Selecting Library Materials for High Density Storage
This document is intended to provide guidance in selecting items for transfer to high-density
The University Library opened a high-density storage facility to house lesser-used library
materials. In the model chosen, cost effective operations require that items in the facility
average of fewer than three times in a given year of operational time.
The Oak Street Facility provides a secure environment in a closed stack facility equipped with
temperature & RH controls that significantly extend the life expectancy (LE) of library
materials. When measured against other Library facilities, Oak Street provides an exemplary
environment for reducing the deterioration of library materials.
Access to Collections at Oak St.
Retrieval of volumes from high density storage is frequent, with most items being made available
as quickly as those now sent by campus mail to a borrower's campus address or held for pickup at an
Titles transferred to the high density storage which experience significant use can be returned
to a campus library, and if a scholar or student needs to consult a large number of volumes housed
at the high density storage, arrangements can be made to do that consultation on site.
When is Oak Street Not Optimal Storage
The principle underlying the operational value of high density storage is maintaining an annual
average retrieval rate of less than 3%. Increasing the retrieval rate above 3% raises the
operational costs of the unit above levels deemed cost-effective for such storage. While a 3%
retrieval rate seems low, the logistics of retrieval from high-density storage combined with the
sheer number of items in such storage makes maintaining the low circulation rate important.
Consequently, when making decisions about whether an item should be sent to Oak St versus the
Stacks, please remember that selection that increases the operational costs of the unit are not in
the best interests of the University Library.
Identification of Items
In general, materials identified for housing in the Oak Street Facility should be considered
part of a
High Density, Non-Browsable Collection that would meet the following criteria:
- good bibliographic access
- projected future use remains low
- items with alternate methods of access (backfiles, etc…)
- not be critical to current scholarship but worthy of retention in a research collection
The Office of Library Collections recommends that the following criteria guide the selection and
growth of collections identified for transfer to the Oak Street Facility.
Duplicates. As a general rule, where it is necessary to retain duplicates, additional
copies of a title within the general collections that are lower use should be housed in high
Online Resources. Texts that may reliably be found completely online (especially journals
and indexes) with some possible exceptions for “core” journals. These could also include locally
digitized or reformatted materials that are likely to fit other criteria for selection, i.e.,
low-use, duplicate copies, etc….
Low-Use Serials. Runs of rarely-used serials, with the indexes kept or moved to Stacks or
other on-campus location.
Low-Use Monographs. Earlier portions of runs of active monographic series.
Out-dated Resources. Outdated textbooks, indices, and other resources unlikely likely to
receive significant use.
Special Collections. Selected materials from special collections and University Archives
or that fall within the collecting guidelines of said units.
High-theft Items. Items from within the general collections that are identified as likely
candidates for theft.
Materials Subject to Regular Replacement. Government documents materials that are not
subject to regular use, serial runs replaced by microforms, microforms replaced by online resources
(unless scholarly necessity requires keeping the earlier version onsite), maps and map sets.
Gifts. Gift collections help fill gaps within our holdings, but not all gift collections
are likely to receive high use. Gifts selected for addition to the collection are prime candidates
for direct-to-storage processing.
- Identifying suitable materials for high density storage is part of a larger process of
intelligently shaping the Libraries' many browsable, on-campus collections in a manner responsive
to the needs of users across all disciplines.
- Just as selection for
centralized, browsable storage (i.e, the Stacks) is an ongoing responsibility for subject
specialists, selection for
high density, non-browsable storage is an ongoing responsibility of collection
- Materials selected should be identified by collection managers and should represent all library
collections, formats and media, as appropriate storage furniture is installed.
- Selection criteria will vary across disciplines, departments, and collections, but every
discipline and collection has appropriate candidate materials.
- The high density storage is devoted principally to shelving infrequently-used materials. On
campus collection space will be used for materials that need to be browsed or that are more
- The identification of materials fitting the selection criteria outlined for RBML collections
should be a prime motivation behind the selection process.
- High density storage accommodates those library materials that most benefit from the facility's
optimal environmental, security conditions against theft and mutilation, and efficient use of
staffing to manage low use collections.
- Selected materials should have records in the UIUC Library Online Catalog or other appropriate
access tools. The Library is to have a full level bibliographic record for each piece housed at the
high density storage. The catalog records will mitigate the loss of direct physical access.
- Selection requires varying levels of review depending on the material. Whereas entire
categories of materials may be designated for high density storage, other types may need a more
in-depth and individual title review.
- Selection of appropriate materials is an ongoing responsibility; it will require continuing
attention to the identification of appropriate materials for shelving in the remote storage, both
throughout existing collections and among new and recent acquisitions.
- Items that fall under the
for Transfer to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library should be sent to the RBML.
- Items published before 1821 but not falling under the Library’s aforementioned guidelines for
transfer to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library should be designated for RBOS and sent to Oak St.
- Items with artifactual value (having, e.g., decorated bindings, manuscript notations, special
marks of provenance, engraved illustrations) should be designated for RBOS and sent to Oak St. as
- Collection managers and staff acting on decisions to transfer to the Depository should take
care not to transfer unnecessary multiple copies to the Depository.
- Material in need of preservation treatment (detached or partial covers, loose or torn papers,
brittle paper) will not be transferred to the Depository without review by the Collection
Management Team or the Preservation department.
This document does not supersede any existing policies or guidelines related to the withdrawal
or replacement of materials from the University Library’s collection.
- In general, last/single copies are not withdrawn.
- At present, there is not support on campus for the withdrawal of significant numbers of volumes
in the collection.
- When multiple copies exist and some are candidates for withdrawal, a condition check should be
made of the items to be retained or discarded to ensure that the pieces in the most complete
condition be retained.
- Care should be taken when withdrawing material with bookplates. Every effort should be made to
retain the copy which bears a bookplate.
Drafted – 8/2007
Revised – 11/2007, 12/2007
Approved – 1/2008 (CDC)