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Print Retention best practices are also documented as part of BHL's collection development policy appendix D 

BHL partners who provide digital content are  encouraged but not mandated to follow these recommendations:

In general, following digitization, BHL’s recommended policy is for the holding library to retain the physical item that was digitized for the life of the digital surrogate in BHL. Should a physical item that has been digitized in BHL need to be deaccessioned by a partner library, the following provisions should go into effect:


  • Inform the BHL Collections Committee that the print item is being withdrawn from the holding library. 
  • Add a note to the <copy-specific information> field in BHL that the print copy has been withdrawn from the holding institution (see example to the right)
  • If possible, offer other BHL Members the print title, including in-fill journal titles, and change the holding institution information in the record if they take the item.
  • If no BHL library will take the print item:
    • Ask a partner to digitize another copy that they own (and will keep).
    • Send the print title to Internet Archive, and place a note in the BHL copy-specific record with information of where the print copy now resides.


In addition, it is BHL’s recommendation that print materials digitized for BHL should not be held in an off-site repository if the policy of that repository allows for it to withdraw copies without the owning library’s knowledge and consent.  For consortia libraries which scan and return copies to the originator library, it is BHL’s recommendation that they inform the originating library of BHL’s policy to retain the physical item.


For BHL partners who are withdrawing from the consortia or are closing should inform the BHL Collections Committee immediately so that they can take appropriate steps to safeguard as many original BHL print titles as possible.

print retention example


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