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Manuscript Deaccession Policy


Deaccessioning is the process by which libraries release materials from their collections that have been selected and accessioned. Materials to be deaccessioned will come from recently accepted collections as part of the normal selection process or from previously accessioned collections where selection may not have been performed previously.

Evaluation of Materials:

While the Special Collections may on occasion deaccession published materials because they duplicate holdings already in the Library, no materials with significant research or financial value will be deaccessioned without careful research and consideration. In the case where materials with significant research or financial value are to be deaccessioned an appraisal report must be filled out and must be reviewed by the College Archivist or the manager responsible for collections processing. The report will be based on the criteria laid out in the Manuscript Selection Policy and should seek to answer the following questions:

  1. Does the material fall within the scope of current collecting policies?
  2. Is the material a duplicate or does it duplicate information already held here or elsewhere in another format?
  3. Has the material deteriorated beyond real usefulness?
  4. Are there any externally imposed restrictions such as donor agreements or other legal issues that apply to this material?
  5. How would deaccessioning the material affect public access to information?
  6. Would the material be more useful to the scholarly community if located at another institution?

Disposition of Materials:

Materials to be deaccessioned may be returned to the donor, transferred to other scholarly institutions, offered for public sale or destroyed. Any disposition of materials with significant research or financial value will be governed by the following considerations:

  1. Materials must be free of all legal impediments. No such materials will be deaccessioned when this action is contrary to any written agreement between the College and the donor.
  2. Reasonable attempts will be made to contact the donor when materials are considered for deaccession.
  3. Reasonable attempts will be made to determine if other College collecting units have an interest in the materials (other parts of the Dartmouth College Library or the Hood Museum).
  4. No private sale or gifts of materials will be made to College staff, faculty, administrators or board members or their immediate families.
  5. Any proceeds from the sale of materials will be used solely to further the preservation and development of collections in the Libray.
  6. The method of disposition will be decided by Special Collections staff in consultation with the donor and with the appropriate administrative units of the College including Library administration or other appropriate College authority.