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The University of Southampton
Special Collections

Collecting policy

Archives Acquisitions Policy 

The Archives and Manuscripts acquires archive, manuscript and other primary material that fall within the scope of its core collection areas.

Core collections

The following statement was approved by the University's Senate on 11 March 1992.

"The university seeks to acquire by deposit, gift or purchase papers and archive materials in all media of substantial utility for the purpose of furthering research and scholarship in the following principal areas:

  1. Papers of national and international interest and significance which have a connection with the University's region.
  2. Papers relating to the Jews and their relationships with other peoples, with a particular interest in the records of national organisations and individuals of Anglo-Jewry
  3. Manuscripts which strengthen the University's existing holdings and research collections including Wellington, Palmerston and Mountbatten papers
  4. Papers of staff, students and individuals associated with the University

In pursuing this policy the University will have careful regard to the collecting policies of other archive holding bodies."

The Archives and Manuscripts maintains an awareness of gaps in collections where there is no repository with relevant collection policy on a subject area and there have been some development in new areas of strength in collection in response to this.

The University has expanded its collections to include papers in the following areas: the science of acoustics and the work of acousticians; records on to UK freshwater ecology, especially biological and chemical data relating to rivers; material relating to Basque child refugee experience; and records relating to maritime archaeology.

It does not compete with other institutions in acquiring archive material and seeks to avoid conflict with other repositories.

No archive collection is acquired without agreement with the Head of Archives and Special Collections. In considering material for acquisition, attention is paid to its relation to the Archives and Manuscripts Acquisition Policy and to existing collections, its historical and scholarly significance, the size, condition and curatorial condition of the collection.

Please contact the Head of Archives and Special Collections, Hartley Library, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ or email if you wish further information on potentially donating a collection to the Archives.

Development of the Archive and Manuscript Collections

The archive holdings of the University of Southampton and its predecessor, the University College of Southampton and the Hartley Institution, dates back to the 1860s, soon after the foundation of the Hartley Institution. That said, over 95% of the present holdings of manuscripts, which now number some 7 million items, have been received since March 1983: it is largely the results of these recent decades of collecting that are represented in the Guide.

Further information is available on the development of the collections at Southampton.

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