This page is to provide information about our 2016-2018 collection evaluation project. This guide contains background information, links to other documents of interest, and report on the progress that we are making. 


To keep collections useful and relevant for students and faculty, librarians periodically determine if there are books we no longer need and if there are areas where we have gaps. This is part of a continual process to maintain the health of our collections.

We are currently evaluating our collections more intensely because we will be migrating to a new online library catalog (Alma) in the summer of 2017. We intend for this process to make our collections more relevant to users. Faculty in each department will be asked for their feedback before items are removed from collections relevant to their disciplines.

In Spring 2016 we created a plan and workflow to evaluate the collection. Subject librarians will evaluate titles in consultation with academic departments through 2016 and the first half of 2017. After departments are given the opportunity to review titles lists, library staff will process materials identified for deselection. The processing of materials is anticipated to go through 2018. 

Please see the FAQ for more information about the project and the Project Timeline for more details about what will happen when. 


  • FAQ
    • What is a "collections evaluation"?

      In order to keep collections useful and relevant for students and faculty, libraries periodically examine materials to determine if there are books we no longer need and if there are areas where we have gaps. This is part of a continual process to maintain the health of our collections.

    • How will I be notified about the title lists I can review?

      Your subject liaison librarian will be in contact with you. The title lists will be available on Google Drive to those logged in with their email address. 

    • My work is interdisciplinary. Will I be able to review titles that are outside what is traditionally considered my "discipline"?

      Yes. All title lists throughout the project will be available on Google Drive. You are welcome to look at all call number ranges and make suggestions in those documents. 

    • If this is continual, why am I just hearing about it now?

      Due to the disruptions of the recent building renovations, Ingram Library faculty and staff prioritized other areas for the past several years. The University System of Georgia is migrating to a new online library catalog (called Alma) in the summer of 2017. Ingram Library decided that as preparation for this technology shift, a thorough collections evaluation is timely. We also would like to create more space and seats for our students. While we'd love a building addition, we understand that there are many competing needs on UWG's campus right now. We anticipate being able to open up more space for other functions that align with user needs.

    • How is the evaluation being conducted?

      We are conducting the evaluation in several phases. Phase One is to look at items in our collection that have not been checked out since 1999 (more on that below). Next we will be looking at items that have had low usage since we acquired them. The final phase will be to see which areas of our collection need additional or different kinds of resources than we currently have. 

    • Can you tell me more about Phase One?

      Our current library catalog (called Voyager) came online in November 1999. Subject liaison librarians are getting reports of all items in a call number range that were owned by Ingram Library in November of 1999 but have not been checked out since then. Then we are checking that list against the University System catalog to make sure that we identify the items that are unique in the system. After we have a list of items that are held by other USG libraries but have not been checked out since November 1999, we are putting those spreadsheets in Google Drive and inviting faculty to review the lists to comment on items that should be kept. After the review period, we will pull titles that no longer serve our user community.

    • What about the items that have lower usage?

      After finishing Phase One (the non-circuating items), subject liaisons will look at materials in their call number areas that have circulated infrequently since the item was added to the collection. We are referring to this as Phase Two. Depending on the needs of different disciplines, librarians will consider the items based on their relevance to current scholarship and teaching needs of UWG. Once a preliminary list of potential deselections is made, this list will also be checked against the USG library system to make sure we keep items that are unique in the system. Then lists will be put on Google Drive and faculty will be invited to review the lists to comment on items that should be kept. After this review period, library staff will withdraw titles that no longer serve our students and faculty.

    • What do you mean by "see which areas of our collection need additional or different kinds of resources"?

      As we go through and review the collections, we might discover that there are areas of increasing use with few titles. This will be an indication that we should redirect resources to those areas. Many programs have moved online and we anticipate discovering that there are areas for which we are still buying print when perhaps we should be investing in more online resources. 

    • What happens if in the future someone wants a book that the library removed from its collection?

      We are only removing items that have another copy within the University System of Georgia. As with other items that we do not own, you will be able to use GIL-Express and Interlibrary loan. For more information, please see our guide to Borrowing Materials from Other Libraries

    • Where will the withdrawn books go?

      As of right now, the books will be recycled. The current understanding among USG libraries is that we are not allowed to donate the state property to any other organization. We are investigating all options in efforts to find a way to give a second life to some of the items and are hopeful that we will be successful early on in the deselection process.

    • Can Ingram Library digitize the books that are withdrawn?

      The short answer is no. The longer answer is more complex. Materials that are candidates for removal are not unique to UWG; odds are good that some other large (Google or other) book digitization project already has the content somewhere on a server. We also simply do not have the resources (equipment or money) to undergo a massive digitization project. If you are curious about how much a digitization project costs, you can see this library digitization cost calculator.

    • Whom can I contact for more information?

      For specifics about how the evaluation is being done for your discipline, you can contact your subject liaison. For other information about the project, you can contact Anne Barnhart, Head of Instructional Services.

    • What happens after this project is over?

      Throughout the evaluation we will also be identifying items that we want to retain but that ideally we would put in an off-site storage facility if we had one. At the conclusion of the project, we will look at the number of titles that are identified as lower-use but important and see if it makes sense for Ingram Library to create a separate storage facility. We will also incorporate a system of continual assessment and evaluation into our regular collections maintenance workflow so that our collection remains the best and most useful it can be for our students and faculty.

  • Project Timeline
    Tentative Project Timeline:
    Summer 2016
    • Subject librarians receive lists of titles that have not circulated (been checked out) since 1999
    • Librarians review these lists
    • Lists of candidate for deselection made available to faculty for review
    • Faculty begin review of titles identified for potential deselection (conducted by academic discipline)
    Fall 2016 (deadlines TBD)
    • Faculty continue to review the non-circulating title lists
    • Library staff begin withdrawing titles
    • Librarians continue to review lists of titles
    Spring 2017 (deadlines TBD)
    • Librarians begin evaluating low-use items and making recommendations for deselection
    • Faculty continue to review titles identified for potential deselection
    • Library staff continue withdrawing titles
    May 1, 2017 
    • UWG (and USG) migrates to a new online catalog, Alma
    Summer 2017- Fall 2018 (deadlines TBD)
    • Faculty continue review of titles identified for potential deselection
    • Library staff continue withdrawing titles
    • Librarians continue evaluating low-use items and making recommendations for deselection
  • Title Lists
    Links to the Title Lists

    As we create the lists in Google Drive, we'll link to them here with a brief explanation of what is in each call number range.

    Title Lists: History (D, E, F)
  • Guidelines
    Evaluation Guidelines

    In order to maintain the health and increase the usability of our collection, we will regularly evaluate our collection to identify materials to be withdrawn, items that need to be replaced, and areas where we have gaps in our collection.

    On-Going Evaluation

    1. As new editions are added to the collection, librarians will consider if older editions should be retained or removed.

    2. When circulation staff notice materials in poor physical condition, librarians will recommend if the item should be repaired, replaced, or withdrawn.

    3. When items are missing or lost, librarians will recommend if the item should be replaced.

    4. Collection maintenance considers the delivery of departmental curriculum (online, face-to-face, combination) and thus if students would be best served by electronic content, printed content, or a mix of both.

    5. Collections are responsive to the areas of focus in academic departments. In some cases, library materials may be retained or removed in accordance to historic, current, or anticipated topics of departmental teaching and research.

    6. Library resource-related accreditation requirements for specific disciplines are considered in collections evaluations.

    7. Different subject areas will have different guidelines for determining the relevance and currency of appropriate resources. A common acronym for librarians to use as a general guideline for evaluation is MUSTIE:

    • M = Misleading. Does the title in question have information that has since been proven factually incorrect?
    • U = Ugly. Is the item in poor physical condition?
    • S = Superseded. Has the item been superseded by a newer edition?
    • T = Trivial. Is the information appropriate at the appropriate level for our user community?
    •  I = Irrelevant. Is the information still relevant to the research and teaching interests of our community?
    • E = Extant. Is the title readily available from other institutions within the system or is it unique to UWG?
    Systematic Evaluation Projects

    At times the library will undergo a more extensive evaluation project often motivated by external pressures or opportunities. These instances will typically require more attention by subject specialists and technical services. Due to the nature of these projects, faculty input will be solicited. In addition to the above guidelines librarians will also focus on:

    1. Formats of an item that can be withdrawn. Dying technologies might be replaced with newer technologies (VHS replaced with DVD; print versions of online journals can be removed).

    2. Multiple copies of a title that can be withdrawn. When this happens, the copy in the best physical condition should be kept. If possible, the item identified as Copy 1 is the preferred one to keep. When a different copy is in better physical condition, after the superfluous copies are withdrawn, the remaining copy should be renamed "Copy 1" to prevent confusion in future evaluation projects.

    3. Circulation statistics as well as research value will be considered on a discipline-by-discipline basis.

    4. Consultation with Special Collections for the possible relocation of items from the circulating collection to Special Collections.

    5. Consideration of the individual item in its context. For example, numbered items that are part of a set might be better evaluated as a set and not as single titles.

    6. Communication with faculty so that the best decisions can be made about our collection. 

  • Additional Information
    Readings and Further Information

    Collection evaluation and deselection (often called "weeding" by librarians) are discussed in professional literature. If you are interested in learning more, here are some links for further readings about the process.

    American Library Association's Weeding Library Collections: A Selected Annotated Bibliography for Library Collection Evaluation