n. (also collections management)the set of activities and policies associated with maintaining archival resourcesHam 1984, 13This concept of collection management offers archivists a new way of thinking about their work. The concept suggests that the basic archival functions (appraisal, accessioning, arrangement and description, and conservation) are not discrete, isolated activities but are rather parts of a multi-step process or continuum.Reed-Scott 1984, 23Collection management—the systematic, planned, documented process of building, maintaining, and preserving collections—provides effective tools to shape archival collections in the future. Specifically, it encompasses four components. Planning is the most essential function in collection management, and the development of a written collection development policy is a crucial step in this planning process. A second important aspect of collection management is efficient selection or acquisition of needed materials. The third component of collection management is the ongoing evaluation and analysis of collections. Finally, fundamental to collection management is the concept of cooperative collection development and resource sharing.Benedict 1984, 44Little has been written previously on the subject of collection management. Although the archival literature abounds with articles on appraisal, arrangement, and description principles, it is deficient in addressing problems of administration. Leonard Rapport has recently published a provocative article advocating reappraisal and deaccessioning as tools for archival management. Rapport’s article is the only one on the subject. Library literature, on the other hand, is filled with articles on collection management techniques such as reappraisal, weeding or withdrawal, and the controversial “zero growth” library concept. While this literature is instructive, and every archivist should be familiar with it, library solutions to collection management problems do not offer much guidance in dealing with unique documents.Samuels 1986, 113Critical to the success of collection management are defined collection strategies, active selection, and coordinated cooperative plans among libraries.Child 1990, 250Selection for preservation must be built into every aspect of a repository’s collections management, from the initial decision to acquire a collection onwards.Greene 2002, 48Certainly it reinforces the contention that deaccessioning is not only a good collection management tool for the reappraising repository, but a useful tool in the broader archival mission of making historically valuable material accessible to those who would value it most.Cunningham 2008, 533–534Digital archiving cannot just be end-of-life-cycle collection management. This brings us inevitably to the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model. (See Figure 1.) Within its limitations, the OAIS model is a good model for managing digital libraries.Harris and Stine 2011, 644We are confident that documenting and relating the life cycles of the collections (prior to and during their research use under our custody) in an integrated database will aid all aspects of collections management, while still acknowledging the important role of human decision making during archival processing.Joffrion and Fernández 2015, 211The respondents frequently commented that sharing expertise is a particularly effective and valuable feature of their collaborative efforts that continues to have impact on collections management practices and relationship building even after the projects conclude.Parilla and Ferriter 2016, 442–443The result is text that can be indexed for searching, which makes the content of digitized collections more readily discoverable by the public and researchers alike. Thus, the Transcription Center is one of a wider set of services and information technologies supporting collections management at the Smithsonian Institution, and it helps build access through existing infrastructure.O’Connell 2019, 214Without veiling complexities, The Future of Email Archives instead offers solutions to acknowledged challenges while simultaneously persuading its readers to be proactive participants in the collection management of email archives.Sweetser and Orchard 2019, 340ArchivesSpace provides collection management, discovery, and access functionalities as well as library and archival description standards for both collections (MARC, EAD) and authorities (EAC-CPF).
The term collection management originated in the library profession, but archivists adopted it in the 1970s and 1980s.