In an effort to create additional study space, reduce duplications, and move toward a more current, relevant, and sustainable collection, Gumberg Library staff have undertaken a large-scale collection review and deselection project. Through data-driven decision-making, Gumberg librarians have identified books and other materials to be removed from the physical collection.
Over the past several years, the library has removed thousands of bound journals, periodical indexes, reference books, and some targeted microforms based on electronic availability. More recently, we completed Phase II of the projects, which consisted of assessing and downsizing the oversized collection on the 1st floor and the AV (Audio-visual) collections on the 5th floor. The library is currently in Phase III of the project, which encompasses the entire general collection housed on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
As we assess and downsize the physical collections, we are also constantly investigating new electronic resources to replace or supplement materials no longer housed in the library building. For more information about this, please visit the tab E-Content Added.
Ongoing collection review and large-scale deselection projects are extremely labor intensive and ongoing. Moreover, this work is difficult for all stakeholders (discarding a book creates mental hurdles for anyone, but especially for librarians). For this reason, the library purposefully selected items to remain in the collection, thus eliminating them from deselection consideration. For example, anything added to the collection since 2015, distinctive gifts and mission critical collections will not be removed. To help make decisions, we developed specific, data-driven criteria and harvested relevant data from the library’s ILS (data management system). In addition, we analyzed information from our library vendor (OCLC) regarding the number of other institutions that have these items in their collections. If something is readily available in OCLC, we can easily borrow it from another institution for our patrons. Therefore, much of the deselection criteria is based on low/no use over a 15+ year period and high availability in OCLC.
As the library piloted this process on the 1st floor oversized collection, it became apparent that it would be even more data-driven and efficient if we worked with a company called GreenGlass, which will use the data from our ILS, as well as information from OCLC.
Library staff have worked to recycle as many print journals from the collection as possible, resulting in approximately 62 tons of material being sent to recycling plants! Due to the scope of the project, not all books are fit for recycling – binding materials and other book components consist of nonrecyclable materials. For this reason, the library is also preparing to work with a company called Better World Books, who will help find new homes for those items we are removing from the collection.
To be as transparent as possible with these projects, our processes and our decisions we've created this website that will be updated regularly throughout the duration of the remaining projects.
Information obtained for Decision Making:
Items identified to be maintained:
Before each subject review list is created, certain titles will have already been eliminated. Below is a list of those protected categories, which could be revisited later if circumstances change.
It is very important to look at availability and use. If something is readily available in OCLC and not being used here at Duquesne, then it is a good candidate for deselection.