Special Collections Collection Development Policy
Collecting GuidelinesTeaching and educational programs at Cal Poly and users of the Special Collections:
- Developing existing strengths within its own collections,
- Identifying and filling gaps in the collections,
- Identifying relationships to existing collections which reinforce the new materials' significance, and
- Complementing the Kennedy Library's general collection.
- Maintaining awareness of existing strengths of other institutions collecting in similar areas to this department's collections, and
- Avoiding excessive competition or costly duplication of materials whenever possible.
- Considering the condition and integrity of the materials;
- Considering the volume and media of the materials; and
- Refusing photocopies of primary source materials.
- Accepting only materials for which the department has or will acquire the resources to house, process, access or preserve according to national professional standards; and
- Soliciting endowment funds from selected donors, if, in the opinion of the Head of Special Collections or the Kennedy Library's Advancement Director, such cultivation is warranted.
Formats of Primary Source Materials Collected
Special Collections acquires through gift or purchase unpublished original materials, including, but not limited to, letters, diaries, art and architectural drawings, reports, business records, journals, photographs, motion pictures and other visual media, literary manuscripts, maps, sound recordings, and other materials.
Manuscripts Subject Areas Collected
- Personal papers, business records, and architectural drawings of architects and landscape architects documenting the built environment of California, with a special emphasis on California architects;
- Original documents, photographs, and other visual media documenting the intellectual, multicultural, social, political and economic aspects of local, regional, and state history;
- Original materials relating to Julia Morgan;
- Original materials relating to W.R. Hearst; and
- Original materials relating to the history, growth and development of California Polytechnic State University and its institutional predecessors.
Rare, Limited Edition, and Other Books Subject Areas Collected
- Works on the intellectual, multicultural, social, political and economic aspects of local, regional, and state history;
- Works on architects, architecture, landscape architecture, environmental design, and the built environment of California, with a special emphasis on California architects;
- Works on fine printing, graphic arts, and books as art objects;
- Examples of letterpress and handmade books by California artists and standing orders with the following presses: Arion, Bird and Bull, Heyeck, Ninja, Perishable, Robin Price, Turkey, and Yolla Bolly;
- Books, brochures, and other printed works on all aspects of Julia Morgan;
- Books, broadsides, caricatures and other printed works on all aspects of W.R. Hearst;
- Books published by members of the Cal Poly faculty;
- Printed materials of intrinsic or extrinsic value transferred from the general stacks to Special Collections at the discretion of the Head of Special Collections; and
- Retrospective acquisitions, but not to the exclusion of materials currently available. Materials already being received through normal acquisitions procedures will not be acquired by the Special Collections Department, except for those items considered to be key departmental reference sources or small editions of locally produced books on town and business histories.
Materials are defined as deaccessioned when they are removed formally and permanently from the collections, or when there is a legal transfer of ownership or a permanent disposal. The deaccession of materials in manuscript and archival collections is governed by different principles from those for general research collections. Because of the primacy of preserving special collections materials in their original format and the role of special collections as repositories for cultural history, Special Collections carefully assesses all materials before accepting them to lessen the likelihood of deaccession. Valid reasons remain, however, for deaccessioning materials held in Special Collections.
The Rare Book and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries included a lengthy set of guidelines for deaccession of materials in Standards for Ethical Conduct for Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Librarians, with Guidelines for Institutional Practice in Support of the Standards, 2nd edition, 1992. The following policy for deaccession of materials from Special Collections incorporates and upholds the standards established by RBMS for the ethical deaccessioning of materials from Special Collections.
Guidelines for the Deaccession of Materials
- When considering deaccession of rare books and manuscripts, Special Collections weighs carefully the interests of the public for which it holds the collections in trust, the interests of the scholarly and cultural community, and Special Collections' own mission and resources.
- Special Collections will consider any legal restrictions, the necessity for possession of valid title, and the donor's intent in the broadest sense.
- Procedures for the deaccession or disposal of materials will be at least as rigorous as those for purchasing and should be governed by the same basic principles. The decision to dispose of materials must be made only after full and scrupulous consideration of the public interest and the needs of researchers.
- Mandatory restrictions on disposition which accompanied a donation will be observed unless it can be shown clearly by appropriate legal procedures that adherence to them is impossible or substantially detrimental to Cal Poly. When statements of donor's preferences accompany an acquisition, any departure from them will be carefully considered and negotiated with the donor or the donor's heirs or settled by appropriate legal procedures.
- Procedures for deaccession of "materials found in collection," for which no record of the gift or its terms exist, shall be governed by county and state regulations for unclaimed property. Thus, "materials found in collection" become the property of the archives after seven years of documented continuous ownership.
- Responsibility to the needs and reputation of Special Collections requires that, in preparing for and accomplishing any deaccession, Special Collections will take care to define and internally state the purpose of the deaccession, to avoid any procedure which may detract from the Library's reputation for honesty and responsible conduct, and to carry out the entire process in a way which will not detract from public perception of its responsible stewardship. The following points must be taken into consideration:
- Special Collections will insure that the method of deaccession will result in furthering the agreed purpose of the deaccession.
- Special Collections will disclose to the potential new owner or intermediary agent any action, such as the retention of a photocopy of the material, which may affect the monetary or scholarly value of the material.
- Special Collections will not allow materials from its collections to be acquired privately by any library employee, officer, or volunteer, unless they are sold publicly and with complete disclosure of their history.
- Due consideration should be given to the library community in general when disposing of items. Sales to, or exchanges between, institutions will be explored as well as disposal through the trade.