Acquisition and Disposal Policy for Archival Material

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Physical and virtual archives lie at the heart of the Classical Art Research Centre, which is founded on the Beazley Archive and its online databases. Besides the archive of Sir John and Lady Beazley itself, CARC holds a number of import archival resources, including many thousands of photographs of ancient art in various media and papers of, for example, Sir John Boardman, Stanley Casson, TJ Dunbabin, and Elfriede Knauer. CARC also holds several tens of thousands of impressions and casts of engraved gems, some 25,000 of which were Beazley's. Finally, the Centre has a study-room collection of approximately 1,800 books (the majority on Greek pottery), more than 5,000 offprints, and some auction catalogues and journal runs. Some of the archival material has been digitized and is available online, but the great majority has not and most has not been systematically catalogued or inventoried.

Subject to the overall research strategy and policies of the Faculty of Classics, we seek to preserve those materials that are of enduring value and to expand the collection selectively in areas that facilitate CARC's aims of supporting and stimulating important new work on ancient Greek and Roman art. However, this needs to be done in the context of severely limited space and staff time. CARC therefore adheres to the following principles.

1. Areas of acquisition:

As the guardian of the foremost archive devoted to ancient Greek pottery, we have an interest in acquiring certain important and rare/unique documents and photographs in this field. Photographic collections of importance to CARC's work may be accepted on the understanding that they will be made available for consultation as a discrete archive and/or scanned and integrated into the Beazley Archive Pottery Database (BAPD).

CARC will consider important and rare/unique acquisitions in other areas of particular relevance to existing collections or to CARC projects and resources, notably the field of engraved gems (including gem impressions), and the relationship between classical art and other art traditions of the ancient world.

CARC will not normally accept new material that lies outside the above fields.

CARC will not accept antiquities or artefacts other than archival material in the form of e.g. notes, photographs, casts or impressions of gems, and books.

In all cases, new physical archival material will not be accepted unless space exists or can be found to house it in a satisfactory manner, and sufficient funds are offered or can be obtained to provide for its organization, study, dissemination, digitization (where appropriate), and permanent safe storage.

It is recognized that much of the administrative documentation and digital files of CARC/the Beazley Archive has or will have archival significance. The selective preservation of such material will be an appropriate addition to CARC's archives.

2. Loans

The principles under (1) will apply also to loans.

CARC will not normally accept loans of archival material, except for the purpose of short-term study or research.

An exception to this principle is the study-collection of Greek pottery currently on loan from the Ashmolean Museum, in association with the Museum's University Engagement Programme.

3. Books, journals, offprints

CARC's existing library holdings derive principally from Sir John Beazley and from individual gifts of colleagues and visitors, rather than systematic acquisition.

We welcome individual gifts of books from visiting researchers, who often regard this as an appropriate way of thanking CARC for the use of its archives. We also accept more casual and ephemeral offers of magazines and journals, on the understanding that these may be preserved only in the short term.

Recognizing the severe contraints on our space as well as the desirability of concentrating resources in formally catalogued and staffed libraries such as the Sackler Library, we will not normally accept more substantial gifts of books, journals or offprints.

Where it is decided to accept more substantial donations, these will normally only be the following categories:

  • works in the principal areas of CARC's research interests, especially Greek painted pottery, which are not already in the collection or in the Sackler/Bodleian Library;
  • works in these areas which particularly closely complement existing holdings or are of special relevance to the Centre (e.g. books once owned by Beazley, or missing volumes from sets);
  • other works which are of exceptional use to CARC staff and visitors, such that they would be regularly used, or where it is especially useful to have them on hand (e.g. essential reference works, CVA volumes);
  • works in the principal areas of CARC's research interests that have been moved from another part of the Faculty of Classics, such as the Ioannou Centre Reading Room.

4. Digital Archives

The selection principles outlined in (1) also apply broadly to the acquisition of digital archival resources (e.g. digital images, digitized documents etc). However, acquisition need not be limited to areas of particular relevance to existing collections or to CARC projects and resources. Material in other areas may be accepted where it offers the opportunity to contribute substantially to the CARC's aims of supporting and stimulating important new work on ancient Greek and Roman art, or otherwise offering useful resources for the study of classical art.

Digital material will not be accepted unless sufficient server space exists or can be secured, and there is sufficient funding or existing resources to provide for its organization, study, dissemination, and permanent safe storage. Funding for the relevant proportion of long-term server and backup costs will normally be required.

5. Acquisition process

The decision about whether to accept new archival material will be made by the Director of CARC, with particular regard to the value of the material for research in classical art, its relevance to existing strengths and or strategic priorities of the Centre, and any ethical considerations. S/he will consult the CARC Advisory Board and the Chair of the Faculty of Classics as necessary. The Advisory Board or Faculty Board of Classics may propose exceptions to this policy.

No donations of archival material will be accepted without agreement in writing detailing the specific terms and conditions of the donation or deposit.

6. Disposal of archival material

CARC will not dispose of material belonging to the original Beazley Archive, which was purchased by the University in 1964.

CARC will not normally dispose of other archival material, except in the following circumstances:

  • where there is a compelling case to transfer material to another archive, library, public museum, or academic institution;
  • ephemeral holdings, such as modern magazines, brochures etc. given for the casual interest of staff and study-room visitors;
  • books, journals or offprints outside the field of classical art or of marginal relevance to CARC's main research interests, where these do not have a significant monetary value and where they are accessible to researchers elsewhere in the University;
  • duplicates of publications where they do not have an intrinsic value (e.g. because of manuscript annotations);
  • in other exceptional circumstances, after consultation with the CARC Advisory Board and/or the Faculty Board of Classics.

No material will be disposed of which belonged to Sir John Beazley or which contains annotations by Beazley or his contemporaries.

When material is disposed of it will not be sold, and where possible it will be made available to other units within the University, or to students, as appropriate.

The routine administrative files of CARC, in physical and digital form, have the potential to acquire considerable archival importance and are already an important part of the archives (e.g. Beazley Archive correspondence c. 1970-2000). While there is no presumption that purely administrative material will be preserved indefinitely, the Director of CARC will have particular regard to which documents, digital files, disks, etc. have a potential for future historical importance and should be preserved, subject to the University's policies e.g. on data protection.

PCNS 4/4/2017