4. Guidelines for Preservation, Withdrawal and Discard of Library Collection
As prescribed in Article 19 (1) 2 of the Libraries Act, the preservation and management of library resources lies among the core functions of the Library. The National Library of Korea should regard resources acquired in accordance with its collection development policy as elements of the national intellectual and cultural heritage and ensure their permanent preservation. Along with routine preservation activities, such as planning, policy making and implementation, the Library aims to ensure the flawless preservation and management of its collections by making use of every available means, including storage environment and data management, preservation and restoration of damaged resources, fumigation and deoxidization, rebinding, photo-printing reproduction, migration processes (microfilming and digitization), withdrawal, discard, relocation and compact shelving for ensuring adequate storage space, or the introduction of an automatic stacking system and establishment of a repository library. The withdrawal and discard of library collection is considered to be a means of collection management in terms of securing adequate storage space, improving user access and ensuring cost-effective management. However, the national collection should be maintained in accordance with the fundamental principle of physical preservation except in cases when there are unavoidable reasons for withdrawal or discard.
The Library bears a legal responsibility to ensure the integrity of the national collections irrespective of format, form or subject of library collection. The Library recognizes the importance of preservation of library collection in terms of physical bibliography and significance of content and adheres to the principle of physical and content preservation. It aims at an idealized preservation through conservation and restoration treatments, fumigation and deoxidization, and migration, while safeguarding the access of contemporary and future users. Ancient publications, including antique and valuable books from Korea and abroad, rare books and costly foreign academic resources are given priority for preservation over general domestic resources. These resources are reproduced for permanent preservation through photo-printing or other alternative formats. In cases where the Library possesses resources of identical content in a variety of formats, including print, digital, offline- and online-electronic formats, it gives primary preservation priority to print items but strives to maintain the resources in each individual format whenever possible. The Library recognizes that different resources and collections may require different levels and types of care. In addition, the Library pursues partnerships with other national-level libraries and information centers, special libraries, university libraries and community libraries to ensure the preservation and management of library collection. The Library actively participates in domestic and international preservation efforts to ensure permanent access to digital information resources.
The Library does not generally withdraw or discard a national collection of library resources, excluding special cases. Resources will only be discarded when a request for withdrawal or discard is submitted by their resource producers and/or publishers; when they are lost in fire, war or a natural disaster; duplicated in multiple copies; or selected for removal by the Chief Librarian. In cases where items in the nation collection are to be withdrawn or discarded due to damage during storage or use, the Library secures as many alternative versions as is possible through photo-print reproduction, microfilming, digitization and migration. In addition, if the original version of an item in question is of considerable importance in terms of physical bibliography, the Library takes more aggressive measures to ensure its physical preservation and restoration.