Deaccessioning Policy for General Collections

January 8, 2019

The following deaccessioning guidelines and policies facilitate collection management at the University of Oregon Libraries. They apply to general collections only, not to special collections held in the Libraries or to Law Library collections.

General Principles

The University of Oregon Libraries is committed to creating, managing, and preserving relevant collections that support the research themes and academic programs of the University. This commitment includes not only selecting and creating material for current support in a balanced and inclusive manner, but also maintaining and preserving material for future scholarship.

Application of the principles and policies in this document includes consideration of the unique needs of the discipline(s) associated with the material. Within that context, these deaccessioning guidelines apply to tangible materials.

We maintain an active and healthy physical library collection through consistent collection development and management policies and established best practices. Collection management includes the identification of material for storage, when available and appropriate, and deaccessioning when necessary. Beyond the initial acquisition expenditure, there is a continuing cost to retaining and maintaining material in any format. Consideration of the physical space is also part of collection management. Infinite expansion of storage for tangible materials is not feasible or sustainable. As a result, we make our acquisition and retention decisions carefully and continuously.

When publications in tangible formats are duplicated in permanent, electronic form, either owned by the library and/or available through stable, accessible platforms, the library will consider relying on the electronic version alone. It will make exceptions when it determines the needs of the discipline(s) preclude that reliance.

Deaccessioning decisions should consider the library’s participation in retention agreements or memberships, including the Orbis Cascade Alliance Last Copy1 Guidelines (Appendix 1), the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST), [1] and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) [2].

Multiple copies of materials are occasionally necessary to meet high demand. Once that demand is no longer evident, only one copy should be retained, unless a subject specialist or faculty member determines the need for duplication remains. Exceptions are also made where duplication is between non-circulating and circulating collections.

Some acquired materials meet current needs, but there is no intention or need to retain them indefinitely. Materials of this type include directories, manuals of style, and guides to grants, marketing, or colleges. We have also acquired materials in the past to meet the needs of now-defunct programs, and those materials are no longer relevant within the collection development goals of the library.

Gifts in kind or materials purchased with gift funds are university property. We will evaluate these materials in the same way as those purchased with general funds.

Guidelines for review

The University of Oregon Libraries will consider the following criteria, as applicable, when it makes decisions about deaccessioning or moving to storage tangible materials.

  • Stable electronic versions are either owned by the library or available in trusted, quality-controlled digital repositories and archives, such as JSTOR, Project Muse, or HathiTrust, after consulting with the appropriate faculty members. [3]
  • Duplicate items are held by the library and there has been little to no use of the multiple copies. Exceptions will be made if a subject specialist or faculty member determines a need for duplication or when duplication of materials is between non-circulating and circulating collections.
  • When the tangible items are held by partner libraries in shared print repository programs such as WEST, CRL, or HathiTrust.
  • Material is in the public domain and held in a reliable digital repository.
  • The material forms an incomplete set or brief run of a serial.
  • There is little or no recent documented use, particularly in areas no longer reflecting the research themes and academic programs of the institution.
  • Physical condition issues where the item does not have value as a physical artifact and conservation or repair is no longer possible.

Deselection of the following types of material will also be considered.

  • Items which are superseded by newer and more accurate editions.
  • Material which no longer supports the curriculum, research, and teaching of the institution.

Disposition of withdrawn material

Items deaccessioned from the UO Libraries are disposed of in the following manners. All disposition of withdrawn material must meet UO Business Affairs Office, Property Control policies.

  • Sale through Better World Books or other third-party vendors
  • Donation to approved non-profit organization
  • Recycling

The University of Oregon is a member of the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST). WEST is a distributed, retrospective print journal repository coordinated by the California Digital Library.

The University of Oregon is a member of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Since 1949, CRL has been collecting, investing in and coordinating access to research collections in a variety of formats.

See information about the Certification and Assessment of Digital Repositories.

Appendix 1

ORBIS Cascade Alliance Last Copy Guidelines

The Orbis Cascade Alliance seeks to offer and maintain a diverse, wide ranging collection to serve our users and support the Alliance Statement of Collection Development Best Practices which asks members to “Engage in shared stewardship of existing resources to preserve access for future scholarship”.

Member libraries are dedicated to sharing resources when appropriate to achieve economies of space and expand the range of materials available. In order to provide this wide range of materials, withdrawal decisions are made carefully and collaboratively to preserve unique items in the Summit collection.

In light of this preservation goal, the following guidelines are recommended to Orbis Cascade Alliance libraries:

If, in the professional judgment of library staff an item considered for withdrawal is consequential enough to add value to the Summit Collection and is in usable condition the item should be retained by the library or offered to other Alliance members. Items that do not meet this criteria do not need to be further considered or offered under these guidelines. When an item is identified as consequential, library staff should routinely consult Summit and/or Alma Network Zone to determine if the copy is the last one held in the consortium2, and if so, reasonable efforts should be made to preserve the copy.

Recommended Procedures:

  • Only materials that add value to Summit collection and are in usable condition need to be offered.
  • Libraries should use the Alliance’s Exchange List (; each member library should have a subscriber on the list.
  • Materials are offered on a first come, first serve basis.
  • The subject line of the message should read “Last Copy in Summit”.
  • The body of the message should include a date by which libraries should respond; if no responses are received by that date libraries should follow their deselection policies.
  • If possible, the list should be provided in an Excel spreadsheet, and include the following, as available: title, author, ISBN, year published and publisher. An Excel spreadsheet will allow for sorting and filtering by member libraries
  • If possible a message should cover offerings in a single discipline or be organized by discipline.
  • If an item is identified as a last copy, libraries are encouraged to put an internal note in the item record indicating “Last copy in Summit”. This may assist with future local deselection projects.

1 Copy refers to manifestation of a work that, given professional judgment, contain equivalent or near equivalent content.

2 Different bibliographic records might need to be consulted to determine if the item in question is truly a last copy. For example, if different printings have been cataloged on different bibliographic records, the withdrawal of one printing would not trigger the last copy policy.

Approved by the CDMC Steering Team Jan. 18, 2008; revised by SCT Feb. 15, 2017