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WEST Releases Updated Disclosure Policy

In 2019, the WEST governance committees held a Strategic Planning session and issued a number of recommendations for the WEST program to take action on in the coming years, including to review and revise the WEST Disclosure Policy and Validation Standards. WEST is pleased to announce that the Disclosure & Validation Standards (DVS) Working Group has completed its revision of the WEST Disclosure Policy, and that the WEST Operations and Collections Council (OCC) and WEST Executive Committee have reviewed and endorsed the recommended updates. The updated policy is now available on the WEST website; the major changes and actions Archivers should take, as well as a brief overview of the process for updating the policy and the anticipated impacts for the shared print community, are detailed below.

What are the big changes?

  • In keeping with the recommendation to migrate WEST retained holdings off of Archivers’ shared print second symbols, all WEST shared print commitments will be disclosed on the Archiver’s primary OCLC symbol(s). Shared print symbols will no longer be used for disclosure or resource sharing. Archivers may manage this process themselves, or may request that WEST manage this project on their behalf.
  • All existing and future WEST commitments will be registered through the OCLC Shared Print Registration Service. Archivers may register their commitments themselves or may request that WEST and CRL manage registration of their retained materials on their behalf. 
  • The collection scope has been updated: the definition of ‘backfile’ has been modified from v.1-2015 to v.1-2020. Moving forward, the WEST governance committees will routinely review this definition and update it as appropriate.
  • The disclosure requirements for Archive Types now incorporate a “good/better/best” framework to describe minimum requirements for archiving while also providing encouragement and guidance on recording voluntary activities that might take place during archiving. Archivers are encouraged to disclose any voluntary archiving activities they might engage in above and beyond the minimum requirements for the Archive Type. For all Archive Types, the “better” and “best” categories are aspirational, in keeping with WEST’s status as a leader in the shared print community. Each level presumes completion of the previous level.

What does my institution need to do?

WEST Non-Archive Holders do not need to take any action. WEST Archive Holders and Archive Builders have two required actions, which most institutions are already working on: 1) migrate retained holdings to your primary OCLC symbol from your shared print second symbol, and 2) register shared print commitments with OCLC’s Shared Print Registration Service. Both of these actions can be managed locally, or WEST can coordinate with OCLC and CRL on your behalf to migrate your holdings to your primary symbol and/or register your shared print commitments in OCLC. Please contact Anna Striker ( with any questions regarding these required actions or the different workflows options. 

The additional actions listed below are recommended to help support recording information about retention commitments and the voluntary work Archivers have engaged in during the archiving process that is of interest to the WEST membership and to the rest of the shared print community. 

  • Good (minimum requirement – already in progress): All Archive Holders and Archive Builders apply the updates related to shared print infrastructure: 
  • Better (recommended): Apply the updates related to disclosing voluntary validation (such as performing a shelf check to verify Bronze holdings) and other non-required activities (such as transfer to storage) to all future WEST commitments. Add this information to the committed materials’ records as it becomes available to minimize the need for retrospective updates.
  • Best (recommended): Apply the updates related to disclosing voluntary validation and other non-required activities (such as transfer to storage) to existing WEST commitments as they are able (considering existing documentation of these activities and local capacity). 

What was the process for making these updates?

The WEST governance committees issued the following recommendation during the 2019 Strategic Planning Session:

Recommendation 10: Convene a dedicated working group to review and revise as necessary the WEST Disclosure Policy and Validation Standards.

The Disclosure & Validation Standards Working Group, composed of representatives from Archive Holders and Archive Builders, the Operations and Collections Council, and the WEST project team, convened in the spring of 2020. Between the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021 the group reviewed and discussed the existing WEST Disclosure Policy and the larger existing and emerging shared print landscape. The resulting updated policy reflects current shared print infrastructure requirements and incorporates trends from the wider shared print community while still providing clear, practical guidance on what information to include in your records. The OCC provided feedback at various points in the drafting process. Due to the number of communications coming from WEST during this time and a desire to not cause confusion at the opening of the Cycle 10 Disclosure Period, the group decided against having a public comment period. Instead, a number of Archive Builders and Holders representing a cross section of WEST members were invited to provide feedback on the completed draft. 

As you are able to review and digest the new Disclosure Policy, WEST is very interested in hearing your feedback. To support that, we have created a feedback form; members are encouraged to use this form to provide comments and suggestions as you engage with the new WEST Disclosure Policy and other WEST policies.

How will this help WEST and shared print?

Periodically reviewing and updating our Disclosure Policy ensures that WEST maintains practices that respond to member needs and align with community standards and norms, especially as the infrastructure supporting shared print evolves. By adhering to these new requirements we are ensuring that WEST materials remain discoverable in this new environment, and that users have a consistent and clear experience finding and using shared print resources.

I still have questions.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the WEST project team! You may submit feedback through the new WEST feedback form, or email Anna Striker directly at