SPEC Kit 347: Community-based Collections · 19
also continues to offer support for community-based collections held by various groups affiliated with the university,
such as the La Casita Cultural Center, which are not strictly considered part of the Libraries’ collections.
In general, the acquisition of private collections (e.g., non-university records) is discretionary, and most times, individuals
or organizations initiate the transfer or donation of their records to the University Archives.
It is an under-documented area in our Jazz Studies holdings: societies, performance groups, etc.
Many of these collections relate to issues of current interest to researchers, such as labor/work rights, civil rights, ethnic
studies, immigration, race, gender, sexuality, or conservation and the environment.
The Archives has experimented with decentralized, thematic acquisitions in the past 25 years. While our US Navy
Japanese/Oriental Language School Archival Project could be construed as a community collection area, as it deals
with a specific group of attendees and sensei of the WWII era school, virtually all of the 200 plus collections acquired
in that collection area came from specific donors. It is the nature of archival collections that they need to be donated
by individuals or individual organizations. Frequently, a scholar or activist will build such a collection of subject specific,
time specific, or geographically specific sources. Each of these collections includes a “community” of a sort, even
though the donor was an individual or the organization was a singular entity. In a way, when archives seek primary
source collections in specific subject collecting areas, such as human rights, or labor unions, or ethnic or racial activists,
or the Atomic West, we are performing a type of community archiving, as the collections consist of related and often
intertwined sources. We have also accepted the collections of a number of individuals who created such community-
based archival collections.
The collection we hold is made up of approximately 80 archival collections, totaling over 200 linear feet.
The library holds a number of collections consisting of the records of political and pacifist organizations, but as these
are organizational records rather than collections curated by a group or collective, they don’t seem to fit the definition in
this survey. The library does provide discoverability to the book collections of several campus community organizations,
including the Museum of Art, the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, and the Student Health Education Centre,
among others. These collections remain in the custody of their respective organizations but are included in the library’s
catalogue as information resources available to the campus community. This is an important collecting area for
the library.
This total includes local churches and religious organizations. Some of these collections will have accruals coming in.
Others are frozen because the organization is now defunct. We would acquire such collections if and when they come to
our attention and if they fit our collection mandate.
While I believe this collecting model will be a growth area for many special collections repositories into the future, its
demands are resource intensive. Consequently, libraries and archives will need to be highly selective when deciding
whether to make commitments to additional community-based collecting initiatives.
Answered No N=4
Maybe! It depends on the offers and the research needs.
The University Libraries currently does not participate in any community-based collection efforts.
We’re open to collecting such collections or working with organizations that do, but no concrete plans to think about
such collections separately from the other sorts of collections we acquire.
While we are not currently discussing/negotiating any collections, if there is a need, I would anticipate an acquisition to
be possible.
Previous Page Next Page