OHSU Historical Collections & Archives Collection Development Policy


OHSU Historical Collections & Archives (HC&A) acquires publications, archival collections, visual materials, digital objects, and artifacts that support the research, teaching, and outreach programs of OHSU. Emphasis is placed on unique or rare materials of enduring cultural and/or informational value. Materials are collected in all formats by purchase and donation. The purpose of this policy is to guide collection efforts to maintain the focus and integrity of the holdings. 

General Policy

The department’s collecting activities focus on building existing collection strengths and prioritizing the needs of OHSU faculty, students, and staff. Priority collecting areas are: OHSU and its predecessor institutions; health sciences in the Pacific Northwest; books on the health sciences; and diverse voices within health science. HC&A recognizes that its collection was formed, in common with others at the time, using racist, sexist, and ableist systems of cultural hierarchies that prioritized European thought and accomplishments over marginalized voices. To rectify this, we are adding a greater diversity of voices and experiences to the collection and highlighting these materials through research and display.  

Collections are selected for acquisition by the Director of Special Collections and/or the University Archivist. HC&A works with the Director of Collection Management and the University Librarian to ensure alignment with overall collecting policies in the library. Collections or materials may be declined if they lack historic, research, or instructional value; if another repository appears to be a more appropriate destination; or if HC&A is unable to support a collection due to its size, preservation needs, or access requirements. Materials in wide circulation in other libraries, and duplicates of items already held in the library, are generally not accepted. HC&A complies with HIPAA1, FERPA2, and all other legal requirements in collecting and managing patient records, student records, and other sensitive materials. 

HC&A generally does not collect the following types of material: Furniture and other oversized items; human remains or medical specimens; microscope slides without proper documentation; published journals, articles, reprints, or photocopies; newspaper clippings (except from unique or local publications); and plaques or awards. However, each donation is unique and HC&A welcomes the opportunity to review specific materials with potential donors to learn more about their history and potential enduring value. 

1 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
2 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Collection-Specific Policies

Rare Book Collections
Rare book collections emphasize items that are significant to the history of the health sciences and items not held in other libraries in the Pacific Northwest. Rare books are acquired by purchase or donation.  

Local Publications
HC&A is committed to serving as a permanent repository for health sciences-related materials published by Pacific Northwest authors or organizations, as well as publications with a focus on health sciences in the Pacific Northwest. Local publications, including books, periodicals, and other published materials, are acquired by purchase or donation.  

University Archives
The university archives consist of the permanent documentary record of OHSU and its predecessor institutions. OHSU’s Records Retention Policy designates HC&A as the official repository for institutional records of permanent value. Collections include administrative records, research materials, and personal materials of OHSU employees and students. Collections are acquired by donation or administrative transfer.  

Manuscript Collections
Manuscript collections consist of unpublished materials, with an emphasis on the history of the health sciences in the Pacific Northwest. HC&A is committed to serving as a permanent repository for health sciences-related materials generated by organizations and individuals in the Pacific Northwest, particularly when no other appropriate repository can be identified. Like the university archives, the collections may consist of administrative records, research materials, and personal materials. However, manuscript collections may not pertain closely to the history of OHSU, but rather to health sciences in the region in general. Collections are primarily acquired by donation. 

Artifact Collections
HC&A’s artifact collections consist of museum objects, with an emphasis on the history of health sciences in the Pacific Northwest. Collections include equipment, supplies, specimens, instruments, and other artifacts that may be interpreted for research and teaching. Materials are acquired by donation. 

Policy reviewed and approved by OHSU Library leadership
Last reviewed: 28 July 2021