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Maintenance and Preservation

Introduction to the Boston College Libraries Collections

Boston College and EAST

Logo for EAST - Eastern Academic Scholars' Trust

In addition to the local preservation and retention efforts described below, we are a member of EAST, the Eastern Academic Scholars' Trust.  EAST is a partnership of over 70 libraries acting collaboratively to preserve print monographs, serials and journals into the future.  Already over 9 million monographs and some 19,000 serial and journal titles have been committed for retention.

Collection Maintenance and Retention

Collection development includes maintenance of the collection.  Sound maintenance is a mix of all of the following efforts:

  • Replacement or repair of damaged materials.

  • Updating of older editions.  In some situations both the older and newer editions will be kept in the collection due to their historical value.

  • Replacement of print with an electronic version in favor of the wider accessibility of the electronic. 

  • Transfer to off-site storage locations for materials that have not been used recently.  Factors considered here include:

    • History of usage

    • Disciplinary need for continued access to historical materials

    • Availability in other formats

  • Deselection of materials is undertaken only with great care, and depends upon the same factors as transfer decisions, plus:

Preservation of Print Books

Whenever a print book or journal volume needs repair or has become too brittle for normal use,  the library's Preservation Lab provides the appropriate treatment to enable continued use.  Such items may be withdrawn from circulation but would still remain on the shelf in special boxes for use in the library.  Another option would be to rely on digitized copies, especially if the item is beyond preservation treatment or repair.

Preservation of E-books and E-Journals

In order to ensure continuing access to online resources which are acquired through subscriptions, we participate in these major preservation services:

  • Portico - Nearly 700 publishers and over 1,000 libraries collaborate within Portico to ensure preservation of e-books (now, more than 1.6M) and ejournals (31,000+), ensuring future access in the event of triggers such as publisher cessation, backlist titles no longer offered, or catastrophic and sustained failure of delivery platforms.
  • HathiTrust - HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and legally accessible long into the future. The collection now numbers over 17 million digitized volumes, both books and journals, and, of these, almost 40% are in the public domain. Content has come from partner library collections, digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft, as well as through in-house initiatives.