Pruning: Lessons The Literature Did Not Teach Me

Presenter: Oliver Schulz, Colorado Christian University

Session: Friday, October 4th at 8 a.m.

Room: Monument

Summary Overview of Presentation

  • Background of Colorado Christian University
  • Definitions (“weed” vs. “prune”)
  • What This Presentation Will Not Discuss
  • What This Presentation Will Discuss
  • Q&A

Background of
Colorado Christian University

  • Student Body
    • FTE: 3,473 (September 2019)
    • College of Undergraduate Studies (on-campus):
      1,393 undergraduate students
    • College of Adults and Graduate Studies (almost entirely online):
      5,690 undergraduate
      1,338 graduate students

Statistics retrieved from https://www.ccu.edu/about/factsandstats/ (9/9/2019)

Background of
Colorado Christian University

  • Student Body
  • CCU Library Faculty & Staff

CCU Faculty & Staff

Gayle Gunderson
Dean of the Library

Shane Ratzell

Information Services

Librarian

Oliver Schulz

Technical

Services

Librarian

Briana Martin

Research &

Instruction Librarian

Michael Aman

Library Services Assistant

Brian Wright

Reference

and Web Coordinator

Background of
Colorado Christian University

  • Student Body
  • CCU Library Faculty & Staff
  • Collection Statistics (August 2019)
    • 42,800 physical volumes
    • 537,400 electronic volumes
    • 10,200 audio books (primarily online)
    • 103,400 audio recordings (primarily online)
    • 53,300 video recordings (primarily online)

Definitions: Pruning, Weeding, etc.:
Library Lingo

  • Pruning (also called “weeding,” “deselecting,” “retiring,” or “deaccessioning”) is the removal of resources from a collection of the library to be moved
    • into a less prominent collection (e.g. Reference to Main),
    • or a less prominent location (e.g. off-campus storage),
    • or to be sold, gifted, recycled, or exchanged for another resource or credit.

Definitions: Pruning, Weeding, etc.:
Oxford English Dictionary

  • To Weed (v)
    • “To remove or clear weeds from land, a crop, etc.; to pull up or otherwise remove weeds.”
  • Weed  (n)
    • “Any herbaceous plant not valued for its usefulness or beauty, or regarded as a nuisance in the place where it is growing, esp. when hindering the growth of crops or other cultivated plants.”

Definitions: Pruning, Weeding, etc.:
Oxford English Dictionary

  • To Prune  (v)
    • “To cut back, trim, or reduce (anything); to remove something from (a person or thing); esp. to remove (something superfluous or undesirable); to rid of unnecessary or unwanted elements.”
    • “To cut branches or twigs from (a vine, tree, shrub, etc.), in order to regulate growth and promote flowering or fruit production.”

What The Presentation Won’t Discuss:
Overview

  • Reasons Why Not To Prune
  • Reasons Why To Prune
  • CCU’s Reasons To Prune
  • CCU’s Evaluation Criteria
  • Project Planning

What The Presentation Won’t Discuss:
Avoid Pruning At All Cost

  • Fear
  • Librarian’s “Nature”
  • Library collection’s “Nature”
  • Pride
    • 11,355 books from a collection of 50,262 of more than 700,000 = 1.52%
  • Time
    • “You don’t have time to  be sure students have physical and intellectual access to quality materials? That’s the heart of your job!” Baumbach & Miller, 2006, p. 7

What The Presentation Won’t Discuss:
Prune At All Cost!

  • Pruning Produces Income
  • Pruning Increases Space
    • Moving off-campus? Installing compact shelving? Automated retrieval system? Build larger library? Prune collection?
  • Pruning Improves the Quality of the Collection
  • Pruning Increases Circulation
  • Pruning Improves Image of Library among Patronage
  • Pruning Lowers Costs

What The Presentation Won’t Discuss:
CCU’s Reasons to Prune

  • “Chance” Encounters
  • Stronger Emphasis on Electronic Collection
  • Future of Library Building (Cost of NOT Pruning)

What The Presentation Won’t Discuss:
Evaluation Criteria

  • Criteria for Pruning
    • MUSTIE:
      • Misleading – factually inaccurate
      • Ugly – worn beyond mending or rebinding
      • Superseded – by a new edition or by a much better book on the subject
      • Trivial – of no discernible literary or scientific merit
      • Irrelevant – to the needs and interests of the library community
      • Elsewhere – the material is easily obtained from another library

What The Presentation Won’t Discuss:
Pruned Examples

What The Presentation Won’t Discuss:
Pruned Examples

Warning:

Any books can be justified! “What if somebody wants to study the history of …”

What The Presentation Won’t Discuss:
Criteria for Retention/Replacement

  • Title supports academic program(s).
  • Title satisfies popular demand.
  • Title is authored, endorsed, or recommended by current or past faculty member.
  • Title is part of series or set the library is collecting.

What This Presentation Will Discuss:

Lessons The Literature
Did Not Teach Me

Lessons:
Summary

  • Project Preparation Lessons
  • Evaluation Criteria Lessons
  • Workflow Lessons
  • Sierra Lessons
  • Pika Lessons
  • Communication Lessons
  • Post-Project Lessons/Future Plans
  • Fool’s Lessons

Preparation Lessons:

  • Ask For “Treasures”
  • Statistics
    • Gather pre-pruning statistics before you start the project.
    • Pull a lot of statistics and then repeat the process at the end of the project.
  • JSON Syntax
    • Save your JSONs so that you can re-use identical pre- and post-pruning.
  • Make Review Part of Project
    • Review & evaluation does not happen naturally or automatically!
    • Start project review immediately.

Evaluation Criteria Lessons:

  • Series & Sets
    • “Time Life Books” or “Barnes & Nobel” series were pruned.
    • Volumes in multi-volume set?
    • Volumes in multi-volume series?
  • Keywords
    • Titles with “modern,” “today,” “new,” “contemporary,” “emergent,” “current”
      • Arbeeny, P. & Chittenden, L. (2014). An ugly weed: Innovative deselection to address a shelf space crisis. Journal of Library Innovation, 5(1), 78-90.

Workflow Lessons:
Summary

  • I provided the title Pull List to the student workers.
  • Students pulled the books and shelved them in my office on bookshelves & carts.
  • I evaluated and sorted the evaluated books into categories.
  • I placed books on carts to be re-shelved or removed.
  • I withdrew evaluated books from Sierra and OCLC.
  • Students re-shelve or discard the books.
  • I kept the completed Pull List sheets.

Workflow Lessons:

  • Pilot Project
    • Conducted Pilot
    • But did not take the time to learn lessons from it
  • Delays
    • Planned on pruning 300 books/day; actual was only 150 books/day
  • Sorting Evaluated Books
    • Methodically placing on desk

Workflow Lessons:

  • Pilot Project
  • Delays
  • Sorting Evaluated Books
  • Check Status, Then Withdraw
    • Before you withdraw titles from Sierra or OCLC, before you cross out the barcodes and remove security devices, before you box them, check their Status in Sierra.

Workflow Lessons:

  • Pilot Project
  • Delays
  • Sorting Evaluated Books
  • Check Status, Then Withdraw
  • Better World Books Boxes
    • They are not your property – keep them “safe.”
  • Preparation to Ship
    • Order new boxes when you start your last batch.

Sierra Lessons:

  • Outlook Reminders
    • Included daily reminder of project and JSON to conduct first search for items.

Sierra Lessons:

  • Outlook Reminders
  • Statistics of Pruned Titles

Sierra Lessons:

  • Outlook Reminders
  • Statistics of Pruned Titles
  • Data of Pruned Titles
    • Data exported included:
      Date Pruned Call Number Volume
      Title Barcode Status
      008 Date One Internal Note Tot CHKOUT
      ISBN/ISSN Subject

BibID/OCLC number

Sierra Lessons:

  • Outlook Reminders
  • Statistics of Pruned Titles
  • Data of Pruned Titles
  • Artificial Circulation
    • 2017-2018: 10,384
    • 9/2018-8/2019: 13,064
    • I checked-out and -in 2,150 titles in order to create circulation.

10,914

PIKA Lesson:

Show presentation of Pika.

Communication Lessons:
Don’t Work On Your Own/In A Vacuum

  • Talk to administration, faculty, colleagues, staff, students, etc.

Communication Lessons:
To Deans & Teaching Faculty

  • Deans were informed about pruning project. Deans were to inform teaching faculty.
    • Turned out to be insufficient.

Communication Lessons:
To Deans & Teaching Faculty

  • Deans were informed about pruning project. Deans were to inform teaching faculty.
  • Several faculty needed additional information.
    • Circulation stats only criteria? (wasn’t true)
    • Only one person makes decisions? (largely true)
    • Possibly create LibGuides for faculty to pruning project and review titles.
    • One professor reviewed 160 titles which were withdrawn: he found 4 (2.5%) which he thought should remain.

Communication Lessons:
With Students

  • Initial Instructions
    • Books for review were not placed in LC order.
    • Books for review were not placed consistently (upside down, inside out, etc.)
    • Boxes for BWB were often not filled well.
    • Should have had one-on-one meetings with each.

Communication Lessons:
With Students

  • Initial Instructions
  • Ongoing/Follow-Up Instructions
    • Some students did not realize this was an ongoing project.
    • A Wiki or GoogleDoc would have been a good method to continuously communicate with them.

Communication Lessons:
With Students

  • Initial Instructions
  • Ongoing/Follow-Up Instructions
  • Signage – Original vs. Actual needed

Communication Lessons:
With Students

  • Initial Instructions
  • Ongoing/Follow-Up Instructions
  • Signage – Original vs. Actual needed

Communication Lessons:
With Students

  • Initial Instructions
  • Ongoing/Follow-Up Instructions
  • Signage – Original vs. Actual needed

Practical Cataloging Lessons:

  • Faculty Requests
    • Template: “Requested by CCU Faculty [First & Last Name (School)]”

  • Potential “Expiration Date” in Local Notes
    • “Classic” or “Do not prune until 2030,” etc.
    • Both of the above could be used in future pruning projects to exclude from potential pruning lists/Sierra Create List exports.

Practical Cataloging Lessons:

  • Faculty Requests
  • Potential “Expiration Date” in Local Notes
  • Internal Procedure Documentation
    • Remember to change your documentation when you change your workflow!

Post-Project/Future Planning Lessons:

  • Vendors to Consider
    • OCLC’s Sustainable Collection Services/Greenglass
    • DiscoverBooks.com
  • Follow-Up Study of Pruned Titles
    • What pruned titles were requested in following 1, 2, 5, 10 years? (Cf. Ash, 1963).
  • Continuous Pruning Project
    • Plan to prune entire collection at least once every 5 years.

The Fool’s Lessons:

  • OCLC Holdings
    • We had multiple copies of a title, removed one, and accidentally removed the record from OCLC.
  • Save Different Versions Of Files
    • Deleted the “.” from the evaluation pull Excel sheet.
    • Save your files as version “1,” “2,” “3,” etc.

Questions & Answers:

  • “Artificial Checkouts”
    • Faculty selected about 2,150 titles they desired to keep in the collection. I pulled them out of the collection and checked them out and back in, creating artificial circulation.
    • What other options are there?
  • “Weeding” vs. “Pruning”
    • What is the best term … and why?

Contact Info

  • Oliver Schulz – oschulz@ccu.edu

  • Link to GoogleDoc PDF document.

Link to GoogleDoc PDF document.

MUG 2019 Pruning Lessons - Google Slides