There was a good deal of discussion about the language of the requirement and whether it was too closely linked to the museum standard. The question was raised as to whether the requirement was looking at a collecting policy or a collections development policy. The general consensus reasoned that these were two separate documents. Many felt that archive services should have a collecting policy which outlines their collecting remit. It was regarded as a key piece of documentation and one which should be supplied for accreditation. However, a number of participants also felt that it would be useful to have a separate collections development policy which identified and addressed gaps in their collections. It was felt that this document would compel services to think more strategically about acquiring collections. However, there was a concern that not many services had the resources to collect proactively and it was felt that a definition for “proactive” should be provided within the standard. It was also felt that a glossary would be needed to make it clear as to what the standard requires.
There were also concerns related to the fact that the standard was too focussed on the principal of accrual, rather than ensuring that collections were house appropriately elsewhere. There was also a comment that the language was too weighted to the museums standard throughout the entire standard and not just within this particular section.
One idea put forward focused on whether reference should be made to developing collections in consultation with other collecting organisations and stakeholders. It was felt that in so doing, collecting overlaps, particularly when material is dispersed, could be negotiated and avoided where possible. A number of participants commented that rather than consulting with one and other, the key was in raising awareness generally about where material is held and avoiding the creation of unsustainable repositories. It was felt that Accreditation could be a useful tool for mitigating the creation of new repositories and encourage funding bodies to concentrate on accredited repositories holding relevant material.
It was also suggested that 2.2.6 of the standard should also include “soft” technical capabilities, so that archives of a highly technical nature are not accessioned by services lacking the technical knowledge to manage them properly. It was also suggested that a level 2 requirement would be that organisations can clearly demonstrate and evidence why they have made collecting development decisions. It was hoped that such an approach would encourage the development of analytical collecting tools and help the professional understand where it is meeting, and where it is failing to meet, user needs.
- Accreditation should require a collection/acquisition policy
- Accreditation should consider requiring a collection development policy and treating its proactive implementation as a level 2 achievement. This policy should be developed in partneship and this should be evidenced
- Accreditation should have a detailed glossary
- Ensure that language is not weighted towards the museum sector
- Revisit 2.2.6 to ensure it is comprehensive in its requirements