More than you want to know about weeding criteria …

This past summer the weeding committee worked with R2 Consulting to analyze the library’s collections and compile data to determine what volumes we might withdraw from our collections.  R2 Consulting is a firm specializing in library workflow analysis, organizational structure, and strategic planning.  R2 consultants have extensive experience working in and with academic libraries.  Rick Lugg and Ruth Fischer, who founded R2, came to Wesleyan University Library in 2007 and conducted a very successful analysis of the library’s internal processes.

The library provided R2 with data on our circulating book collections, including acquisition and circulation data.  (Books that do not circulate are not being considered for weeding at this stage in the project.)  R2 combined this with information on the holdings of other libraries, and used this to analyze our collections and provide us with lists of books to consider withdrawing.

Summary collections data from R2 (click on the table to see larger version, then the Back arrow to return to this page):

Criteria used in the creation of the potential withdrawal lists:

1.       Books published before 1990:  Many—not all—scholarly books are most useful, and most used, in the several years just after they are published.  Books that are over 20 years old are less likely to be used and are therefore good candidates for weeding.

2.       Books added to the library’s collection before 2003:  Books added to the library’s collections recently may prove useful, but have not been in the collection long enough to be proved useful or otherwise.  We are retaining books added since 2002 so that they have more time to be discovered and used.  Why 2003?  In 2003 the library migrated to our current online library system, and we know what books we ordered before and after 2003.  So 2003 is a convenient breakpoint for this criterion.

3.       Books that have not checked out since 2003, and have checked out once or not at all since 1996:  Books with one or fewer checkouts since 1996, and none since 2003, may be of less use to students and faculty than books that have checked out more frequently during the same time period.  Why 2003 and 1996?  As noted above, 2003 is when we migrated to our current online system, and we have detailed circulation statistics for each book since then.  We have summary circulation statistics for each book from 1996 to 2002, when we were using a different online system.  Before then we do not have online circulation statistics.

4.       Books held by more than 30 other libraries in the United States:  If a withdrawn book is later needed by a Wesleyan student or faculty member, we will order it through interlibrary loan (ILL).  Books held by more than 30 other libraries in the U.S. will be easy to find and order via ILL.

5.       Books held by two or more partner libraries:  Wesleyan University Library is part of the CTW Consortium, with Trinity College and Connecticut College.  The CTW Consortium, with the library at the University of Connecticut at Storrs, share collections through a delivery service.  We can be confident that books held by two or more of our partners in this service will be quickly available if needed by a Wesleyan student or faculty member.

How we combined these criteria (for fans of Boolean logic):

The books on the list of potential withdrawals meet all of these criteria. So, they are published before 1990 AND added to the collections before 2003 AND have not checked out since 2003 AND have checked out once or not at all since 1996 AND are held by more than 30 libraries in the US AND are held by two or more of our partner libraries.

If a book does not meet all these criteria, it is not on the list.

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