Collection management policy: disposal, retention and transfer

Supporting Document to Collection Management Policy Statement

1. Background

The collection management policy, of which this is a part, assumes that subject collection policies will determine the selection of library material, the location of material, and also give guidance when collections are weeded. In all cases, the disposal, retention and transfer of material in the Bodleian Libraries is undertaken in accordance with agreed national or local collaborative collection management policies. The Collection Deployment Group supports significant disposal and transfer projects together with formulation of policy and procedures.

This policy relates only to material that has been accessioned. Accessioned in this context refers to the intellectual decision that an item should be added to the collection. Normally this will coincide with the stamping of an item.

2. Statement of retention

2.1. Legal deposit intake: The Bodleian Libraries have an obligation to retain, in perpetuity, items received as part of the legal deposit intake. The legal deposit libraries co-operate to ensure comprehensive coverage of legal deposit materials in the UK and Ireland, and their selection and de-accessioning policies reflect this.

All print material received by legal deposit is stamped with a ‘C’ for copyright and is denoted by a ‘7’ at the beginning of the barcode. In certain cases exact duplicates of legal deposit material may be disposed of or transferred to other reading rooms or stores within the Bodleian Libraries.

Legal deposit material delivered electronically will be stored by the British Library, National Library of Scotland and National Library of Wales on behalf of the Bodleian Libraries.

2.2. Material acquired through purchase, donation and exchange. The Bodleian Libraries aim to retain one copy of every acquired item. It is anticipated that any decisions made regarding the retention of non-legal deposit material will be informed by the relevant collection management policies and in consultation with academic colleagues as appropriate.

2.3 Material transferred to the Book Storage Facility. In support of 2.2 above, the Book Storage Facility is intended for the long term retention of unique copies of materials acquired and, for reasons of space management and financial efficiency, the Bodleian Libraries will ensure that material transferred to the facility does not normally duplicate material already stored there by other Bodleian Libraries. Additional copies of material may be stored on an exceptional and normally short-term basis by agreement with the Collection Management Strategy Group. Applications for exception in principle including indication of numbers involved will be made to and assessed by the Collection Deployment Group; significant exceptions will be referred to the Collection Management Strategy Group by the Chair of CDG.

2.4 Electronic versions of printed items acquired by purchase. The Bodleian Libraries will normally retain a print archive of material where the duplicate exists in electronic form, taking into consideration the subject area covered and whether the licence to the electronic material includes perpetual access. The Bodleian Libraries are a member of the UK Research Reserve collaborative project, which ‘allows higher education libraries to de-duplicate their journal holdings of a title if two copies are held by other UKRR members, ensuring continued access to low-use journals, whilst allowing libraries to release space to meet the changing needs of their users’ (please see for more details).

3. Statement of disposal

As above, the Bodleian Libraries will normally retain one copy of every accessioned item.

3.1 Where an item is so damaged as to be unusable, it may be disposed of but should be replaced where possible.

3.2 Legal deposit intake. Material received as part of the legal deposit intake cannot be disposed of, except those categories which the Bodleian Libraries does not collect and which have been agreed with the other legal deposit libraries to ensure comprehensive coverage. These include superseded interfiled loose-leaf material. All legal deposit items approved for disposal are passed to Legal Deposit Operations where they are de-accessioned and disposed of securely. Statistics are held of these disposals.

Exact duplicates of legal deposit items may be de-accessioned and destroyed or passed on to one of the other legal deposit libraries, or to another reading room or store within the Bodleian Libraries.

3.3 Material acquired through purchase, donation and exchange. The Bodleian Libraries will not dispose of unique copies of material acquired through purchase, donation and exchange.

3.4 Additional copies of material can be disposed of in consultation with academic staff as appropriate and by agreement with the Collection Management Strategy Group.

4. Statement of location or transfer

Policy in this area is based on two types of location and transfer and refers only to general, not special, collections material:

  • Permanent relocation of material
  • Delivery of items from the Book Storage Facility to reading rooms

The Bodleian Libraries’ aim is to locate material at the most appropriate location and, therefore, the nature of an item’s transfer – whether it should be permanent or temporary – will be decided according to the needs of the collections and the readers.

4.1 Permanent location

The permanent location of legal deposit material presupposes that the reading room is suitable physically, meeting the appropriate standards of collection care. Any permanent transfer of material will be dictated by the nature of the collection and must be undertaken in accordance with the collection development and management policy specific to the subject covered. The catalogue (SOLO) must be altered to reflect the new location. For material relocated from the Book Storage Facility to a reading room, the ‘Transfers Manual’ (link available to Libraries' staff only) must be followed to ensure that the warehouse management system and the catalogue reflect the new location.

4.2 Delivery of items from the Book Storage Facility to reading rooms

The Bodleian Libraries aim to make materials which are currently housed in the Book Storage Facility, excluding Special Collections items, available by request to all its reading rooms.

Special Collections items will be delivered to the Weston Library or any location permitted by the Collection Management Policy: Special Collections.

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