Prepared by the OPAL Reference Committee
Approved by the Directors Council, 26 September 2003
Revised by User Services on March 30, 2012
Approved by the Directors Council June 7, 2012
OPAL (Ohio Private Academic Libraries) is a consortium of libraries in independent institutions of higher education in the State of Ohio. Its mission is to enable cooperation among, enrich the collections in, and enhance the support of its member libraries. This mission is achieved through maintenance of an integrated library system of its members, sharing resources among those libraries, links to additional resources within and beyond those libraries, and other related activities (OPAL By-Laws).
The OPAL weeding guidelines address the need for member libraries to consider the integrity and uniqueness of the OPAL collection as a whole when making decisions about deselection. Although our consortium lacks the remote storage available to the large research libraries, we realize that our collections provide unique items to all of the schools. The OhioLINK Snapshot 2002 states that 57% of the items in the OhioLINK central catalog were held at only one library. In addition, 72% of the bibliographic records in the OPAL catalog were unique as of May 2003. While a particular item may no longer fit the collection needs of a particular library, it may be important to the entire OhioLINK collection. Libraries should, of course, continue to use local collection policies for general weeding procedures which must balance the need for timely and current information within limited spaces to meet the needs of each school's own curriculum and researchers We suggest these OPAL Weeding Guidelines be seriously considered when developing and revising local policies and procedures. These guidelines are designed to provide minimal requirements for retention. Some libraries may choose to be more liberal with their policies if space is available.
The process of discarding or weeding is an integral part of ongoing collection management. In addition to considering factors such as condition of the materials, the currency of the information, the authority of the author and publisher, the scope, the format and the availability in electronic or digital form, these OPAL Weeding Guidelines should allow our collections to be richer and easier to use. Before items are discarded, each library should check the availability of the items in the OPAL & the OhioLINK catalogs.
If the copy under consideration is the last copy in OPAL:
Most OPAL libraries may not be able to support obsolete formats, such as filmstrips, or outdated software. Before discarding, librarians should first list these items with the OPAL Exchange and the OhioLINK Discards mailing lists. If the items go unclaimed, efforts should be made to identify and contact an archives, special collection, or museum interested in such items. Individual libraries might consider reformatting the item, taking into account copyright restrictions.
Following are some suggestions for a last copy situation:
These guidelines propose that consortium considerations become apart of each of the OPAL libraries' policies.
All last copies that are withdrawn from an OPAL library's collection should be offered first to the OPAL Exchange mailing list; if it is a last copy within OhioLINK, it needs to be offered to the OhioLINK Discard mailing list. Any librarian who participates in weeding is strongly urged to subscribe to these lists. The OPALRef mailing list is suggested as a source for consultation and advice when individuals are considering the usefulness of older resources.