collection development

n.The function within an archives or other repository that establishes policies and procedures used to select materials that the repository will acquire, typically identifying the scope of creators, subjects, formats, and other characteristics that influence the selection process.


Collection development originated as a library term but has been commonly employed by archives, and to a lesser extent by museums, since the 1980s. When used to refer to the policy resulting from the function, some archives use the synonymous term acquisition policy or scope of collections statement.


Sauer 2001, p. 308 Written collection development policies are advocated as a way to ensure that collections have coherent and well-defined focus, while cooperative collecting practices are seen as a way to ensure that related materials are not scattered among far-flung repositories and that repositories' scarce resources are not needlessly squandered on unnecessary competitiveness for collections.