Deselection is an essential component of Carleton University Library’s collection development and management activity, helping to ensure that the overall collection is relevant and useful to users. It frees up shelf and floor space, and allows remaining materials to be easier to find and use. The Library remains sensitive to the needs of different disciplines. Retention and deselection criteria will vary from discipline to discipline and is rooted in the practices and needs of diverse groups of researchers and students.

Deselection Criteria (Print Books)

Items are deselected that no longer support the research and teaching needs of the university. These are generally identified using a combination of the following criteria:

  • Poor physical condition (unless uncommon or difficult to obtain from other libraries)
  • Infrequent circulation and use
  • Multiple print copies held in collection
  • Superseded editions
  • Outdated content
  • Availability elsewhere (e.g. other Ontario university libraries, digitized copy, etc)

Deselection Criteria (Print Serials)

A serial is generally considered for deselection when there is an online equivalent to the paper, microform, or other physical copy and

  • Online access is available for all of the years covered in print
  • Online access is economically sustainable
  • Online access is secure, perpetual, or locally loadable.

Strong candidates for deselection include:

  • Titles that are part of a trusted digital repository (TDR). TDRs have to go through a rigorous certification process through the Center for Research Libraries that ensure financial sustainability and perpetual preservation (e.g. Scholars Portal and JSTOR)
  • Titles procured from consortia such as CRKN (Canadian Research Knowledge Network) or OCUL (Ontario Council of University Libraries). Serials purchased through consortia with local loading rights have greater leverage when it comes to obtaining access through Scholars Portal (a TDR), as well as recovering archival files should a company be in financial default.
  • Titles for which the Library has purchased the online archive or back file.

Fair candidates for deselection include:

  • Titles for which the Library has a direct online subscription. Library staff will make a judgement call on the stability of the provider and whether direct local loading rights have been secured.
  • Titles that are part of an aggregator package or are open access. Library staff will make a judgment call, as aggregator packages change frequently and online access is less stable than other points of access. Deselection can still occur if the title is not an important part of the teaching and research needs of the University. (The Library can also decide to order a direct subscription if a title is dropped from an aggregator).
  • Titles that have no online access. A print copy of a serial title may still be deselected if there are multiple copies of the same issue or if there is no longer any need to support the subject matter concerning the research and teaching needs of the University.

Maintaining Print Holdings

The Library remains sensitive to the needs of different disciplines and consults with faculty when necessary regarding deselection decisions. Some materials (such as primary texts, or materials with illustrations and colour photography) require the retention of print. In these cases, print is usually retained even in instances where online access is steady and available. Materials that are generally not candidates for deselection include those authored by Carleton faculty, local history, and unique content.

Offering Deselected Materials to Individuals, Units, or Organizations

When withdrawing materials from the collection, logistical issues make offering to departments, individual faculty, book sale organizers, or other external organizations generally too time-consuming and/or expensive. In very exceptional cases, a large collection on a particular subject might be offered to another library with a collection strength in the area.

Relocation to Storage Facility

  • The Storage Facility houses materials which are used by the Carleton community (and external patrons), but for which the frequency of use is not great enough to require that they be on the shelves in the main building
  • As teaching and research needs change, items that are moved to Storage may be relocated back to the main Library.

Approved by Library Management Group, March 26, 2012
Updated May 1, 2012
Updated April 21, 2015
Updated June 12, 2017 (AB/KA)
Approved by Collections Committee, June 5, 2017
Approved by SSC, June 6, 2017
Updated by Collections Committee December 2019
Approved by Senior Staff Committee, April 30, 2020