Guidelines For Submitting Older Titles


These guidelines pertain to older titles, for which bibliographic records do not already exist. "Older titles" are all titles older than one year from copyright or publication date.

These guidelines are in place because the OWWL catalog is the public face of our collections. The catalog should be easy to use, provide high quality resources, and enable patrons to make informed choices. This is best accomplished by entering only reliable, accurate, up-to-date materials that are in good physical condition.

These guidelines ALSO apply to adding copies to an existing record. If you wish to add an older copy to your collection because the content is still good, please pay careful attention to the condition of the item. If it is in poor condition, do not add it to the collection. Purchase a new copy to add.


Libraries should use accepted professional selection criteria when considering older titles. Before sending these items to PLS Cataloging, library directors or other selectors should review them based on selection criteria and physical condition.

A few general guidelines include:

  • Will the item be a valuable part of the collection that must be added?
  • Is it still useful or interesting?
  • Is it in good condition?
  • Are there similar items already in the collection? Are they circulating?
  • Are there better titles already in the collection?
  • Is it an unsolicited gift or unknown origin?
Requests for new title records for older materials may be reviewed by the Collections and Resources Coordinator who may contact the requesting library director or selector to discuss the reasons for including the older title or to discuss alternate options.

Collection development consulting is available, on request, to all PLS Member libraries. Please contact Kathryn Riedener.

Donated items

Often patrons will donate items to their library that are not suitable for inclusion in the catalog.

If you do not already have one, create a policy regarding donations. State that the library might not add donated items to the collection and that the donated items might be included in book sale stock.

A good rule of thumb for for accepting a gift for addition to the catalog is "Would I spend library funds to purchase this item for the collection?" If the answer to that question is "No", then it is probably not suitable for the library collection.


The physical condition of older materials, particularly if the item is a donation or used material, is also important. Use the MUSTIE model when evaluating the condition of an older item:

  • M - Misleading or inaccurate
  • U - Ugly or worn (unattractive illustrations or badly illustrated, damaged covers or pages, old repairs)
  • S - Superseded by new editions or better titles
  • T - Trivial - there was interest for the subject in the past, but there no longer is
  • I - Irrelevant to the needs or interests of your community. Example: A scholarly work may be too in depth for a small library's collection
  • E - Elsewhere - the item is already readily available in the catalog or elsewhere

Check the OWWL Catalog

If the item meets the recommended criteria, check the catalog to see if copies are already in the collection.
  • Search the entire catalog by author and title
  • Look at the Results list and open individual records that look like promising matches
  • Read the entire bibliographic record

What Not to Add

  • Other libraries' discards
  • Travel guides more than 1 year from publication date
  • Job / Career material more than 2 years from publication date
  • Geography and atlases more than 5 years from publication date
  • Medical titles more than 1 year from publication date- unless it is a personal experience memoir that another patient might find interesting or reassuring
  • Reference materials more than 3 years from publication date, depending on the subject
  • Craft books with black and white illustrations
  • Any GED, or similar, test preparation book more than 3 years from pub date
  • Investing or most personal finance titles older than 3 years from pub date
  • College guides more than 2 years from pub date
  • Legal guides more than 3 years from pub date
  • Children's picture books with black and white illustrations (except for classics listed in Children's Catalog)
  • Young Adult and Children's fiction that is dated or not relevant to today's youth
  • Young Adult and Children's nonfiction that does not have up-to-date information or uses poor illustrations
  • Any book, but especially a children's book, that has a worn cover, pages, or writing in it
  • VHS format video
  • Cassette format audiobook
  • DVDs that are not in good condition for viewing
  • Older medical and travel DVDs
  • Older feature films that have not sustained interest
  • Older video games where the platform is no longer in heavy use

Local History

Local History items, or other materials of community interest and importance, are the exceptions to these rules! Contact PLS Cataloging directly regarding records for local history materials of any age.
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