Withdrawing Material from the Biomedical Libraries

The collections of the Biomedical Libraries serve the current biomedical research, curriculum, and clinical needs of Dartmouth College, Dartmouth Medical School, The Dartmouth Institute, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. See the Collection Development Policies for more information.

Guidelines for Identifying Material for Withdrawal

The libraries have limited space; the withdrawal of older, less-used, and superseded books is needed to make room for new acquisitions.

Candidates for withdrawal include:

  • Clinical material more than 10 years old and non-clinical material more than 15 years old.
  • Examination preparation material more than 10 years old.
  • Superseded or out-of-date material.
  • Material with little or no circulation in the last 15 years.
  • Material in poor physical condition.
  • Duplicates.

Other Considerations:

  • Biographies and books with a historical perspective are kept in the collection longer, as are books by noted authors and seminal works in biomedical subjects.
  • Books with Dartmouth connections are rarely withdrawn.
  • Older editions are regularly withdrawn as new editions are added to the collection. For a few classic textbooks with long histories and multiple editions, representative editions are kept for historical perspective.
  • The Rauner Special Collections Library assessed Dana's material in 2005 and 2006. The most significant and rare materials were transferred to Rauner so that they might receive appropriate care and curation.
  • When a de-accessioning decision is unclear, the following steps are taken:
    • The Dartmouth Library Catalog is checked to see if the author is important to Dartmouth's collections or history and to see if other editions or copies are held.
    • WorldCat is checked to see how widely the book is held by other libraries, particularly ones in the region and/or in the Borrow Direct consortium. Dartmouth will not discard unique items. (Some items, including reprints of journal articles, may be uniquely entered in WorldCat, but are not, in fact, unique and so may be discarded.)
    • Web of Science is checked to see if the work is highly cited in the scientific literature, particularly recently.


Disposition of Withdrawn Material

Most material withdrawn from the Biomedical Libraries is sent to Better World Books, which sells used books to libraries, dealers, and individuals. A portion of the proceeds returns to the Biomedical Libraries and is used to purchase new books; another portion goes to a foundation that promotes literacy. (Withdrawn copies of newer clinical books are first offered to nearby hospital libraries serviced by contracts with the Biomedical Libraries.) Material that does not meet Better World Books’ guidelines for acceptance is recycled at Dartmouth.

Questions?  Contact us!