n. (also collections development)the set of activities and policies associated with acquiring and selecting archival resourcesKesner 1981, 120Successful collection development is very much a matter of image.Ham 1984, 13Cooperation also enables archivists to make better use of limited resources to compile a more representative record of the past. To build such a record, however, archivists must alter their perspective on collection development. They need to look beyond an essentially introspective and isolated approach to archival accessioning and consider how individual institutional efforts might contribute to a broader regional and national historical collecting process.Reed-Scott 1984, 24Only in the past few years has collection development evolved into collection management. Collection development focuses on the building of collections and implies a process of continuing growth.Berner 1984, 251Collection development is wholly different from that for traditional library materials. Negotiation and donation are the typical means of acquisition; special legal problems apply in addition, affecting both ownership and literary copyright. Assuming its archival value, the aim of collection development is authoritativeness of the documentation collected.Walle 1985, 117The deposit agreement is a viable tool for collection development which archivists should use with caution.Swain 2003, 145The social history movement of the 1970s called archival neutrality into question by bringing to the forefront issues concerning collection development and appraisal and legitimizing the use of oral history. Historians in the movement turned their attention from studying prominent political leaders and organizations to focusing on understanding society through the experiences of groups underdocumented by “mainstream” repositories, such as women, minorities, civil rights and peace activists, and laborers. To do so, historians needed materials about these subjects that the archives did not contain.Greene 2006, 11–12Rather than fearing open discussion of reappraisal and deaccessioning as an admission of utter failure in the appraisal, collection development, and possibly space allocation decisions of the past, we can and should embrace these difficult conversations as important to defining the significant, difficult, rigorous, professional, and necessary work of archivists and curators.Weideman 2006, 275Collection development now involves handling electronic records and also responding to increasing offers of significant collections of audiovisual materials, which the donors always seem to want digitized.Mason and Zanish-Belcher 2007, 344Women’s archives were founded on the premise that women’s lives and activities were not being adequately documented in traditional repositories and that women’s archives turned collection development on its head in the 1970s by insisting that the papers of women be preserved and made accessible to researchers.DeRidder, Presnell, and Walker 2012, 146In our organization, digital collection development is a cross-departmental effort, requiring shared goals, coordination, constant communication, monitored work flows, and respect for one another’s competing priorities.Grimm and Noriega 2013, 103This kind of hands-on assistance to community members is critical to stabilizing a collection, and, as such, constituted both an act of community relations and a professional obligation vis-à-vis collection development.Wakimoto, Hansen, and Bruce 2013, 442More so than in other archives, community members dictate collection development in community archives.Coyner and Pringle 2014, 477Moreover, in an eagerness to demonstrate a progressive, social justice approach to archival collection development, archivists must be careful that they do not attempt to misappropriate the voices of underdocumented communities.Hughes-Watkins 2018a, 10The evaluation indicated that Kent State’s Special Collections and Archives had a scarcity of records in this area [Black student activism] and that the majority of the documents were administrative in nature with very little collection development in the area of documents from the viewpoint of African American students and their organizations.
The term collection development originated in the library profession, but archivists adopted it in the 1970s and 1980s. Collection development can be performed both within an institution and in collaboration with other institutions or communities.