n.guidelines outlining the scope and selection of materials that support a repository’s missionKane 1953, 130There was one exception to the geographic, subject matter, and personal emphasis of the collecting policy.Kane 1953, 134Increasing bulk and a corresponding decrease in concentration of information are positive forces in shaping the collecting policy of the society.Eckert 1963, 186The collecting policy of the center was based on the need for research material in each of the eight fields mentioned above [personnel administration, human relations, collective bargaining, labor law, labor economics, labor history, social security, and industrial training].Cox 1966, 225Along with the question of scholarly accessibility under a 50-year rule, would not the collecting policy of a custodial agency naturally tend to favor manuscript items of greater age and farther distance behind the cutoff date, knowing that these would be of immediate use and not subject to restriction?Lamb 1970, 29First of all, I agree that stable archival institutions, properly staffed and equipped, with reasonable conditions of access and use, are prerequisites for collecting, and that well-defined collecting policies will promote cooperation and lessen competition.Henry 1980, 58The best guide is that criticism of archival collecting policies that has been leveled at the archival profession since 1970 by historians and archivists. Repositories, it has been said, have preserved a biased representation of American culture. Concerned with documenting the activities of the elite and powerful, white and male, archivists ignored women, minorities, working people, and the poor. Archival collecting policies should instead sample the records of the whole society; they should be comprehensive and should document the spectrum of American culture.Phillips 1984, 33Bruce Dearstyne reemphasized the points made in earlier literature: that systematic collecting priorities should be based on geographical areas, historical topics, or time periods and should build upon the strengths of the collection. He remarked that a well-developed collecting policy can guide the institution and also “permit the agency to gracefully decline unwanted items.”Phillips 1988, 37Few university administrators will ever attempt to learn about the collecting policies of the manuscripts department, but if those policies are written and endorsed officially, then the manuscript department can more ably combat political commitments which hamper the abilities of the department.Wilsted 1993, 30Each archives should have a collecting policy which guides its acquisition decisions.Wilsted 1993, 34Reappraisal—the need to review collections in light of current collecting policies and research demands and to make decisions about what should remain in the collection—is also a resulting factor from recent collecting excesses.Olliff 1998, 62Beginning in the 1970s some archivists called on the profession to develop unified appraisal theories and proactive collecting policies and to abandon its traditional, passive, haphazard collecting methods.Wagner 1999, 109On the surface, a documentation plan resembles a collecting policy or a records retention and disposition schedule.Greene 2002, 40The processes of defining collecting policies and appraisal guidelines involve (among other things) reviewing the repository’s current holdings.Marshall 2002, 232Collecting policies are commonly referred to by a variety of terms, such as collection policy, collection development policy, acquisition policy, or documentation policy.Boles 2005, 64Because of this, theme-oriented achives [sic] frequently use a collecting policy to refine broad, enabling mandates.Schmidt and Law 2009, 54While collecting policies are important tools for making appraisal decisions, the AU Archives, like most other university archives, has never addressed faculty papers in its published collecting policies.Stanford and Meyer 2011, 12In some cases, comparing the collecting policy of the repository with the appraisal policy of the organization may show areas where the repository has been less discriminating in its collecting than it needs—or ought—to be. Therefore, working with donor volunteers may offer a much-needed re-examination of collecting policies that are vaguely formed or articulated.Buehn 2013, 2It is helpful to have a defined collecting policy to aid archivists in initially deciding which materials should be acquired, preventing potential deaccessioning later.Fisher 2015, 104An inflexible collecting policy or a rigid interpretation of an acquisition mandate might prompt a prospective donor to find a more accommodating repository, one that respects the integrity of the whole fonds and is willing to invest time and effort in its preservation.Hight et al. 2017, 3Similar to traditional archives, it is important to develop a collecting policy for Web content to maintain the scope of what is collected and to plan storage space requirements by considering the size of certain media and formats, the extent of certain domains, and the complexity of certain topics or events.Sheffield 2018, 114, fn. 58In December 2017, the Library of Congress announced that it could no longer manage the volume of tweets now produced through the Twitter platform and would amend its collecting policy to accept only a selection of these records.Braun 2019, 1Their collecting policies were thoroughly democratic: to obtain publications, photographs, journals, films, and ephemera documenting the daily lives of ordinary gay men and lesbian women who historically had been rendered invisible.
For decades, the archives profession has not had consensus about the content of a collecting policy or even the proper terminology for such a policy. Archivists borrowed the idea from the library profession and developed it with much debate throughout the 1970s and 1980s.Collecting policy is synonymous with collection development policy, acquisition policy, and collection policy as well as other less common terms collection development statement and documentation policy, which was coined by William J. Maher in The Management of College and University Archives (Society of American Archivists, 1992). Currently, collecting policy is the more widely used term in the archival literature of North America.Generally, a collecting policy defines the scope of existing collections and also describes processes such as deselection, retention, preservation, and storage. It provides guidance for archives staff, organizations and individuals interested in donating, and other collecting repositories.