Evaluating a historical medical book collection


  • Karen R. McElfresh Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1404-9764
  • Robyn M. Gleasner Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM




Book Selection, Library Collection Development, History of Medicine, Cataloging, Processing, Collection Assessment


Background: After several years of storing a large number of historical medical books that had been weeded from the general collection, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center developed a set of evaluation criteria to determine whether the material should be kept and included in the library catalog or discarded. The purpose of this article is to share lessons learned in evaluating and processing a historical medical book collection. The authors share how we determined review criteria as well as cataloging and processing procedures.

Case Presentation: Best practices for evaluating, cataloging, and processing historical library material were determined through a literature search and then reviewed and adapted for application to this project. Eight hundred sixty-two titles were selected to add to the catalog and were added to a shelving location in our offsite storage facility.

Conclusions: These materials are now discoverable in the library’s catalog for library users who are interested in historical research, and the materials have been processed for easy retrieval as well as preservation purposes.


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Case Report