Health Sciences Weeding Policy

Weeding Guidelines for Health Sciences Programs


The currency of materials is a critical concern in regard to research materials in the health care professions. The following guidelines have been developed in order to maintain a current and usable collection of materials on a variety of topics related to the coursework required by NCTC's Health Sciences programs.


Library staff, as designated by the Library Director and with the assistance of Health Sciences faculty, will periodically review program collections using the weeding guidelines as dictated by this document. These guidelines are designed with a focus on the currency and relevance of materials to their relative programs.

Weeding Guidelines

I. Annual Review

The following materials will be subject to annual review by Library staff. Materials on these topics require the most recent edition available:

  • Study guides
  • Examination review books
  • Laboratory guides
  • Drug manuals
  • Nursing care plans

New developments in some subjects require a change in materials with new information. Librarians will update the collection as needed when new developments arise. Some areas of concern include:

  • Immunology (e.g. dealing with AIDS/HIV)
  • Nutrition (e.g. reassessment of dietary needs, the food pyramid, etc.)

Any materials of this sort that cannot be withdrawn due to lack of a more current edition or a suitable substitute are subject to the Five Year Rule (Guideline II) as dictated below.

II. The Five Year Rule

The following materials will be subject to a "five-year-rule" in regard to their currency. Any materials whose publication or copyright date falls five or more years prior to the current year will be subject to withdrawal or designation as part of the "Medical Historical Collection":

  • Nursing clinical procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Adult health nursing
  • Obstetric nursing
  • Maternal-child health nursing
  • Geriatric nursing
  • Mental health concepts
  • Nutrition
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Nursing education

III. Other Health Science-Related Materials

Some materials contained within the broad subject class encompassed by the Health Sciences curriculum can be evaluated less strictly and on merits beyond their publication or copyright date.

Examples of subjects addressed by these materials are:

  • Alcoholism
  • Non-clinical health/disease information
  • Social issues in health care
  • Ethical considerations
  • Popular non-fiction
  • General physical and biological sciences:
    • Anatomy
    • Microbiology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics

These materials may be evaluated on a case-by-case basis based upon the following considerations:

  • Content
  • Circulation usage
  • Replacement availability
  • Cost
  • Condition
  • Availability of material on the same topic within the collection

These materials are not subject to the Five Year Rule nor do they require designation as being part of the Medical Historical Collection, unless otherwise deemed so by Library staff or Health Science faculty.

IV. Medical Historical Collection

Materials subject to the Five Year Rule (Guideline II, as outlined above) that have been assessed by Library staff and Health Science faculty as still being necessary for the collection will be designated by the library as being part of the "Medical Historical Collection". This designation will be made both on the item itself (by labeling) and within the Library's catalog record.

This designation will also be given to items of historical important to the Health Sciences faculty, such as "classic" works in the field, examinations of the history of the profession, biographical works, historical reviews, and the like.

V. Frequency

With currency being the foremost concern with these collections, Library staff (with the cooperation of the Health Science faculty) should review the collection on an annual basis.

VI. Faculty Involvement

Library staff should include Health Sciences faculty in the weeding process as much as possible. While faculty do not often have the time to assess the entire collection, Library staff can create lists of possible withdrawals based on the above guidelines that can be quickly examined by the relevant faculty for suitability. Library staff can also alert faculty to new titles being acquired within their disciplines.

Faculty can assist the Library staff by evaluating materials slated for withdrawal, alerting Library staff to topics undergoing recent change, and by selecting and recommending materials for purchase.