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External Standards: Endorsed

ACRL/RBMS Guidelines for Interlibrary and Exhibition Loan of Special Collections Materials

This standard offers a set of principles and general guidelines for institutions to consider in formulating their own local policies and practices for managing requests from other institutions to borrow materials from their holdings for research and exhibition loans.

The purpose of the standard is to help special collections and archives formulate appropriate policies and responsible practices for managing requests from other institutions to borrow materials from their holdings for research and exhibition loans.

The standard offers a set of principles and general guidelines for institutions to consider in formulating their own local policies and practices, whether those include lending physical materials under certain conditions or providing digital or other surrogates in lieu of physical lending. It also outlines the responsibilities of borrowing institutions in ensuring the security and preservation of loaned materials.

The standard outlines the respective responsibilities of borrowing and lending institutions and general guidelines for how they should cooperate with one another in loan transactions. The standard then provides separate sections that recommend procedures for managing borrowing requests for loans for research use, which typically come through interlibrary loan departments at academic institutions, as well as for exhibition use. The section on loans for research use is designed to complement the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States maintained by the American Library Association, while the section on loans for exhibition use are designed to

SAA Council Approval/Endorsement Date: 
May 17, 2013


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ISO 16363:2012--Space Data and Information Transfer Systems--Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories

This ISO standard defines a recommended practice on which to base an audit and certification process for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories.

ISO 16363:2012 defines a recommended practice for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories. It is applicable to the entire range of digital repositories. ISO 16363:2012 can be used as a basis for certification.

The official ISO standard is available for purchase via the link below.

CCSDS 652.0-M-1 -- Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories contains the final draft standard submitted to the International Standards Organization for review and approval. It is freely available via the second link below.

SAA Council Approval/Endorsement Date: 
August 6, 2012


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ACRL/RBMS Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections

These guidelines identify important issues that collection administrators should address in developing adequate security measures and a strategy for responding to thefts. While directed primarily toward special collections in the U.S., many topics are also applicable to general collections and to special collections in other countries.

Developed by: RBMS Security Committee

"Introduction for Archivists" prepared by SAA's Security Roundtable

ACRL/RBMS Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections, prepared by the RBMS Security Committee, serves as an update to the earlier ACRL/RBMS “Guidelines for the Security of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Other Special Collections” and “Guidelines Regarding Thefts in Libraries,” which were formally adopted by SAA in 1993.  The new Guidelines reflect the shift in best practices during the past thirteen years. They also exhibit the results of a concentrated effort to modify language and recommendations in the interest of greater inclusion for special collections repositories beyond rare book and academic libraries.

The Guidelines provide a framework for a proactive approach to both theft prevention and recovery of archival materials stolen or otherwise alienated from a repository. The document provides an opportunity for flexibility, as it accounts for the need to solicit input from various stakeholders and adopts the approach of recommended guidelines rather than mandated standards.  This also provides for modification based on varying state laws and institutional policies. In the absence of archives-specific guidelines regarding security, the work of the RBMS Security Committee is advantageous to all archives and serves as an excellent resource to combat a challenging issue.

Although the Guidelines provide a comprehensive look at effective security practices employed in many institutions, they cannot serve as a “cure all.” It is clear that tremendous effort has been employed toward the elimination of library-specific terminology, yet there remains in the Guidelines certain concepts that may be inappropriate or unfeasible in some archival settings.  Users of the Guidelines should recognize that certain issues remain more relevant to rare books than to archives.

Most notable is the issue of marking, which is heavily emphasized within the Guidelines. Although some archivists are both willing and able to implement marking programs, these efforts remain impracticable for the majority of archival institutions due to the sheer volume of most archival collections. Many archivists also remain uncomfortable with the potential defacement of historic documents (either by the act of marking itself or the mutilation of marked documents by a thief), although advancements in technology make this concern less pressing as discrete marking options become more accessible and affordable.  Others may argue that marking serves as a practical solution for a repository’s most treasured collections, yet the efforts needed to undertake a marking exercise may be better directed toward reformatting and the use of surrogate documents whenever possible. Within the archival community, it is clear that there cannot and will not be a single standard for marking, despite the thorough discussion of the advantages offered by the Guidelines.  Each institution should carefully consider the issues surrounding marking and other security-related practices and develop clear written policies that clarify exactly how the institution defines marking, what types of markings are used currently (and have been used in the past) and, most importantly, what criteria are used to determine when or whether an item is marked (if ever). As is the case with most security practices, failure to establish a clear policy, with equally consistent procedures, could potentially lead to a perception of negligence, liability, and a lack of due diligence once a theft has been experienced.

Therefore, archivists should confer with legal counsel prior to implementing a security program, policy, or procedure to ensure compliance with any relevant laws. It is also imperative that security policies be revisited continually. If available and appropriate, it is also advisable to consult with risk management staff, as security will always require the balance of numerous competing ideals.

For the full text of the standard, download the file or follow the link to ACRL/RBMS below.

SAA Council Approval/Endorsement Date: 
May 2012
Sponsoring Group(s): 


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Well-intentioned Practice for Putting Digitized Collections of Unpublished Materials Online (W-iP)

"Well-intentioned Practice for Putting Digitized Collections of Unpublished Materials Online" (W-iP), prepared by OCLC Research, offers a framework for an assertive approach to digitization of unpublished archival materials whose rights holders are often difficult to identify and contact.

Developed by:  OCLC Research

Preface prepared by SAA's Intellectual Property Working Group

"Well-intentioned Practice for Putting Digitized Collections of Unpublished Materials Online" (W-iP), prepared by OCLC Research, offers a framework for an assertive approach to digitization of unpublished archival materials whose rights holders are often difficult to identify and contact. Consistent with the aggregate, rather than item-level, approach that traditionally has been so fundamental to the rest of archival practice, it emphasizes a collective approach to the management of the copyright responsibilities involved in large-scale digitization projects. By definition, the W-iP guidelines encourage a movement away from work-by-work or even author-by-author decision-making on rights clearances.

The guidelines offer the prospect of moving beyond a near paralysis coming from the impossibility of having copyright clarity on all the works or all the authors in a given collection or archival record series that otherwise merit wide exposure through digitization. If the guidelines are adopted widely enough, they offer the promise of becoming a "community standard" that, by its broad use, could become a foundation on which the archives profession could rely as a "best practices" defense.

For this to happen, however, archivists must understand what W-iP does and does not provide, and that W-iP cannot substitute for being well-informed about copyright. In essence, W-iP is a map of how to take risks in moving forward with digitization when a strict interpretation of copyright might argue otherwise. Those who wish to use WiP as a basis for launching digitization programs must understand that the guidelines offer no formal legal protections, but merely define an approach for managing the inevitable risks in large-scale digitization. Before adopting the W-iP approach, archivists should confer with their legal counsel as well as their risk management staff, if available and appropriate, to be certain that the institution is prepared to accept responsibility and costs should a legal action or simply an out-of-court settlement result.

Although W-iP defines an approach consistent with the archival mission of promoting the widest possible access, it assumes a level of legal knowledge that not all archivists may possess or have available to them. Archivists need not become copyright lawyers, but to use W-iP well, they need to have a solid understanding of the law. Indeed, gaining the institutional approval to adopt the W-iP approach will be most likely if one can forcefully articulate the particular archival dimensions of copyright. A start for building a knowledge base can be found in the following sources:

SAA Council Approval/Endorsement Date: 
August 22, 2011


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