten years?
  • Is the item relevant to the needs and interests of the MSOE Community?
  • Has the item been superseded or has a subsequent edition been added?
  • Is the item physically damaged and beyond repair?
  • Can copies of the item be obtained quickly and easily via Interlibrary Loan?
  • Is the item considered a "classic" contribution to the field?
  • Is the item highly cited?
  • Is the item a rare or a difficult-to-find item?
  • Is the item expensive or difficult to replace?
  • Do other libraries own the item? If so, how many?
  • Is the item a second copy or is it available electronically?
  • Additional questions may also be considered.

Print Weeding Candidates

What if you see a weeding candidate that you think should not be permanently removed from the MSOE Library collection?

Please tell us! Library personnel will seriously consider the wishes of members of the MSOE community. Please send an email to library@msoe.edu, or visit the library and speak with a librarian.

What Happens to Print Items that are Permanently Removed?

The MSOE Library proudly donates many of the resources permanently removed from the collection to book donation programs, such as Better World Books. Items that are not sent to book donation programs are recycled.