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WVUL eResource Collections Evaluation Toolkit

Tips on Creating Selection/Retention Criteria

Every library will develop their own selection and retention criteria based on its requirements and values.  The criteria will guide the selectors in determining the titles that must be kept.  Another key role for the retention criteria is for use in communicating decisions to the faculty.  A few tips on creating the retention criteria include:

  1. Make the criteria as objective as possible.  The more objective it is, the easier it will be to explain to faculty why the Libraries decided to drop certain titles and keep others.  Usage statistics is one good objective metric.  
  2. Overlap with other packages, databases or open access repositories.  Titles that are available to the university through other packages are likely to be good candidates for elimination.  Keep in mind that faculty may need to be alerted to new methods for accessing journals they routinely read and cite.
  3. Alternative access options such as ILL or article procurement services. This evaluation will require an evaluation of ILL partnerships.  Investigate alternatives to acquiring articles in journals to which the Libraries do not subscribe. Estimate costs and create instructions/best practices for acquiring these articles.
  4. Think carefully about the Library’s position on providing resources “just in case” vs. “just in time”.  The urge to retain titles that have low usage and/or are duplicated in other packages must be objectively balanced based on the library’s budgetary goals and other justifiable service requirements.
  5. The retention criteria could reflect curriculum and research strengths of the University.
  6. Avoid making exceptions to the selection/retention criteria as much as possible.  It does not do any good to a selection/retention criteria if it is not followed, but exceptions will pop up.  Develop some guidance for selectors in this area to provide some limitations on exceptions. Document exceptions in internal communication tools (see communication section) so all are aware of them.