Collection Development Policy

I. Mission

The mission of the Center for Archival Collections (CAC) is to acquire, preserve, and provide access to archival and reference materials that support BGSU's teaching, learning, research, and service objectives.

              Acquire. The CAC acquires materials within a defined subject scope that includes the history of BGSU, the Northwest Ohio region, the Great Lakes region and connecting waterways, student affairs and higher education, and rare books.  Within its collecting scope, the CAC acquires materials across physical and digital formats including, but not limited to, unpublished documents and manuscripts, photographs, rare books, publications, newspapers, ephemera, and audio and video recordings.  All acquisitions are made at the discretion of the CAC. 

             Preserve. The CAC is committed to ensuring the long-term preservation of its physical and digital holdings so that they may continue to be accessible for future generations.  Physical materials are housed in appropriate containers and enclosures, and conservation procedures are applied to damaged, fragile, or vulnerable items.  Digital materials are stored on secure servers that are administered according to standard practices involving data storage, security, and integrity. 

             Provide Access. The CAC is committed to providing access to its holdings to BGSU's undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and administrators; visiting scholars; and the general public.  Descriptions of materials created in accordance with professional standards are available on the CAC website and the University Libraries' online public access catalog (Maurice).  Materials are available for use at the CAC on the fifth floor of the Wm. T. Jerome Library, where select materials are also regularly exhibited.  To the fullest extent possible, the CAC also makes digital surrogates of materials available online. 

The CAC is also committed to engaging current and future researchers and promoting its holdings through outreach activities.  Such activities include regular tours, classroom instruction sessions, and collaborations with faculty and students that incorporate CAC materials into undergraduate and graduate curricula. The CAC similarly seeks collaborations with the surrounding Northwest Ohio community, historical societies, museums, public libraries, and genealogy groups and organizations.

II. Primary Functions

The CAC accomplishes its mission through the following primary functions:

  1. Acquire, organize, describe, preserve, and make accessible materials within the CAC's collecting scope.
  2. Administer BGSU's records management program to ensure the systematic retention and preservation of University records.
  3. Serve research and scholarship by actively promoting, making accessible and encouraging the use of materials by the BGSU community, visiting scholars, and the general public.
  4. Serve as an educational resource to help stimulate and encourage teaching and learning with primary sources across all collegiate and grade levels, and provide instruction regarding the educational value of primary sources.
  5. Provide specialized training and professional enrichment opportunities for students within library and archival sciences.
  6. Promote research related to and scholarship emerging from the CAC's five collecting divisions.

III. Collection Development

The CAC seeks to acquire primary source materials that fall within its topical collecting scope, are deemed to be of enduring historical value, and support the teaching, learning, research, and service goals of BGSU.

The CAC’s collection development activities are conducted across five divisions, including University Archives, Northwest Ohio Collections, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, National Student Affairs Archives, and Rare Books and Special Collections.  These divisions are further described below.

1.    University Archives

The CAC is home to the University Archives, the final repository for the historical records of BGSU.  The primary purpose of the University Archives is to preserve and provide open access to University records that document the history of BGSU from its founding in 1910 to the present day.  These records include those dealing with administrative, business, academic, and athletic matters; faculty and student organizations; university publications, including the BG News and the Key Yearbook; and photographs.  The University Archives prefers to collect records in their native format, whether it be analog or digital, although reformatting may occur for preservation purposes at the discretion of the Head Librarian/University Archivist.

The CAC primarily acquires records for the Univeristy Archives through its administration of BGSU's Records Management Program.  Please note that by the authority of BGSU's Board of Trustees, and in compliance with Section 149.33 of the Ohio Revised Code, all University offices are required to comply with BGSU's Records Management Program.  University offices transferring records or other historic items to the University Archives should do so in accordance with departmental retention schedules and/or the University general retention schedule.  Please contact the Head Librarian/University Archivist or Records Manager/Assistant University Archivist before sending materials.  All acquisitions are made at the discretion of the Head Librarian/University Archivist.  No confidential records will be accepted. 

The following materials are examples of the types of materials the University Archives collects from academic and administrative units of BGSU:

       a.  Official minutes of the Board of Trustees.

      b.  Records of the Office of the President, including executive correspondence, subject files, and reports.

       c.  Records of the President's Cabinet, including correspondence, curriculum development records, accreditation files, subject files, and reports. Offices included in the President's Cabinet can be viewed on BGSU's  organizational chart of university leadership.

        d.  Records of the Registrar including class schedules, student directories, and other reports issued on a regular basis.

        e.  Minutes and reports of all major academic and administrative commissions, councils, and committees.

        f.  Departmental records, including minutes, annual reports, program reviews, and other historically significant records.

        g.  Annual budgets.

        h.  Statistics regarding grades, enrollment, graduation, and race/ethnicity.

        i.  Records of student organizations, including minutes, reports, membership lists, publications, photographs, and audio and visual media.

        j.    All promotional and internal publications, newsletters, and booklets distributed in the name of BGSU.  This includes but is not limited to catalogs, commencement programs, special bulletins, yearbooks, student newspapers, directories, news releases, posters and ephemeral material.

        k.  Photographs, negatives, slides, audio and video, and other media significantly documenting BGSU.

        l.  Maps, prints, and architectural drawings/records documenting the physical history of BGSU.

        m.  Preservation copies of microfilm containing vital permanent records relating to the history of BGSU.


2.    Northwest Ohio Collections

The CAC's Northwest Ohio Collections contain primary source materials that document the history of the Northwest Ohio region from 1820 to the present day.  Acquisitions within this division include but are not limited to organizational records, personal and family papers, photographs, newspapers, published materials, and audio and video media.  Subject strengths include the history of politics and government, organized labor and labor activism, religion and religious organizations, agriculture, the American Civil War, and women and women's organizations.

Acquisitions for the CAC's Northwest Ohio Collections are focused on materials relating to the nineteen counties that comprise the region recognized as Northwest Ohio, including, but not limited to, Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood, and Wyandot counties.

3.    Historical Collections of the Great Lakes

The main purpose of the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes (HCGL) is to collect, preserve, and make available historical materials documenting the Great Lakes region and connecting waterways.  The collection focuses on 1812 to the present with the bulk of the collection documenting the years from 1860 to the present. The HCGL seeks materials related to commercial shipping, shipbuilding, navigation, maritime law, commercial fishing, shipwrecks, yachting, labor history, popular literature, freshwater ecology, maritime culture, and the history of the Great Lakes ports.  Types of materials collected include manuscripts, newspaper clippings, photographs, maps, vessel data sheets, naval architectural drawings, and published materials. 

4.    National Student Affairs Archives

The National Student Affairs Archives (NSAA) is dedicated to the records of student affairs and higher education organizations.  The CAC established the NSAA in 1982 in recognition of BGSU's strong historical contributions to research, education, and professional training in the fields of student affairs and higher education administration, and since that time the NSAA has developed into a major repository for the historical records of national, regional, and state (Ohio/Michigan) organizations for professionals in these fields.  Additional materials in the NSAA include the personal papers of individuals who have been active in the fields of student affairs and/or higher education administration, and relevant published materials.  While the CAC does not limit its NSAA acquisitions to a specific time period, current holdings in this division date from 1903 to the present day.

5.    Rare Books & Special Collections

The Rare Books and Special Collections division collects, preserves, and makes accessible to researchers primary, rare, or unique materials that support the research and curriculum needs of the BGSU community and scholars.  Current collection foci include American poetry from the mid-20th century to the present day, publications produced by the Beat Generation, notable graduates of the BGSU Creative Writing Program, and poetry by Northwestern Ohio authors. With the addition of The David D. and Patricia A. Anderson Center for Midwestern Literature Collection, a jointly held collection between the Browne Popular Culture Library and the Rare Books and Special Collections division, Midwestern authors from the late 19th century through present day are collected.  Contemporary artists' books are acquired to expand the current artists' books collection.  Primary and secondary resources supporting the history of print and the materiality and construction of the book in the Western world provide crucial support for inquiry into the collection; emphasis on acquisition of these materials is placed on exceptional pieces including notable examples of book binding, book production, or book decoration from the 19th century to present day.

The collection has been historically strong in early imprints, small and private press books, and first editions of notable literature from the 18th-20th centuries.  These strengths are still maintained and supported for teaching and research, but acquisition is now focused in different directions. 

IV. Material Types and Formats

Within its collecting scope, the CAC seeks to acquire a wide range of material types, including unpublished documents and manuscripts, photographs, rare books, publications, newspapers, ephemera, and audio and video recordings.  Collected materials can be in either physical or digital formats.

Although the content of an item is the most significant factor in determining whether or not the CAC chooses to acquire it, the specific condition or format of the item also plays a role during the appraisal process.  For instance, materials such as scrapbooks will be evaluated for condition or content before being added to the collection.  Additionally, barring certain exceptions, the CAC generally does not accept materials in obsolete formats that present significant migration issues, or are contained on media for which the CAC does not have playback equipment. Examples of media for which the CAC does not have appropriate viewing or playback equipment include 8-inch floppy disks, 5 1/4-inch floppy disks, and nitrate film.

Ideally, digital objects should exist in open-source, non-proprietary, technology-neutral file formats, such as PDF for text-based files, TIFF for digital images, MP3 for audio files, and MPEG4 for video files.  The CAC may decide to accession other digital file formats, even if they are not ideal, at its discretion.

Finally, in order to protect and facilitate the long-term preservation of its extant holdings, the CAC does not accept items containing mildew or mold.

V. Acquisition of Historical Materials

The Head Librarian/University Archivist, in collaboration with CAC staff, has the primary responsibility for CAC collection development.  CAC materials are normally acquired in the following manner:

1.    Custodial Transfer of University Records - Custodial transfer is the primary means by which most university records are acquired by the CAC. Custodial transfer applies only to public records in which legal custody has transferred from one office to another. Only records identified as historical on a department's record retention schedule and/or on the BGSU general record retention schedule, or otherwise deemed historical by the Head Librarian/University Archivist or Records Manager/Assistant University Archivist, are eligible for custodial transfer to and permanent preservation in the University Archives. Offices are to follow instructions on departmental retention schedules and/or the general retention schedule, which are available on the CAC website. The Records Manager/Assistant University Archivist must be contacted by an office prior to the transfer of records. Records or other items transferred to the University Archives that are appraised as non-historical will be disposed of in accordance with retention schedules, or will be transferred back to the office of origin.

2.    Donation - Should you have knowledge of or wish to donate material that fits within the CAC’s collecting scope, please contact the Head Librarian/University Archivist, first by telephone, mail, or email. It is policy to encourage donation of materials which are in keeping with the scope of the CAC’s collections. Gifts of materials with mixed historical values may be accepted if the Head Librarian/University Archivist has the right to discard or otherwise remove unwanted items. The Head Librarian/University Archivist reserves the right to decline donations which are in poor condition or carry stringent donor restrictions.  All donations must be represented on an Instrument of Gift form that includes a description of the materials; name, address, and signature of donor; date of donation; description of any restrictions attached with the donation; and signature of a CAC staff member and the Head Librarian/University Archivist accepting the donation.

3.   Reformatting – Materials can also be acquired through the process of reformatting.  In cases where original records cannot be donated, the CAC Preservation Lab can digitize and/or microfilm the records and accession the reformatted surrogates.  Examples of records the CAC has acquired through reformatting include newspapers, local government records, scrapbooks, and records of universities, historical societies and museums, and churches.

VI. Access to Collections

With very few exceptions, the CAC will provide complete and universal access to all its collections.  Material identified as closed to public access, as stipulated in the donor agreement, will be noted as such. Similarly, exceptions will be made for official University records closed to public access as stipulated by law, University policy, or the appropriate records retention and disposition schedule.

VII. Cooperative Agreements and Understandings

The CAC works cooperatively with private and public organizations engaged in the identification, acquisition, and preservation of historical primary sources. The CAC will refer donors or potential donors with collections that do not fit within the guidelines of this collection policy to a more appropriate repository. Exceptions will be made for collections of significant historical value that cannot be accepted or maintained adequately by a more appropriate repository.

VIII. Deaccessioning

In collaboration with CAC staff, the Head Librarian/University Archivist will periodically review university and non-university acquisitions to determine whether or not they should remain within the collections. If the CAC determines that a particular collection warrants deaccessioning, every effort will be made to transfer custody and ownership to another repository or the donor prior to deaccessioning.  Such review and collections management practices will be made in accordance with professional guidelines and standards, including the Society of American Archivists' Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning, and the American Library Association's Standards for Ethical Conduct for Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Librarians, with Guidelines for Institutional Practice in Support of the Standards.

This policy last updated August 1, 2018

Updated: 06/05/2023 09:27AM