80  ·  Representative Documents:  Collection Development Policies
National Library of Medicine
Collection Development Policy. Images and Archives Section
Collection Development Policy—Images and Archives - 2 -
3. The collections should primarily illustrate and document the social and cultural
development of health and medicine. The collections should not provide a record of
the medical or public health information, which is better done through other library
functions, nor should biomedical research materials dominate other types of
4. The collections should be predominantly primary documentation, rather than
secondary. That is, the collection should document activities in the development of
health and medicine from which historians may work, rather than be collections of
other researchers’ work, such as notes, photocopies, book drafts, etc.
Programmatic Concerns
Collections considered for acquisition by the Images and Archives Collections of the History
of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine should:
1. Fit within the mission statement of the History of Medicine Division.
2. Fit within the subject matter focuses of the Images and Archives Collections
(for which see further below).
3. Be in good physical condition, or in such condition as may be brought to an
acceptable standard through the preservation and conservation activities of
the Library.
4. Ideally, have a known provenance.
5. Have clear title transferred to the National Library of Medicine
6. Have well-understood intellectual property rights, and, in cases where active
royalties are not involved, ideally have these rights transferred to the National
Library of Medicine, or to the public.
7. Be free of unreasonable or excessive restrictions of access for research,
quotation, citation, reproduction, exhibition, or deaccesssioning.
8. Be free of unreasonable or excessive requirements for Library resources or
9. Be largely free of materials that have privacy concerns.
10. Ideally, not be a separate part of a larger collection, the remainder of which
resides elsewhere.
In accordance with these programmatic concerns, only under exceptional circumstances
will the Images and Archives Collections accept the following:
a. Collections loaned and not deeded to the National Library of
b. Collections given with a requirement for cataloging or exhibition.
c. Collections where access to the whole or to a significant part is
barred for a period of time in excess of 25 years from the date of
acquisition, or of the materials, whichever is earlier.
d. Collections with a preponderance of medical records or similar
materials with privacy concerns.
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