Shared print programs develop criteria for which titles their member libraries will be asked to retain on behalf of the program. Most commonly, this criteria is developed following a careful analysis of the participating libraries’ print collections. This section of the toolkit will describe some of the common criteria monograph shared print programs have used and provide links to example retention models.
While member needs and the program’s retention philosophy will impact their retention choices, there are 4 common retention objectives:
At least one copy of every in-scope title is retained in the group as a safety-net to proactively ensure that the last copy of a title is not withdrawn from the group.
Retain all in-scope titles uniquely held within the group to ensure that unique content is not inadvertently lost from the collective collection.
Retain all titles scarcely-held regionally or nationally to take into account the wider library collection universe and ensure this content is protected for future use.
Retain more copies of frequently used material to ensure sufficient copies are available to satisfy likely future demand. To account for changes in usage trends some programs include a date of last usage in their criteria.
Note, programs differ greatly in how they define what is scarcely held and frequently used (see below for example retention criteria).
Some programs have chosen to include these other retention criteria:
Retaining extra copies of older materials, which are more likely to be in poor condition. This retention rule was used first in the Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) Cohort 2 group and was a direct result of the EAST validation study showing that older materials are much more likely to be in poor condition.
Retaining extra copies of “Local interest titles”, on subjects related to state or regional history or local literary works. The Maine Shared Collections Cooperative (MSCC) in their Phase 1 retention criteria included a rule to keep more copies of their local interest titles.
Only retaining legacy titles, those published and/or added to library’s collections prior to a specific year. This criterion is used because participating libraries don’t feel comfortable making retention decisions on titles that most other libraries are yet to acquire and for which there is insufficient circulation history. The ConnectNY, MSCC, EAST, and Tri-University Group of Libraries (TUG), and SCLEC programs have all used publication cutoff dates to exclude newer titles from their retention scopes.
Excluding from retention consideration titles considered “ephemeral” in nature, material such as textbook, guides, manuals, and some fiction which gets quickly dated and are therefore not appropriate for long-term retention. MSCC produced a list of publishers and keywords to remove the works of certain publishers of textbooks, guides and reference material from retention consideration. This list has since been adopted and updated by EAST.
Retaining any edition of the title to account for potential unique edition features. Programs like EAST, MSCC, and USMAI have all decided to retain any editions of a title that meets their retention criteria. In the case of classic fiction this can result in multiple commitments to the same title manifestation.
Retention models can be modified over time as a shared print program adds new members. For instance EAST has worked with newer members to "top up" titles which should, according to the original retention model, have more copies retained than is currently the case. EAST then asks the new members to "top up" these under-retained titles. Also, in response to feedback from its newer public library members MSCC adapted their retention rules to raise the circulation threshold for when titles are retained.
Not all programs have a formal set of retention criteria. For instance in the ReCAP program each partner chooses what content to submit to the program and have stored at their storage facilities, but material added to the shared collection must be available to borrow for all ReCAP partners, be easily discoverable to other partners and their patrons, and the partners must be willing to retain the material for as long as ReCAP exists. But there are no limits to formats or subjects. Alternatively, in Phase 1 of the HathiTrust Shared Print Program participating libraries were provided with a list of volumes that correspond to titles in the HathiTrust digital library and asked to make voluntary commitment on titles they would retain on behalf of the program.