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Academic staff

Information about services available to academic staff at Manchester Metropolitan University Library

Withdrawing out-dated or unused material

Withdrawing out-dated or unused material is an essential aspect of maintaining a lively and relevant collection for our academic staff and students and to make the most effective use of library space by ensuring an appropriate balance between library materials and study spaces.

Criteria for retention/withdrawal of printed books

Decisions are made principally on usage of material, with items normally being withdrawn if not borrowed in the last 5 years. Exceptions will be as follows:

  • By its nature, art & design stock (i.e. material to support School of Art subjects) does not date and retains its historic relevance. Furthermore, loan statistics are not always a reliable indicator of use as art & design books are often used within the Library only. Stock withdrawal in this subject is therefore done by subject librarians, on a book-by-book basis, along with a knowledge of the rest of the collection and what is currently being taught and researched. 
  • A small number of fast moving and mainly textbook based subjects have shorter usage cut-off dates, eg for business, law and computing, the cut-off date is 3 years for most items; for engineering material it is 4 years.
  • A small number of subjects, principally English and foreign literature and history have longer cut-off dates and are selected for withdrawal if not borrowed within 10 years.
  • Where a later edition supersedes an earlier one, we retain as a maximum only the current and pre-current edition. Earlier editions are given a sticker saying "More recent edition available". In each case all editions of the same work have the same classmark.

Withdrawal of outdated or unused ebooks

  • Where a later edition supersedes an earlier one, we retain as a maximum only the current and pre-current edition.
  • Subject librarians are responsible for the stock editing of ebooks. Approaches will vary depending on the subject areas but a similar approach is taken as to current practices with print books. 

Consultation/liaison in relation to withdrawal of books

Library staff consult academic staff in humanities and art and design subject areas but do not normally consult in areas which are largely textbook based. Justification will be requested from academic staff in respect of requests for retaining material, to ensure there is sufficient space for acquiring new titles and to maintain the right balance between study spaces and library materials.

In addition older or out-dated stock that has been borrowed more recently is reviewed in consultation with academic staff, with the aim of replacing older material with newer, more relevant books where possible.

Criteria for retention/withdrawal of print journals

In all areas except art and design (where illustration/colour is important and the electronic equivalents lack the same quality), back runs of journals are normally withdrawn where electronic archival access is guaranteed.

Journals that have ceased publication or are no longer taken by the Library ('dead runs') and have minimal usage are not retained, on the basis that inter library loans provide a fast and inexpensive source to fulfil occasional need.

Except in Art and Design and some areas within Humanities, Languages and Social Science, holdings of printed journal back runs are not normally maintained for more than 15 years. General recommendations for periods longer or shorter than the 15 year norm are listed in the table below. However, relevant Library Service Managers make proposals for withdrawal of print holdings on a title by title basis, and therefore for retention of longer or shorter runs based on usage.

Subject Holdings
Art & Design No discard of back runs
Business & Management trade journals 5 years
Computing  5 years
Consumer Protection/Consumer Law/Trading Standards 10 years
Engineering 10 years
Education   25 years
Event management 2 years
Fashion/clothing business 10 years
 Humanities 25 years
Information & Communications  10 years
Psychology  25 years
Science  10 years
 Social Sciences & Social Care 25 years

Consultation/liaison in relation to retention/withdrawal of print journals

There is normally no consultation where electronic access is the norm and electronic archival access is guaranteed. Where appropriate, however, consultation over dead runs will be initiated.

Physical disposal of withdrawn items

The Library undertakes to dispose of material in the most appropriate way:

  • Material of potential use elsewhere is offered to other libraries, including within NoWAL (North West Academic Libraries), the NHS and the British Library.
  • Other material is collected by a company who sells them on behalf of the library. A proportion of the income from the sales comes back to the library and some goes to an educational charity.
  • Any valuable material may be offered for sale (but note that we are likely to have very little of this type of material for disposal, and that the income from such a source is unlikely to warrant staff time)
  • Material which cannot be sold or gifted in any of the above ways is disposed of via the University’s waste management contractor.


May 2016