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Nicole B. Cignoli - Capstone Portfolio

Final Project

Weeding School of Nursing Specialty Area

Fairfield University DiMenna-Nyselius Library


Upon hearing of my final project requirement to assess fifty non-fiction book titles in a collection, Suzanne Campbell PhD, WHNP-BC, IBCLC, 
Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director at Fairfield University’s School of Nursing, asked me to weed her specialty area, RG940 – RG95, of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library (DNL). In preparation of my visit, Dr. Campbell asked Keith R. Stetson, M.L.S. Collection Development Librarian, to forward DNL’s collection development guidelines. DNL subscribes to The CREW (Continuous, Review, Evaluation, and Weeding) Method and uses the updated and revised CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries by Jeannette Larson (2008). DNL’s Collection Management Policy’s mission is to select new materials, evaluate gifts, and replace and dispose of dated or superseded materials to serve the general research and informational need of the students and faculty. DNL librarians work with faculty to select materials to purchase based on a number of criteria including, but not limited to, bibliographies, reviews in Choice, and circulation statistics. The ultimate purchase decision rests with the University Librarian (Collection Management Policy, July 2001).


The CREW Method integrates all parts of a collection development policy into one on-going process and endorses routinely removing outdated and unused material by reversing the selection process: inventory, collection evaluation, collection maintenance, weeding, and discarding. CREW maintains that items have a useful life cycle typically illustrated by peak activity during the initial acquisition period and then dropping off as the material is superseded by new information or formats. CREW uses circulation data, publication date, and a unique “rules of thumb” subjective assessment tool based on Dewey classes (Larson, 2008). The assessment tool is comprised of three parts. Position One equals the number of years since copyright date. Position Two is the suggested maximum time allowed without usage based on the Dewey class. The Third Position is comprised of six negative elements to warrant weeding: M = Misleading, U = Ugly (worn out), S = Superseded, T = Trivial, I = Irrelevant to your needs, and E = Elsewhere available (Larson, 2008). Based on Dewey class 601 (Medical and Health) under which the fifty book titles in RG940 – RG95 fall, CREW’s weeding code is 5/3/MUSTIE. This means that books with a copyright date greater than five years prior to the assessment date, that have not circulated in the past three years, and that have one or more of the MUSTIE factors are to be considered for weeding (Larson, 2008). CREW recommends weeding ruthlessly in Dewey class 601, especially when the material includes information about AIDS, cancer, or fertility, in order to have the most current information available for research needs (Larson, 2008). By analyzing this section of the School of Nursing’s (SON) collection, I hope to provide a tool to the Associate Dean so the department can continue their collection assessment process as well as an opportunity to acquire more up-to date items that will enable SON’s area be more appealing for research and learning. (Back to the top)


The Weeding Process

The CREW Method breaks down the weeding process into a Ten Step Process. Step 1: DNL already satisfied this criterion by having weeding part of their Collection Management Policy. Step 2: Gather statistics. When I asked Stetson for circulation statistics, he said that DNL’s SirsiDynix ILS has a notoriously difficult reports module and won’t be able to run the information (K. Stetson, personal communication, November 5, 2009). Therefore I went ahead to Step 6 and used the physical assessment of each book to collect usage data. Step 3: Again, DNL has already satisfied this step by Building Weeding into their Yearly Calendar. Step 4: Prepare for the hands-on analysis. In order to facilitate my work, I created the Weeding Project Fall 2009 spreadsheet incorporating DNL’s selection criteria, CREW’s Checklist of Weeding Factors, and CREW’s Ten Step Process (Larson, 2008). The spreadsheet includes DNL Call Number, Title, Author, Publisher, Copyright date to satisfy Position One of 5/3/MUSTIE, Edition, DNL barcode number, Accession date, Number of times book circulated in three years, Last circulation date to satisfy Position Two of 5/3/MUSTIE, and the Number of copies. I also created a scale for Condition and Currency from 1 to 5 whereby 1 is very poor and 5 is excellent to satisfy the Ugly and Superseded factors of MUSTIE. Step 5: Look at weeding area as a whole. Dr. Campbell and I conducted an initial visual assessment of the stacks and Dr. Campbell realized that there were books that were dated and in poor condition that could easily be weeded while some other titles were of historical significance and would need further evaluation. Step 6: Touch all 50 books. Using my spreadsheet as a guide, I made a visible assessment of the items for poor or dated content, exterior appearance, and if there were markings by students in the books. Step 7: Check the pulled books against any standard index or bibliographic records in the library’s reference collection or in databases available. I searched CONSULS, WorldCat, and reQuest for the availability of more suitable material that could be obtained at other institutions. I searched Books Index with Reviews, CINAHL Plus Full Text, Medline and Academic Search Primer databases as well as Choice and Books in Print for reviews, citations, and possible replacement books. On Stetson’s recommendation, I also searched Rittenhouse Book Distributors, Inc.’s website as it is the major book dealer for Nursing & Medical books and used the “Advanced Search” and “Browse Categories” to ensure I captured recently published or upcoming book titles. My spreadsheet includes the CREW Disposal Slip options of Bind, Mend / Preserve, Discard, Promote / Keep, Book sale or Replace according to CREW Step 8: Treat the book according to its disposal slip.



Although I attempted to satisfy the first part of Step 9: Replacement checking by including replacement titles and their reviews if available, many of my suggested book title replacements have not been reviewed while others are simply updated editions of DNL’s current holding. As CREW suggests that 5% of a collection be weeded every year (Larson, 2008), DNL will have to determine how much of the current collection shall be de-selected in relation to the second part of Step 9: Ordering. In the specialty area RG940 – RG951, 5% of the titles equal two books however 25 titles, or 50%, are candidates for weeding now. Below are the suggested replacement titles, some of which are suitable to replace multiple titles as detailed in the Weeding Project Fall 2009 spreadsheet:



The Midwife and the Witch

$ 28.00

Spiritual Midwifery

$ 20.00

Maternity Nursing

$ 85.00

Clinical Practice Guidelines for Midwifery and Women’s Health

$ 82.00

Clinical Decision Making Case Studies in Maternity / Pediatric Nursing

$ 58.00

Maternal Child Nursing Care: Text and E-Book Package


Contemporary Maternal Newborn Nursing


Manual of High Risk Pregnancy & Delivery

$ 54.00

Maternal & Child Health Nursing: Care of the Childbearing and Childrearing Family.


Olds' Maternal-newborn Nursing & Women's Health Across the Lifespan

$ 96.00

Essentials of Maternity, Newborn, & Women's Health Nursing.

$ 95.00

Estimated Total Replacement Cost


  (Back to the top)


The Associate Dean together with the DNL Collection Development department and University Librarian are encouraged to review my suggestions and decide the best action to take for each book title. One item that needs research and may influence de-selecting decisions is if Fairfield University has a Discarded Materials Policy whose requirements may dictate how property acquired with university funds, and or patron or donor monies, shall be disposed. Prior to taking any action, it is recommended that the School of Nursing prepare for the likelihood that empty or less populated shelves could draw questions or criticism from the administration. Given current budgetary constraints, the SON may not be able to justify replacing 25 titles in this specialty area, or theoretically 50% of the entire SON collection, especially as the recommended 5/3/MUSTIE CREW timeline for medical materials could possibly result in the newly purchased books being discarded in five years. Alternatively, the SON may determine that suggested titles could fill many more gaps in this section than originally proposed so the overall estimated cost could be lower. Another option to consider is using the New Faculty policy which provides each new tenure-track full-time faculty member a one-time allocation (currently $1,000) to purchase library materials (Collection Management Policy, July 2001). The SON could consider reviewing and possibly re-allocating the New Faculty balance to a one-time purchase of new titles. The SON may determine there is more current and less expensive material available in e-books, e-journals or through other consortiums that will meet the Electronic Resources policy (Collection Management Policy, July 2001). Lastly, DNL may opt to store the dated material in a lower cost storage unit to preserve research material, save funds or to adhere to the university’s Discarded Materials Policy, if required. In the meantime, the SON could promote low circulating; high quality books per CREW’s Step 10 and offer web-based professional organizational literature in anticipation of favorable book reviews of the suggested titles while slowly building the collection to meet the future educational and research needs of the School of Nursing.


American Library Association (2009). Association of College & Research Libraries. Choice Reviews Online. Retrieved from http://www.cro2.org/default.aspx.

Fairfield University. (2001). DiMenna-Nyseliusn Library. Collection Management Policy. Retrieved from http://www.fairfield.edu/library/lib_collmgt.html

Larson, Jeanette. (2008). CREW: A weeding manual for modern libraries. Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved from http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/

Rittenhouse Book Distributors, Inc. (2009).

Advanced Database Search. Retrieved from http://www.rittenhouse.com//search/Advancedsearch.asp?mscssid=PD57BW8EC6X98GJMJ17Q6HRNPABEDSL3

Browse Categories. Retrieved from http://www.rittenhouse.com//Search/search-cat.asp?mscssid=PD57BW8EC6X98GJMJ17Q6HRNPABEDSL3

R.R. Bowker, LLC. (2009). Books in Print Professional. Retrieved from http://0-www.booksinprint.com.www.consuls.org/bip/default.asp (Back to the top)

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