Course:2: Acquiring Your Collections
Lesson:Lesson 1: What Is a Collection Policy and What Does It Do?
Topic:Lesson One Introduction

Lesson 1: What Is a Collection Policy and What Does It Do? or What's the Big Deal About Having a Collections Policy?


In this lesson, you'll find out how and why to write an effective collections policy. We'll:

  • Provide you with sample collection policies from various organizations
  • Help you assess your organization's capabilities and resources
  • Practice decision-making about potential items to accept or decline for the ABC Department of Archives

What is a Collection Policy?

A Collection Policy is a practical statement that defines:

  • What your organization should collect
  • How it should collect
  • How to dispose of collections that are no longer valuable to your organization

There are common elements to all collection policies, but the key to an effective policy is that it takes into account your unique purpose and context.

Your Collection Policy may change over time to reflect changes in your organization. As you write, keep in mind that your goal is to create a practical document, based on a realistic assessment of your program's scope and capabilities.

Lesson length icon

This lesson will take about 15 minutes to complete.


 Definitoin icon

A Collection Policy informs staff, users, and other interested parties about why and how your program collects historical records. Through this policy your organization defines the scope of its collections; specifies the subjects and format of historical records it will accept into its collections; and explains the process it will use to acquire and dispose of records.