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Collections Curation Project, UCD Library: Introduction

The Collections Curation Project is a strategy for improvement of print book collections through comprehensive collection management techniques, consistent with international best practice in university research libraries.

What's happening?

Print book collections curation and improvement

Academic Library collections are organic, constantly growing and changing and need to be regularly reviewed and curated to maintain quality, to align with existing and emerging research and teaching requirements and to preserve important and unique materials for future consultation and research.

UCD Library is implementing a strategy for improvement of print book collections through comprehensive collection management techniques, consistent with international best practice in university research libraries.

As part of this strategy, we will be retaining and preserving titles of importance to UCD and of national importance. We will be removing outdated and badly damaged books and purchasing new books to fill identified gaps in the collections. To best accomplish this, we will use evidence-based decision-making and follow international best practice in the development of selection, retention and withdrawal criteria for each area of the Library. These criteria will be tailored for each School, after a consultation period with the School.

Why is this happening?

Removing and replacing books is a fundamental part of collection maintenance and is a key task when curating academic library collections. Libraries need to review their collections to ensure the following:

  • Alignment with current teaching and research: Teaching and research do not stand still and neither do the resources that support them. The removal of out-of-date and badly damaged books from the collection is critical to maintain a healthy, vibrant, and fresh collection that aligns with current teaching and research. The removal of books will be complemented with the acquisition of new material to support ongoing teaching and research needs; in addition, important titles will continue to be selected for purchase by librarians as they are published. This will improve and modernise the collection for UCD students and researchers. In addition, unique and distinct materials and seminal works will be retained and preserved for future use.

  • Increased user satisfaction: Removing and replacing deprecated and damaged books increases browsability and can significantly improve the study environment for students.

  • More user-focused services: Cleaner, less packed shelves require less time for library staff to maintain, time that can be spent on more valuable activities and services of more immediate benefit to users.

  • Space: A reduction in the extent of the deprecated stock and the judicious use of local remote storage will provide additional space for the University’s growing student population.

How is is happening?

Evidence-based decision making

UCD Library will use a wide range of resources to analyse the collections, including the GreenGlass collection analysis tool developed by Sustainable Collection Services (SCS). Greenglass provides item and circulation data for each title in the collection and identifies overlaps with peer libraries in Ireland and the UK. Since its launch in 2013, Greenglass has been used by over 200 academic libraries worldwide to make informed collection management decisions.

School profiles

We will develop School profiles to guide the development of our selection, retention and withdrawal criteria before removing any materials from the shelves. Consultation in advance with each School can refine these criteria and identify additional needs and areas of interest or complexity. Not all Schools will be approached immediately, and we will work with five schools at one time. The selected Schools will be contacted by their Liaison Librarian before the process starts.