Frequently Asked Questions about Retention Commitments

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding retention commitments.  Please be sure to also read the EAST Major Operating Policies and the Operating Procedure: Replacing Lost or Damaged Items with Retention Commitments, as the information in these documents will answer many questions. Additional information about where to find retained items is available in the Retention Commitments page. Detailed information about the Reallocation Process, including procedures and timelines, can be found in the EAST Reallocation Process page.

Retentions and Transfers

    We are transferring some EAST materials to a shared storage facility. Can we transfer the retention commitments?

    EAST Memorandum of Understanding section 5.1 :

    "Retention Partners agree not to sell, discard, donate, or otherwise relinquish ownership or control of any of the retained materials prior to the end of the Retention Period, except to transfer materials to another EAST Retention Partner or with permission of the Executive Committee."

    Therefore, if the shared storage facility is an EAST Retention Partner (e.g. the Five Colleges) and extends lending to all EAST members, materials can be transferred. Retention commitments should be updated in the 583 fields in the local ILS of the receiving institution, perhaps adding a 561 field to denote the original holder of the material. Shared print LHRs in OCLC will also need to be updated, removing the retention from the donating library and registering the retention with the receiving facility.*

    We've found some EAST retained material that have accompanying media (floppy discs / CD-ROMs). Are we required to keep the media? If the media is missing, should we request reallocation of the material to another library?
    While accompanying media may be of academic interest, it is beyond the scope of EAST, and need not be retained.  If accompanying media is missing, there is no need to request reallocation.
    Per the EAST Major Operating Policies document, Retention Partners needing to transfer large numbers of retention commitments should follow the EAST Reallocation of Retention Commitments Process. How do you define large numbers?
    Large is when it is no longer practical for a library to manually search catalogs and databases to identify retention commitments and holdings at other EAST libraries. Libraries should submit requests using the  EAST Reversal and Reallocation Request form, and provide a spreadsheet of materials which includes the OCLC numbers they wish to transfer and the reason for the request. (See Sample Spreadsheet.) Questions regarding this process should be directed to

    How do I transfer a retention commitment to another holdings record? How does EAST keep track of these changes?

    Local ILS: It is the responsibility of individual member libraries to have a process for recording retention commitments in their local catalogs. See the EAST 583 Working Group site for guidance on using the MARC 583 field in holdings records for this purpose. EAST does not need to be informed about retention commitments being transferred to different copies of the same title with the same OCLC number.

    NOTE: If a library is moving a retention to a better OCLC record, move the Shared Print LHR to the new record. This will effectively register the retention commitment on the new record. Not that deleting and adding a new LHR does NOT register the commitment, nor set the Shared Print flag in OCLC.*

    If a bibliographer orders a new print edition of a book and indicates the earlier edition can be withdrawn, but that earlier edition has been designated an EAST retention commitment copy, do we have to keep the older edition or can we transfer the retention note to the newer edition?

    The acceptability of replacing an older item with a newer edition is highly dependent on the materials being replaced. Out of scope materials need not have a retention commitment (see FAQ scope question). If the material is in scope, please refer to the Replacing Editions document for examples of what is and is not acceptable.

    Note: If the new edition is an electronic edition, please retain the older print edition.

    If an item which had the retention commitment is missing, can the retention commitment be transferred to a different edition of the same title? Does this same protocol apply if there is difference in publication date or publisher?

    Every effort should be made to replace missing material with the same edition, including from another EAST Retention Partner. This is especially important if the edition has any unique characteristics such as prefaces and/or commentary. Artifactual copies of the title are always preferred, but print facsimiles are acceptable. It is only acceptable to transfer the commitment to a different edition of the title in situations where the retention copy is missing, there isn’t another copy of the same edition available within EAST, or the material is determined to be equivalent. We are trusting members to use their professional judgement in determining if a different edition is functionally equivalent for the retention commitment.

    It is also acceptable to do this with a holding with a different publication date or publisher when necessary, following the guidelines above. Please see the Operating Procedure: Replacing Lost or Damaged Items with Retention Commitments document for further information.

    Note that EAST Retention Partners may already hold several editions of the same title, and/or have several holdings already retained on a specific edition. If you are tranfering a commitment to a new edition AND that new addition already has at least 5 retentions on it, you may simply revoke your current retention commitment.*

    Do we need to keep all volumes of a multi-volume set?
    Libraries are responsible for retaining all volumes of multi volume sets that have been assigned retention commitments to their library. Libraries may or may not have been assigned an entire set, depending on their holdings at the time retentions were set. Libraries may voluntarily add retention commitments to additional volumes as they are acquired, but are not required to do so.
    We see multiple copies of the same titles on our retention lists. Do we need to retain all copies?
    According to the EAST Major Operating Policies, “Retention Partners are required to retain only  one copy of titles they have been allocated a commitment to retain.” While retention lists may contain multiple copies of the same title, it is up to each library’s discretion which copy, or multiple copies, are retained.
    We’ve identified a print monograph title we feel should be committed to retain for EAST.
    We encourage EAST Retention Partners to proactively make commitments to print monograph titles they feel should be retained for EAST. A good example is when you’ve already committed to retain volumes 1-8 in a prospective 10 volume set and you decide to acquire volumes 9 and 10. However, your library is under no obligation to make commitments on newly acquired materials. You can add any new retentions in OCLC's Record Manager; remember to also update your ILS.

    Our library did not take part in the collection analysis and does not have an institutional login to GreenGlass. We are interested in weeding based on EAST retention commitments. How can we discover if a title that we own has a retention commitment at another library?

    Libraries can use the EAST Gold Rush database for this information and to conduct additional collection analyses. Please contact for login information and instructions.

    EAST retentions are also recorded in OCLC and are visible in FirstSearch, Connexion, and Collections Manager to search shared print commitments, as well as visible via the search on the homepage of

    We’ve discovered EAST retention commitments on materials that are not under the library’s direct control, e.g. a departmental library.
    You may remove retention commitments on these materials, and submit the list to the reallocation process:
    We’ve found some titles in our retention commitments that are bound with other titles that are not committed to retain. Should we add retention commitments to all titles in ‘bound with’ volumes?
    This scenario most likely arose when individual marc records were submitted for collection analysis for each title in the bound volume. Not all of the titles subsequently matched the EAST retention criteria. Given that the volume will be retained, it makes sense to add commitments to all titles in the volume, though it is not required by EAST. In short, the decision whether to add retentions to all titles in the bound volume is left to the owning library’s discretion. Any additional titles committed to retain should be registered with OCLC.

    We’ve found bound photocopies or other print facsimiles, or sections of monographs replaced with photocopied pages, which have a retention commitment on them. Should we keep the commitment?

    Please report these materials to EAST. EAST will work with the Retention Library to attempt to secure another commitment on a non-facsimile circulating print copy. If that is not possible EAST will ask the holding library to retain the current commitment on the circulating facsimile to enable preservation access to this intellectual content.

    Retained holdings for Photocopies should be removed from original print records to a separate bibliographical record for the reproduction format, which should include a 533 with the text “Print reproduction”.

    The 583 should reflect that this is a reproduction. Include a second 583 with the subfield ‘a’ completeness reviewed, and a subfield ‘l’ of “Facsimile”. The date in subfield ‘c’ should be the date the item was last reviewed. Optionally a subfield 'z' can be added to note which sections of the materials are facsimiles. See the OCLC Detailed metadata guidelines for more examples.

    583 1# $a completeness reviewed $c 20190614 $f EAST $l Facsimile $5 MeWC

    We’ve discovered that the bibliographic data for an item for which we have a retention commitment does not match the book on the shelf. Can we withdraw the retention commitment?
    There are many scenarios where a library may discover a metadata mismatch, including incorrectly cataloged reprints or incorrectly assigned OCLC numbers.  Metadata errors should be reported using the EAST Reversal and Reallocation Requests form. If the mismatch is only the edition, and no other EAST libraries retain the edition you hold, please keep the retention, and register the retention on the correct OCLC number. See the OCLC Shared Print page for information on how to register, move or remove retention commitments.

    We’ve identified a category of materials that have retention commitments but that we consider out of scope for this project and not worthy of retention. What should we do?

    Partners that identify categories of materials they determine to be out of scope, e.g. textbooks, handbooks, manuals, ephemera (see scope definition) may request the removal of their retention commitment using the EAST Reversal and Reallocation Requests Form.* See also the “Revoking Retention Commitments Determined to be Out of Scope” section of the EAST Major Operating Policies.

    Occasionally, a library may hold material that they believe to be out of scope for EAST, which is not listed in the current scope and ephemera definitions. In such instances if the library wishes to revoke the retention commitment, it is requested that they consult with the EAST Program Team, who may consult the EAST Operations Committee, to determine if the materials should be added to the out of scope definition.

    If the material is determined by the Project Team to be in scope, libraries should determine the number of existing EAST commitments on the title using the EAST retentions search, and the scarcity of the title in WorldCat. If the title is not retained elsewhere and/or is not widely available in the U.S., it is requested that the library consider retaining the material, and if they are unwilling to do so, that they agree to relinquish the title to a retention partner who is willing to commit to retain the item.

    We've made some updates to retentions in OCLC. Do we need to update Gold Rush also? If so, how?
    While retention data can be updated in OCLC quite easily at any time, updating Gold Rush is more cumbersome. Since changes to retention data are infrequent, EAST only asks for updated data once per year. Beginning in 2023, this request for updated data will be in the late spring. If your library would like to update data at any other time, they are welcome to do so. Additions to retentions can be added by depositing their marc records in the Gold Rush ftp site, while deletions require an entire reload of marc records for all retained items. Gold Rush has some guidelines for depositing marc records, or contact the Project Team if you need additional assistance.

Access and Replacement

    We found some older brittle books that can not be replaced at a reasonable cost. We also fear that these older materials will likely be brittle at all libraries that hold them. Can we replace nineteenth-century and other older editions with modern reprints? Is it possible that the HathiTrust publicly available edition could stand for our retention commitment?

    In general EAST prefers that original material be retained if at all possible. However, we recognize that this is not always possible in the case of deteriorating materials. Usually we would ask that the library submit these materials for reallocation, but given the likelihood of all copies of the era being in poor conditions, we request that the library attempt to purchase a modern reprint and move the retention to that new OCLC #.

    As for HathiTrust public domain copies, if the library is willing to do validation of the digital surrogate against the print it may be possible for that to stand in place of materials that are too damaged to retain. As of spring 2021 we are still in the process of investigating and documenting the procedures for this. Please contact us for more information.

    We’ve found moldy/water damaged/unrecoverable holdings with retention commitments.
    Sorry to hear it! If the material is already widely held in EAST (more than 5 copies), then yes, you may remove the retention commitment. You can determine the level of retention in EAST by searching in OCLC or via the search on the homepage of If it is not widely held in EAST, an attempt should be made to acquire the material. If that is not possible it should be added it to the semi annual reallocation process.
    If there are a handful of books a month that we can't buy a replacement for should we handle it ourselves by trying to identify another EAST library that owns the title and transferring the retention commitment to them?
    You may contact other libraries which hold the title or follow the semi-annual reallocation process, whichever is easier for you.
    When replacing a missing or damaged copy of a book, do I need to notify EAST of the changed barcode and/or bib record number? Are there directions for how to mark a replacement copy?
    As long as the OCLC number remains the same, EAST does not need to know about local changes. As always, when changing a retention commitment to a different instance make sure that the 583 information is associated with the new holding in your local catalog and OCLC if necessary. See also EAST 583 Best Practices.
    Is there an expectation that we automatically replace our missing retained items? What is the process for reporting missing items?

    Yes, it is expected that missing items that you’ve committed to retain for EAST will be replaced. If the item is able to be replaced with a copy with the same OCLC number there is no need to report the change. If an item is replaced by a different edition, please be sure to update OCLC to have your commitment on the correct record.

    While replacing the missing title holdings is the preferred route, if there are items your library can not to replace due to cost or availability, please follow the semi-annual reallocation process.  All changes to EAST retentions should be reported using the EAST Reallocations Request Form.

    Are there limitations regarding placing EAST retained items on reserve?

    EAST retained items should be available for circulation to other EAST members, but we understand that there may be times when an item is required to be placed on reserve. We ask that in situations where you also own a second copy you consider not placing this copy on reserve.

    If a title has a history of being on reserve, will be on reserve for longer than a semester, on permanent reserve, or is likely to be a candidate for reserve in the future, you should consider not de-accessioning additional copies or investigating whether it’s possible to find a replacement retention copy, including from another EAST Retention Partner.

Overlap with Other Programs

    We understand that EAST is a member of the Partnership for Shared Book Collections. What exactly is the Partnership?

    The Partnership for Shared Book Collections is a federation of monograph shared print programs in the U.S. and Canada. The Partnership’s mission is to ensure the long-term preservation of, access to, and integrity of monographic print resources. A full list of members is available on their website,, and includes EAST, HathiTrust, and SCELC.

    EAST representatives sit on the Partnership's Executive Committee and Operations Committee.

    The Partnership develops and maintains a set of Best Practices, offers educational webinars, and has developed a robust research agenda to benefit the Shared Print community.

    We encourage anyone interested in issues related to shared print to contact the Partnership ( about opportunities to serve on one of the Partnership’s working groups.

    As EAST retention partners, are we expected to provide access to our retained materials to the participating libraries in the Partnership for Shared Book Collections?
    While there are no requirements to extend access beyond the EAST membership, we strongly encourage all libraries to provide access to their collections to other Partnership institutions.
    We’ve found many books under retention that are HathiTrust public domain titles. Do we have to keep them?
    Yes. While the EAST collection analysis working group did discuss using HathiTrust as a criteria in the retention model, they decided to retain materials regardless, as EAST is focused on preserving original print copies, and it would be inconsistent with this goal to potentially withdraw material based on largely unverified digitized copies.

Government Documents

    We’ve found some U.S. and international government documents on our retention list. Do we have to keep them?

    It depends. U.S. federal government documents are out of scope for EAST and retention commitments on these titles can be revoked. Other programs are addressing retention and preservation of these documents.

    State, local, and international government or quasi-government titles are not explicitly out of scope and they may not have the protection of other programs. When possible, we recommend member libraries keep the retention commitments already in place for these items.

Serials and Journals (Serials and Journals Retention Partners Only)


    We understand that EAST is a member of the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance. What exactly is Rosemont?

    The Rosemont Shared Print Alliance is a collaboration of regional programs interested in coordinating their efforts on a larger scale to ensure the retention of and access to print journal backfiles. The current participants are the:

    Big Ten Academic Alliance Shared Print Repository (CICBTAA-SPR)
    Center for Research Libraries (CRL)
    Eastern Academic Scholars' Trust (EAST)
    Florida Academic Libraries Repository (FLARE)
    Scholars Trust
    ​Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST)

    EAST representatives sit on the Rosemont Operations Committee and Executive Committee. For a description of Rosemont’s goals and activities see the Alliance’s Strategic Directions.

    How do I know which libraries are members of EAST and Rosemont?
    A list of EAST and Rosemont member libraries can be found on the Rosemont website.
    Are we required to provide free lending to our fellow EAST Serials and Journals Retention Partners and Rosemont members?
    No.  While  we strongly encourage a policy of free lending between EAST Serials and Journals Retention Partners and Rosemont members, libraries may use their own institutional policies to fulfill requests, including charging fees (see EAST’s Best Practices for ILL).
    Are EAST Serials and Journals Retention Partners expected to provide physical delivery of items to our fellow EAST and Rosemont members?
    No, electronic delivery is preferable, followed in preference by facsimiles of the original, and then physical delivery of volumes or issues on a case-by-case basis.
    Are we required to lend titles we haven't committed to retain?
    Serials and Journals Retention Partners agree to make EAST retained materials available for circulation to other EAST and Rosemont libraries. We support a principle of extending those borrowing privileges as broadly as possible, rather than limiting lending to EAST retained materials.
    Are EAST Serials and Journals Retention Partners expected to lend monographs as well as serial and journal titles to Rosemont members?
    No, the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance is focussed solely on serials and journals retention. As such, the expectation to make material accessible to fellow Rosemont members and the associated Rosemont Access Principles only applies to serial and journal titles, not print monographs. As with all access, however, EAST encourages the member libraries to lend broadly across its circulating collection.
    Our library is not a EAST Serials and Journals Retention Partner. Are we still expected to provide access to our serials and journals collection to EAST and Rosemont partners?
    No, while we encourage all libraries to provide access to their collections, there are no requirements for “monograph only” EAST Retention Partners to make their serial and journal holdings available to other EAST or Rosemont Shared Print Alliance members.
    Are we required to continue collecting issues of a title we’ve retained for EAST?
    No, libraries are not required to continue collecting issues of title they’ve retained for EAST, but we do ask that libraries consider filling gaps in their holdings if they are contacted by other EAST libraries wishing to withdraw issues or volumes of the title.
    What are EAST's gap filling policies and procedures?
    See the Journal Gap Filling page for information.
    We’ve added more issues of a serial and journal title we are retaining for EAST, are we expected to extend our EAST commitment to these newer issues?
    No, the EAST retention commitment is only to the issues the library held at the time of agreeing commitment not to any future issues. Any libraries that voluntarily decides to extend the retention commitment to newly acquired issues should follow EAST guidance for updating the holdings statement in their local ILS and PAPR/OCLC.
    Are we expected to replace lost or damaged serial and journal issues?
    No, replacement is not required for these material types, but EAST members are encouraged to donate their copies to Retention Partners to help fill gaps and should always inform the EAST Project Team when a title or volume is no longer being retained.
    Are EAST commitments for serials and journals currently recorded in OCLC WorldCat?
    Yes. Retention partners are either registering this data themselves, or relying on CRL to sync registration data from PAPR to OCLC.

    How can we identify which serial and journal titles our library and other EAST members have committed to EAST?

    Per EAST policy, EAST members are expected to record their commitments in their local ILS (guidance for adding commitments is available in EAST Member Resources). Consult with your local Technical Services staff on how to identify retained material in your ILS.

    EAST commitments are also recorded in the Print Archives and Preservation Registry (PAPR), alongside commitments from the major shared print programs in North America, including our fellow Rosemont Shared Print Alliance members. Note that PAPR also hosts a Collection Comparison Tool which allows for an upload of a list of local record numbers to generate an instant comparison with the PAPR archived titles registry.

    Retention commitments are also visible in OCLC's Connexion, Record/Collection Manager, FirstSearch and various APIs. See the "Functionality across services" doc for descriptions of how to find Shared Print in each of these services.

    Why did EAST decide to first focus on titles held by 4-6 EAST Serials and Journals Retention Partners?
    The first group of titles the Working Group focused on included titles held by 4-6 of the participating libraries. These “medium rare” title were felt to be most at risk of loss from the collective collection as libraries moved on to withdrawing these titles, having already weeded more widely-held titles. Additionally, as only three libraries were allocated responsibility for each title this model provided withdrawal opportunities at those libraries that were not allocated a retention commitment.
    What material is out of scope for EAST serials and journals retention?
    reference worksmonographic series
    guidesgovernment documents
    JSTOR titlesloose-leaf reference works
    non-print formatsyearbooks
    indexesfact books
    How were serial and journal titles assigned for EAST retention?
    Using collection comparison reports produced by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), a Serials & Journals Working Group analyzed the collections of the participating EAST libraries and considering factors such as holdings levels within EAST, OCLC WorldCat holding levels, JSTOR availability, format, commitments from other shared print programs, and subjects agreed on a set of retention models. These models were approved by Voting Members at participating libraries and the EAST Executive Committee. CRL applied the retention rules to the collective collection and allocated retention responsibility to individual libraries, which then had the opportunity to review their retention proposals and report which specific titles they would agree to retain.
    How did EAST go about analyzing serial and journal titles?
    EAST contracted with the the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) to carry out a comparison of participating libraries’ serials and journals collections. CRL provided spreadsheet reports which showed holdings overlap, subjects, languages, electronic availability, OCLC WorldCat holdings, availability in JSTOR, format, and retention commitments from other shared print programs (including Rosemont). This data was loaded into the visualization software Tableau to assist the EAST Serials and Journals Working Group in analyzing the data.

    We’ve received our retention proposal for serial and journal titles: are we required to check our shelves to validate that the titles are present?

    No, we understand that it’s not feasible for all EAST members to carry out such work. However, based on the experiences of those libraries that have carried out shelf checks it can be useful to confirm that you actually own a title you are committing to retain, that the physical holdings match those recorded in the ILS (and submitted for the collection analysis), and material is in a usable/readable condition. Validation levels can be recorded in the 583 field.

    Guidance for carrying out validation (both at the volume and issue level) can be found in our Member Resources.

    We noticed a JSTOR title in our list of serials retentions, how should we proceed?

    Titles available in JSTOR are out of scope for EAST Serials Retentions, so your institution is not obligated to retain these titles in print on behalf of EAST, unless your institution has explicitly decided to do so, e.g. the Five Colleges Inc. You may remove retention commitments from OCLC for these titles, and notify EAST that they should be removed from PAPR. Note that not all libraries have access to all collections in JSTOR.

    We encourage you to use the CRL Comparison Tool to identify any gaps in the CRL, Harvard or University of California JSTOR print archives that you may be able to fill. Alternatively, you may send a list of items from JSTOR titles that you plan to deaccession to Nahid Vand ( or John Kiplinger ( for review.  They will attempt to review lists as promptly as possible, but depending upon the time of year, workloads, size of lists, etc., some turnarounds may be faster than others. Note that they are willing to take issues that fill existing gaps, not entire runs of a journal. 


*NOTE on OCLC number updating and/or holding institution changes to EAST retentions:

When making changes in retention commitments that involve new OCLC numbers and/or changes in holding institution, LHRs in OCLC will need to be moved or updated to have the Shared Print retention flag set on them.  See the OCLC Shared Print page for more information on working with shared print commitments.