Going, Going, Gone: Case Studies in Library Deaccessioning



Although a relatively common practice in the world of Special Collections, deaccession is perhaps the one premeditated activity that is most conducive to controversy. Why is this the case? Among the reasons, I think, are the following: research libraries generally, and Special Collections particularly, have been perceived traditionally in terms of permanence and in correlative terms of the imperative to accumulate, to gather in and preserve forever the product of human intellectual endeavor; deaccession erodes this perception of permanence. Special Collections, virtually without exception, build their collections to a considerable extent through a network of associations with donor/collectors whose . . .

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