Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Weeding with Robots: Managing Collections in an Automated Retrieval System




University Libraries

Date Range



In 2000, Grand Valley State University opened a new library at its DeVos Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This library features an automated retrieval system (ARS) that houses its circulating collection. This ARS, which has a capacity to hold 250,000 volumes, has never been systematically weeded. Three librarians undertook weeding of three specific collections in the ARS using different approaches. Meanwhile, in preparation for eventual weeding, librarians at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, launched a program to systematically inventory over 600,000 items in its on-site storage facility known as the ARC (automated retrieval collection). The ARC becameoperational in 1998 as part of a new Halle Library building. Since that timethere has never been an inventory of the collection. This presentation will highlight someof the special challenges of managing an automated retrieval system, including content inventory and weeding. It will provide an overview of the processes used by two university libraries and the problems uncovered as the projects have progressed. Many libraries, because of space constraints, are considering using automated retrieval systems. When building an ARS, much deliberation is given to preparing and loading the collection into the ARS but collection management and weeding processes are often not considered.

Conference Name

Charleston Conference

Conference Location

Charleston, South Carolina

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