Laurier Archives and Special Collections Acquisition Policy

Last updated: March 21, 2022

Archives and Special Collections Acquisition Policy

Mandate

Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires, preserves, and makes accessible the historic, academic, and cultural heritage of Wilfrid Laurier University and its predecessor organizations. Laurier Archives and Special Collections is the official repository of Wilfrid Laurier University’s records of enduring legal, evidential, or historic value. This includes records created by the University’s governing bodies and their committees, faculties, departments, administrative and operational units as well as records of student organizations.

In addition, Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires archival material, records of individuals and organizations in specific subject areas, rare books, and related historical material in support of teaching, learning, and research at Wilfrid Laurier University. Laurier Archives and Special Collections serves the University community, including Laurier students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as researchers and scholars from other institutions, and members of the public, both locally and beyond.

Purpose

This policy identifies the kinds of material that Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires, and the general terms and conditions that affect their acquisition.

Existing Collection Strengths

Laurier Archives and Special Collections has built strong holdings in several areas and is interested in collecting material that fall within, or complement, the following collection areas of strength:

  • Wilfrid Laurier University official records
  • Environmental conservation movement in Canada
  • Lutheranism in Canada
  • Music in Canada
  • History of Waterloo Region
  • Canadian polling data

Current Collecting Areas

For comprehensive collecting areas, Laurier Archives and Special Collections will attempt to acquire records that document all aspects of the collecting area. For research collecting areas, Laurier Archives and Special Collections seeks to establish or consolidate a collection that will support original research but is not exhaustive.

University Records

Laurier Archives and Special Collections collects the corporate records of Wilfrid Laurier University and its predecessors, including the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada.

Comprehensive Collecting Area: Laurier Archives and Special Collections receives official records including the minutes and reports of the Board of Governors, Registrar, Senate and Senate Standing Committees, and other governing bodies. The Archives will attempt to collect all University publications including calendars, catalogues, magazines, newsletters, and press releases. Laurier Archives and Special Collections will also collect some administrative records of University departments, offices, and institutes, as outlined in University policy 10.4 (Records Management).

Research Collecting Area: Laurier Archives and Special Collections documents student life by acquiring student publications; records of select student organizations; as well as papers and memorabilia from select students or alumni that relates directly to their experiences at Laurier.

Areas Not Collected: Laurier Archives and Special Collections does not collect records documenting research conducted by Laurier faculty unless it relates to one of the collecting areas of strength. As a result, faculty papers will be acquired very selectively.

Special Collections

Laurier Archives and Special Collections collects archival material that falls into five broad categories: environmental conservation movement in Canada, Lutheranism in Canada, music in Canada, history of Waterloo Region, and Canadian polling data.

Comprehensive Collecting Areas: Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires the organizational records of national environmental organizations and local conservation organizations, as well as the personal papers of environmental activists and scholars who study the environment and resource management in Canada. Organizational and personal records on the following topics will also be considered: water resources in Canada, management of Canada’s northern resources, and biosphere reserves in Canada. Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires the records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and corporate records of the Martin Luther University College at Wilfrid Laurier University. Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires polling data and reports from the polling firm Ipsos Canada.

Research Collecting Areas: Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires select records documenting music in Canada. Laurier Archives and Special Collections selectively acquires the personal papers prominent Waterloo Region residents and organizational records of community groups.

Rare Books

Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires manuscripts, printed books, and serials as part of its rare book collection.

Comprehensive Collecting Areas: Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires books and other published material about Wilfrid Laurier University, Martin Luther University College, and their predecessors. The Laurier Archives and Special Collections collects all publications of the Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Research Collecting Areas: Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires Medieval manuscripts and facsimiles. Laurier Archives acquires rare books that support the archival and special collections existing thematic strengths.

Areas Not Collected: Faculty publications are part of the library’s circulating collection. They will not be acquired as part of Laurier Archives and Special Collections.

Exceptions

In general, the Laurier Archives and Special Collections will not accept:

  • The records of large, ongoing commercial, non-profit or professional organizations capable of supporting their own archival programs.
  • Collections consisting exclusively of newspaper clippings or other published material.
  • Collections on loan or collections to which the intellectual rights will not be transferred to the University.
  • Collections with unreasonable use restrictions.
  • Collections whose format makes it unlikely that Archives and Special Collections will be able to ensure the long-term preservation of the material.
  • Collections consisting exclusively of research data. Support for maintaining and preserving research data is available elsewhere at the Laurier Library.
  • Artifacts (e.g., three-dimensional objects) are collected on a very limited basis. These items must support the understanding of an area of strength within the Laurier Archives and Special Collections’ collection.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

This extends to the acquisition of archives, special collections, and rare books. In recognition that most material acquired by Laurier Archives and Special Collections represent a limited segment of Waterloo Region’s and Canada’s population, every effort will be made to acquire and preserve the records of women, Indigenous people, people of colour, people with disabilities, and people of all sexual and gender identities. Laurier Archives and Special Collections will engage with these communities about the acquisition, arrangement, and description of their records as well as managing access in culturally appropriate ways. Equity, diversity, and creating a culture of inclusion are part of Laurier's core values.

A postcustodial approach to acquisition refers to specific circumstances where record creators maintain custody of their archival records and archivists provide support and advice on the management of this material [1]. A postcustodial approach will be taken, when appropriate, to provide support and advice to individuals and organizations creating records that should remain in their custody. This approach is supportive of equity, diversity, and inclusion in archival acquisition as it encourages individuals to maintain, describe, and preserve records within the community that created them.

Sustainability

Sustainability is satisfying the needs of the present without conceding the same needs in the future. It is the process of working within the limits of environmental, economic, and human resources in ways that allow living systems to thrive now and in the future. In recognition of the immense carbon and ecological footprint of acquiring and preserving archives, special collections, and rare books, every effort will be made to consider the additional carbon and ecological impact of new acquisitions and accruals in the decision-making process.

Methods of Acquisition

Laurier Archives and Special Collections acquires material via three methods:

  • Transfer – transfer of University records to Laurier Archives as part of their scheduled disposition.
  • Gift – acquisition of material via a deed of gift-in-kind.
  • Purchase – acquisition of material via purchase. This method is used to selectively purchase rare books.

Appraisal

New acquisitions and accruals are appraised using the following criteria: relationship to the acquisition policy and current Laurier Archives’ holdings; physical condition of records, format; value(s) of the material (administrative, operational, fiscal, legal, evidential, and/or informational values), teaching and research potential; access and intellectual property issues, equity, diversity, and inclusion; and sustainability/resource implications. A decision will be made based on these criteria by Laurier Archives and Special Collections’ staff.

Monetary Appraisal

If requested, donations will be appraised based on fair market value in accordance with Canada Revenue Agency regulations. Income tax receipts will be issued for gifts valued at over $100. Income tax receipts must be requested at the time of donation. Gifts valued at less than $1,000 will be appraised by the Laurier Archives and Special Collections. Gifts valued over $1,000 must be appraised by an external appraiser. Gifts anticipated to be valued over $20,000 will require two external appraisers. When an external appraiser is required, the donor agrees to cover the costs of appraisal, for which a tax receipt can also be issued.

Deaccessioning Policy

Laurier Archives and Special Collections reserves the right to deaccession archives and special collections that do not meet current collecting criteria, subject to donor agreements, University regulations, and Canadian law. Laurier Archives and Special Collections’ staff will reappraise material using the following criteria: provenance, uniqueness; usage, level of description; restrictions, physical condition; format obsolescence, potential research value, and other institutions’ acquisition policies. Deaccessioned material will be returned to the donor, transferred to another institution, or disposed.

Review

This policy will be reviewed by Laurier Archives and Special Collections every two years. The next review of the policy is scheduled for: March 2024.

[1] Society of American Archivists, “Postcustodial,” in Dictionary of Archives Terminology, https://dictionary.archivists.org/entry/postcustodial.html. For a more information on custody and access see: Bastian, J. A., “Taking Custody, Giving Access: A Postcustodial Role for a New Century,” Archivaria 53 (Spring 2002): 76-93; Stevens, M., et al, “New Frameworks for Community Engagement in the Archive Sector: From Handling Over to Handing On,” International Journal of Heritage Studies 16, no. 1-2 (2010): 59-76.