Collection Development Policy

Subject Areas for Collecting: The Broad Perspective

Special Collections and University Archives subject area concentrations emanate from major research/education areas conducted at Iowa State University. They are documented through the identification and selection of rare and unique documentary materials created and accumulated by Iowa State University and its members as well as from individuals and organizations external to the university. The collecting interests and the extent of collecting activity in them increases and decreases over time as academic research programs develop and diminish at Iowa State University. The purpose of this approach is to serve well the Iowa State University research community and to bring to it the rare and unique research materials these users require.

 

Organization of Departmental Collections:

The Department's collections are subdivided into three main groups of materials: manuscript collections, rare books, and university archives.

  • University archives are those materials created by individuals and groups working directly for or affiliated with Iowa State University and includes administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
  • Manuscript collections are archival materials that are produced by private individuals and organizations generally not affiliated with the University.
  • Rare books are published materials collected by the ISU Libraries that generally older and/or rarer than those found in the Library's general collection.

 

Archival and Manuscript Collections for Considerations

Geographical Considerations:

Whenever possible, efforts to document the primary and secondary subject areas outlined in section II will adhere to the following geographic criteria, appearing in rank order:

  • Within the State of Iowa
  • Within the Great Plains/U.S. Midwest (grasslands and temperate deciduous forest geographic subregions)
  • Within the United States

Record Formats and Chronological Considerations:

Non-print areas (university archives, manuscripts, WISE Archives, photographic and audio-visual materials), will broadly include 19th through 21st century materials, being weighted more heavily toward the 20th and 21st century. Nineteenth century and early 20th century materials will be collected when opportunities present themselves.

The collecting of born digital and electronic records will be based on the subject areas outlined below, as well as administrative and institutional requirements, preservation considerations, publication and reference use, and potential curriculum needs.


The following are the primary subject areas of collecting activity

Life Sciences

  • Plant and Crop Sciences
  • Zoology and Animal Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Aspects of Chemistry (i.e. organic and biochemistry)
  • Environmental and Ecological Sciences
  • Landscape Architecture

Agriculture and Rural Life

  • Animal Sciences
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Soil and Seed Sciences
  • Crop Sciences
  • Entomology/Pest Control
  • Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Technology
  • Food/Nutritional Sciences
  • Rural Life, particularly economic and social/family development

Engineering (Primary Areas):

  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Civil Engineering and Transportation
  • Energy and Electrical Power Management (i.e. energy management, consumption, efficiency, production, conversion and transmission, primarily of a non-nuclear nature)

The following documentation areas are no longer actively acquired by the Iowa State University Library Special Collections Department:

  1. Papers and records relating to the Evolution/Creation debate
  2. Statistics-related papers and records unrelated to the American Statistical Association
  3. Underground Comics and Science Fiction publication

Rare Books Considerations

Geographical considerations:

The majority of current collections are from North American and western Europe; however, material from other areas may be considered.

Chronological considerations:

Preference for early editions of books published in the 15th through 19th centuries. Books published in the early 20th century may be considered for inclusion depending on the field, historical significance, value, and other features.

Artists' books: no chronological limits.

Iowa Cookbooks: preference is given to books published before 1975; however, consideration may be given to more recently published works.

Language considerations:

Books of all languages are considered.

 

Subject areas – Primary:

Agriculture

  • General works
  • Plant Culture
  • Gardening and Landscape Architecture
  • Animal Culture
  • Veterinary Medicine

Science

  • Astronomy
  • Physics
  • Chemistry and Alchemy
  • Geology
  • Natural History
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Zoology

Technology

  • Mechanical engineering and machinery
  • Hydraulic engineering
  • Agricultural engineering
  • Architectural engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mining and metallurgy

Subject areas – Secondary:

  • Artist’s books
  • Costume, dress, and fashion
  • Domestic science, home economics, and household management
  • Incunabula
  • Iowa cookbooks
  • Literature: Charles Dickens

 

Inactive Collecting Areas

The following documentation areas are no longer actively acquired by the Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives:

  • Papers and records relating to the Evolution/Creation debate
  • Statistics-related papers and records unrelated to the American Statistical Association
  • Underground Comics and Science Fiction publication

Accepting Collection Materials

  • Transfer of Records Procedure: The University Archives will accept the transfer of university records which are scheduled for permanent retention only. It will not accept records which are scheduled for destruction. University records considered for transmittal to the University Archives for permanent retention must be reviewed by the University Archivist prior to transfer acceptance. Donations of manuscript collections and rare books must be approved by curator before transfer.
  • Deeds of Gift: Special Collections and University Archives will not accept materials without a legal transfer of title through a deed of gift, transfer of records form, or other official acknowledgement.
  • Loans and Deposits: Special Collections and University Archives will not accept materials on loan or for deposit.
  • Closed Collections: Special Collections and University Archives will not accept materials that are closed to the public in perpetuity; all restricted materials will be designated with an opening date prior to donation/transfer acceptance by Special Collections and University Archives.
  • Deaccessioning: Materials that do not reflect the Special Collections and University Archives' collecting scope or do not possess sufficient archival value may be deaccessioned, subject to the documented terms of acquisition, university regulations, and state and federal laws. Duplicate materials may be routinely discarded as well.

 

Maintaining the Collection Development Guidelines:

Revision of Policy

Special Collections and University Archives reserves the right to amend its collection development policy at any time.

Procedures for Monitoring and Reviewing Collection Development Guidelines:

This collection development policy is designed to serve the mission and goals of Iowa State University, its Library, and its Special Collections and University Archives. In order to determine the effectiveness of this policy Special Collections and University Archives periodically will review the acquisitions, user records, and deaccessions. The policy will be re-evaluated and changed as needed to meet the goals of Iowa State University, its Library, and its Special Collections and University Archives.