Considering “Sameness” of Monographic Holdings in Shared Print Retention Decisions

Jennifer Hain Teper


In addition to the pressure of operating in a steady state of insufficient funding, academic libraries face incessant pressure to use space differently. As a result, libraries are aggressively withdrawing materials to relieve cramped shelves and reduce overall collection footprints. Selection for withdrawal may be based on various factors, but of concern is the withdrawal of materials for which copies are currently held in shared print repositories. Recent publications point to the need for thoughtful and strategic evaluation of shared print for quality and completeness, plus the evaluation of copies considered for withdrawal to ensure the perseverance of our print heritage. This study focuses on the comparison of forty-seven monographic titles cataloged as identical items that show broadly varying differences in editions, printings, condition, and preservation and repair. Survey data collected includes information about bibliographic accuracy, printing and binding variances, completeness, physical damage, chemical deterioration, provenance, and presence in the HathiTrust. The results show wide variability in the accuracy of cataloging records, historical use, physical condition of the materials, and the ability for those materials to be successfully digitized in the future. These results are illustrative of the strong potential for variation in “identical” bibliographic holdings among the broader academic library community.


preservation; shared print retention

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