The Elgin County Archives is firmly committed to preserving and making available Elgin's total archival heritage, and we are always interested in receiving new acquisitions, provided that the records meet the terms of our Acquisition Policy.
Donations become the property of the Archives upon completion of a Deed of Gift. Ensuring that records received will form a permanent part of the Archives collection is the best way to guarantee their long-term preservation and availability to all researchers.
Elgin County Archives - Acquisition Policy
The mandate and activities of the Elgin County Archives is governed by By-Law No. 01-21. The primary function of the Archives is to assist the Corporation of the County of Elgin and its constituent municipalities in fulfilling public obligations for the preservation and access to records that must be retained according to provincial legislation or because of their enduring cultural value. Therefore, adequate space and resources must be devoted in the Archives at all times to meeting these obligations on behalf of the County and its local governments.
Nevertheless, County Council has made a strong commitment to acquiring records from private sources that, according to the aforementioned By-law, “have bearing upon the history of the County of Elgin as appraised by the archivist. …” However, the volume of potential private acquisitions dictates that firm criteria be put in place in order to strike a balance between the aforementioned public obligations and remaining space and resources in the Archives.
In accordance with By-Law No. 01-21, County Council establishes the following criteria to govern private (i.e. non-municipal) acquisitions to the Elgin County Archives. The Archivist will assess the records according to these criteria prior to acceptance. Donors are urged to read these criteria and understand that the inability of the Archives to make an acquisition is not a statement of the records’ inherent value.
Essential Criteria – All of the following criteria must be met for the Archives to accept a private acquisition:
- Are the records largely primary or unique in nature? Emphasis is on original, recorded source material. Secondary source materials are generally collected by a library. Artifacts are generally collected by a museum. Copies of records will generally not be accepted.
- Do the records pertain directly to the County of Elgin or its citizens? There must be a direct local connection for the records to be sought.
- Is title to the records clear and is the rightful owner willing to enter into a donation agreement with the Archives? The Archives cannot accept records if title is not clear. The Archives strives for permanent ownership and custody of acquired material and discourages deposits or loans from private sources.
- Are the records likely to be used by the general public? Acquisitions must have research value that extends beyond personal value to the donor.
- Is evidence in the records already documented in the Archives or in another repository? If records essentially duplicate evidence already in the collection or elsewhere, they will not be sought.
- Are the records identified? Lack of information about the provenance or context of records may prevent their acquisition. For example, photographs may not be acquired if the likelihood of their identification is remote.
Additional Considerations These considerations may also affect a decision to acquire private records:
- What is the size of the collection? The Archives may not be able to accommodate large collections without compromising other objectives.
- Will access to the records be restricted? The Archives seeks to provide public access to the records it acquires. Lengthy access restrictions imposed by donors detract from this goal and may influence the decision to make an acquisition.
- Are the records in good physical condition? Records in poor shape may be rejected due to the time and expense involved in their restoration compared to the value of the evidence they contain, or because their presence in the Archives may jeopardize other records already in the collection by promoting contaminants such as mould.