One the major challenges of a project as large and diverse as EAST is ensuring the availability of retained titles to scholars across the member libraries.  The retention of over 6 million holdings across distributed collections through the Northeast requires that there be a high level of confidence in the availability of those titles for use by all partners.  Verification of the existence and condition of retained holdings (known among shared print programs as “validation”) helps to build trust among partner libraries that retained volumes will, in fact, be available and usable. 

In order to evaluate the statistical likelihood that a retained volume exists on the shelves of any of the institutions, the EAST project incorporates a two-part sample-based validation study. The specific goals of this testing are to establish and document the degree of confidence, and the possibility of error, in any EAST member's commitment to retain a particular title. Results of the validation sample studies should help predict the likelihood that titles selected for retention actually exist and can be located in the collection of a Retention Partner. This research should also help us  determine the initial and ongoing costs of providing different levels of confidence in a shared print retention agreement based in circulating collections.