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Archives Acquisition Policy
Policy Type: Public
Authority/Created: Library Board
Date Created: November 21, 2012
Scope of Acquisition
The Whitby Archives collects, preserves, interprets, and makes available for research unpublished recorded information in a variety of media, including:
• Correspondence, files, registers, indexes, bound volumes, maps, plans, drawings, diagrams, photographs, films, paintings, pictorial and graphic works, microforms, sound recordings, electronic records, moving images, organizational and business records, audiovisual and other materials related to the cultural, ethnic, religious, political, economic, social, and historical heritage of the Whitby, Brooklin and surrounding communities.
• Records pertaining to the Whitby Public Library and Archives.
The Archives normally will not accept or pursue:
• books, published materials, and unless there are special or compelling reasons for them to accompany acquired archival records.
• materials which do not fit into the mandate of the Archives
• materials whose use would not be well-served by locating them in the Archives
• copies of materials in other repositories, including the Whitby Public Library collection, unless the materials are in jeopardy or the copies are significantly related to particular materials already held by the Archives
• materials in formats which the Archives cannot handle adequately
• materials with donation stipulations that would undermine the principles of open and equal access
Acquisition of records will take account of:
• the authorized acquisition mandates of other archival institutions in the Durham Region and beyond
• the in-house resources required to make the material available for research purposes in a reasonable period of time
• the extent and terms of any donor or other restrictions attached with the materials
• the legal rights of the donor to place the records in the Archives
• the relationship of the item(s) to the strengths and weaknesses in the existing holdings
• the availability of appropriate storage facilities and the physical condition of the records in relation to the probability of being able to conserve them for a reasonable period of time.
• Acquisition proceeds from, depends upon, and is determined by appraisal; no materials shall be acquired except further to an authorized appraisal process.
• The ruling principle of acquisition shall always be provenance, not medium, genre, form or subject matter.
• The donor has agreed to the terms and conditions of the Agreement for Donation.
• The records of a corporate body shall not be acquired if that corporate body, or its successor, either maintains or has designated an institutional archival repository other than Whitby Archives and Public Library. If the records of any such corporate body are held, then they may be subject to replevin.
• Neither staff nor the Library Board need endorse every item presented for acquisition or appraisal. Staff will make every effort to ensure that all areas of the collection reflect community needs and not personal interests or beliefs.
General Appraisal and Acquisition Criteria
Appraisal decisions, both for purchased material and for donations, and for all formats should take the following into consideration:
• the present and potential relevance of the subject to the mandate of the Archives
• the reputation and/or significance of the person(s) or institution(s) responsible for the creation of the materials
• the strength or weakness of the collection in a particular area
• community demand for a subject or type of material
• the availability of material through other institutions
• the suitability of physical form and construction
• budget considerations
Responsibility for Acquisition
Final responsibility for archival selection rests with the Library CEO, who operates within the framework of policies approved by the Whitby Public Library Board. Appraisal and acquisition for archival collections may be delegated to individual staff members.
Acquisition of Material from Private Sources
The Archives’ preferred method of archival acquisition from private individuals or institutions is by donation, accompanied by a written Agreement for Donation. Any conditions or restrictions attached to a donation will be considered on their individual merit. The following areas are important to the determination of any private acquisition:
• Provenance: The Archives will exercise due diligence and make every effort not to acquire, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, any object or specimen unless the archivist is satisfied that the donor, vendor or lender has valid title to the material.
• Copyright: The Archives requires that the issue of copyright be clarified prior to any acquisition. Transfer of copyright interest to the Archives must be made in writing. If copyright interest is not to be transferred, then the Archives must be provided with the contact details of the holder so that reproduction queries can be forwarded on.
The Whitby Public Library does not provide evaluations of archival materials for tax deduction or other purposes.
Reappraisal of materials
Budget considerations, administrative changes, and community demand will all play a role in considering items for inclusion in the collection. As such change occurs items may be reappraised based on their continued relevance to the collection.
The Archives may occasionally be required to de-accession archival material due to condition, relevance, or space. The following procedures will apply:
• Transfer of Material to Other Institutions: All reasonable attempts will be made to transfer the records to an accredited museum, archive or library.
• Withdrawal of Material: On the failure of the above procedure, staff are permitted to discard the material.
De-accessioned materials will not be saved for specific patrons to be given or sold to them upon eventual withdrawal. Staff members wishing to collect archival material which falls within the broad mandate of the Archives through trade or purchase for their own personal use, enjoyment, or profit require the written permission of the CEO.
Access to Archival Material
Access to archival holdings will be governed by appropriate legislation. Restricted materials, due to donor restrictions or which contain sensitive or personal information will be accessible only for very limited research purposes and with an authorized research agreement. Processing and shelving of material shall not reflect a value judgment of the material itself. There will be no labeling of any item or of its online records to indicate a rating as to point of view or use of language. All materials will be shelved in their proper order, easily accessible to the public. The Archives assures free access to its holdings for all patrons with a valid research purpose under the supervision of the Archivist. No archival materials may be removed from the Archives Reading Room.
Patron suggestions are both welcomed and encouraged. Forms for this purpose are available at the Archives.
Patrons objecting to material held by the Archives may complete a Request for Reconsideration of Archival Material Form. The request will be formally reviewed by senior staff and the decision will be communicated to the requestor. Patrons who are not satisfied with the nature of the response will be invited to meet with the CEO and the staff review team. Patrons who are still not satisfied will be invited to make a deputation to the Library Board.
The Whitby Archives aims to make archival materials available in both print and electronic formats where possible or upon request. The nature of some collections may not lend themselves to conversion into an accessible format.
The Archives Acquisition Policy will be reviewed every five years by staff, with recommendations taken to the Library Board for approval.