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Collections Updates & Feedback: Health Sciences Library

Updates and request for feedback on potential cancellations of Health Sciences Library resources

Scope of the Health Sciences Library Collection

As information for health research and healthcare changes rapidly and becomes dangerous if out of date, the emphasis will be to purchase the most current resources. As such, the primary emphasis will be resources that are no more than 5 years old or resources that remain current by providing updates at a regular interval. However, there will be exceptions as certain health topics have less current research.

Because information for health research and healthcare is being researched and generated world-wide, there is no geographical limit to the resources. Instead the emphasis is on currency, authority, and relevancy.

Although much of the information for health research and healthcare is in multiple languages, the primary audience of the Health Sciences Library are English-speaking. As such, the resources selected to be purchased will primarily be in English.

Due the nature of education at the UW, the spread out nature of the clinicians and researchers of UW Medicine and the schools with the limited space available at the Health Sciences Library building, the primary focus will be to purchase electronic formats only. Print and physical materials will only be purchased as a second choice.

The library will follow these guidelines for selecting resources for the collection:

  • Lasting value of the content, e.g., quality of scholarship;
  • Uniqueness of content or treatment;
  • Appropriateness of the level of treatment (depth, breadth, etc.);
  • Currency of information and/or frequency of updating;
  • Quality of physical product;
  • Accessibility of information (how is it organized and retrieved);
  • Strength of present holdings in subject areas or similar subject areas;
  • Cost;
  • Reputation or authoritativeness of author, reliability of publisher, compiler or producer, etc.;
  • Lists from publishers; other libraries’ holdings, core materials, etc.;
  • Publisher catalogs – check current announcements for relevant titles in catalogs of publishers;
  • Core lists – many of these come out biennially, and all books on acknowledged core lists should be considered; and 
  • Suitability of format to content - in most cases, electronic access is the preferred format and will be evaluated on:
    • greater functionality (such as full-text searching)
    • remote access
    • resource sharing
    • ease of archiving, replacing, preserving
    • quality of interface (i.e., ease of use for library users and staff)
    • quality of retrieval/search engine
    • training implications
    • potential use (i.e., size of user community and frequency of use)
    • reliability of vendor and availability of vendor support
    • availability of documentation
    • licensing considerations
    • number of users allowed to access the resource

The Library reviews its collection on a regular basis to determine usefulness and/or the possible relocation or disposal of items. This review would include cancellation of subscriptions or standing orders, weeding, moving to storage, etc. Each item will be considered individually and as a part of the total collection. Collection review will happen on a rotating schedule. Certain areas of the collection will need to be reviewed more often than others. Review of the collection is the responsibility of the library; however, faculty may be consulted for their expertise.

The following criteria will be considered when reviewing:

  • Subject matter
  • Historical value and significance.
  • Special features (e.g. autographed copies or dedication copies)
  • Language
  • Physical condition
  • Outdated audio-visual formats
  • Superseded works
  • Missing from the shelves
  • Curriculum needs
  • Usage statistics
  • Other special considerations

Learn more about deaccessioning at the UW Libraries.

The library will not purchase popular or juvenile health information except for specifically identified print resources for the Reading Area. Encyclopedias, test preparation books, loose leaf books, and spiral bound books will not be considered for purchase.