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Collection Strategies and Rationale

Accessing the collections

About the Collections
• Collecting Strategies & Rationale
Collecting Areas & Highlights
Time Periods Collected
Digital Collections & Publications

Collection Strategies

The Special Collection Research Center's mission is to identify and collect rare and unique materials to support the research and teaching needs of the university. By emphasizing established and emerging areas of excellence at the university and corresponding strengths within the Libraries’ overall collection, the SCRC is strategically developing collections with the aim of becoming an indispensable source of information for generations of scholars . Special Collections builds collections in all formats in priority subject areas. These areas are chosen in consultation with faculty, collection managers, and other specialists and in response to various opportunities. Special Collections and Collection Management actively collaborate to build collections in targeted areas profiled in these guidelines, emphasizing the primary goal of building broad and deep accumulations in focus areas that add unique value to and complement the general collection in areas of strength and emphasis for the university.

Acquisitions that do not fall into existing collecting areas sometimes are made in anticipation of new emphases and unique opportunities. In addition to scholarly research value, collectors sometimes also take into account items' exhibit and/or outreach potential. The Center also collects materials to document the achievements of highly distinguished NCSU graduates in all areas.

A majority of targeted areas for Special Collections are in disciplines that have emerged and/or come to maturity in the last half of the 20th century, and continue to develop into the 21st. As a result, the Center’s first priority is to collect the papers and recorded research of prominent NC State faculty active in the formulation and development of disciplines in priority collecting areas, as well as scholars and corporations performing seminal research in those disciplines. In concert with efforts to collect the papers of NC State faculty and scholars, the Center will identify and transfer or acquire seminal publications from the early development of these disciplines, including monographs, journals, theses and dissertations, and reports. Many of these publications are from the 20th century and can be classified as “medium-rare,” likely to become rare as the material ages and scholars and collectors increasingly focus on the emergence of these disciplines.

The papers of prominent faculty, together with seminal publications in priority and supporting collecting areas, serve as the building blocks for further growth and development. They increase the prominence of the collections, attract additional users, and help attract grant and endowment funding – all of which increase the ability of Special Collections to attract additional content from prominent scholars and corporate research in the region and beyond.

back to topPreservation and Security of Materials Outside Focus Areas

Special Collections accepts from other areas of the Libraries transfers of materials that require the special protection and care that Special Collections can provide. Qualities considered in such transfers include fragility, age, artifactual aesthetics, association values, and market value. These materials are reviewed whether the subject area(s) represented are ones targeted by the Libraries as collecting emphases.

Relationship with other Repositories, Cooperative Agreements, and Related Collections

The SCRC chooses its target collecting areas with an awareness of collecting activities of other U.S. repositories, especially those in the southeast. In making acquisitions, the library generally seeks to avoid dividing collections among institutions. When offered donations of materials beyond the scope of its primary and supporting collecting areas, the SCRC may refer donors to more appropriate institutions.

Special Collections seeks to coordinate collecting efforts with the University of North Carolina's Wilson Library and Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscripts, and Special Collections Library to increase the availability of unique collections in the area and maximize the impact of the collections for researchers.

Acquisitions Made Through Gifts

Donation is the preferred mode of acquisition for the SCRC, which solicits gifts of materials from individuals and organizations. Alumni, faculty members, and other members of the university community provide assistance in identifying potential donors. Collectors typically discuss potential gifts with colleagues in Collection Management and with the department head and associate director as appropriate.

The Libraries typically requires an executed gift agreement or alternate instrument of acknowledgement transferring ownership. Loans of materials are generally not accepted, but in special circumstances materials may be accepted on deposit, pending transfer of ownership to the Libraries. The Libraries will not accept collections permanently closed to users. It encourages unrestricted gifts, but will accept collections carrying user restrictions of a reasonable duration.

back to top Acquisitions Made Through Purchase

When materials are not available through gifts, acquisitions are sometimes made through the purchase of items selected from dealer catalogs or other dealer offers, by way of auctions, and from private individuals or organizations. Collectors discuss potential purchases with colleagues in Collection Management. Purchases are funded by endowment income, gifts, grants, and library appropriations. Rare books are almost exclusively purchased with endowment income. State funds can be used for seminal materials in primary collecting areas and for NC State faculty publications.