Collection Policy

  Policy for Digital Collections:

As part of the Library's mission to select, organize, present, and preserve information resources, the Special Collections Department (ISU Library) will collect and preserve primary items, collections, and resources in electronic format. The Department will explore the use of these materials in teaching, discovery, research, and outreach efforts.

  Goals in Terms of Collection Development:

The collecting efforts of the Special Collections Department will directly reflect the Department's collection strengths and focus on our unique manuscript collections and Iowa State University records, in the following areas:

Life Sciences
Environmental and Ecological Sciences
Agriculture and Rural Life
Veterinary Medicine
Food/Nutritional Sciences

  Selection of Materials:

Digital Guidelines for Digital Collections and other Web 2.0 Efforts (Special Collections)

Digital Collections:
These are research-based collections with in-depth context and intellectual control. The primary audience is current and future students and faculty, and scholars. Lower priority audience is K-12 teachers and students, alumni, and genealogists/history buffs and other enthusiasts in various subject areas. Much of the lower priority audience is served through collaborative projects such as the Iowa Heritage Digital Collections (IHDC) and Special Collections Web 2.0 efforts (see below).

Requires highest level of metadata.

Web 2.0 (Special Collections):
These are images or documents that stand alone, have cursory context, or are related specifically to local or university events (i.e. the Khruschev anniversary). Also includes reference-based specific requests. The primary audience is K-12 teachers and students, alumni, and genealogists/history buffs and other enthusiasts in various subject areas.

Low-level of metadata provided.

Digital surrogates of the Libraries' rare and unique Special Collections holdings are
produced as part of the daily work flow of the staff with curatorial responsibility for these
materials. These digital objects are created for a variety of reasons, including:

  • patron requests
  • exhibits
  • presentations or other activities of Libraries' staff
  • preserving and protecting the original analog objects
Examples of collections that have been digitized:
  • Artifact collection
  • Dreyfus Oral History Interviews and WISE Archives collections
  • Alexander Lippisch Papers
  • Warren Manning collection
  • John V. Atanasoff
  • George Washington Carver
  • Campus plans and blueprints
  • University Archives photograph collection, including campus buildings and selected departments (Botany, Ada Hayden collection)
  • Fragile and oversized glass plate negatives (campus and manuscript collections such as Descartes Pascal), rare books, documents, photographs, maps, and other items
Electronic Records

The collecting of born digital and electronic records will be based on administrative and institutional requirements, preservation considerations, publication and reference use, and potential curriculum needs.


  Material Formats:

The formats to be collected will include documents (MS-Word and PDF), images (TIF), audio, video/film, and other media formats.


The Special Collections staff will determine the method of providing metadata on a case-by-case basis. For in-house digital projects, metadata will be provided using CONTENTdm and Dublin Core. For materials for the IHDC project, metadata will be provided through CONTENTdm .

  Equipment for Digitizing:

Currently, the Department utilizes Photoshop imaging software and an Epson Expression 10000 XL flatbed scanner. For oversized items and three-dimensional objects, the oversized scanner and the Preservation Department's digital camera are used.

Digitizing software and equipment for audio and visual materials are also available in the department.

  Access and Security:

Digital images from the Special Collections Dept. will be available on its website (72 and 150 dpi jpgs), sent via e-mail and CD to patrons, available to users via CD and zip disk, and through CONTENTdm and Flickr. The Department will also participate in collaborative digital projects, such as the Iowa Heritage Project.

For reference requests submitted by patrons, jpgs/tifs of 150 and 300 dpi will be provided. Selected images will be stored on the Librarys dedicated hard drive.

For copyright and security purposes, the Special Collections staff will use the Digimarc watermarking program available in Photoshop to watermark images as belonging to ISU. This will include images available on the Department's website and those images sent to reference patrons.

  Storage and Preservation:

Permanent Images created through Digital Intitiatives will be stored on the Y drive.

In-house: short-term images will be created as jpgs of 150 and 300 dpi and the images will be stored on the Library's dedicated hard drive on the V drive, which is dedicated to Special Collections. These will deleted.

Long-term images will be created as tifs at 600 dpi and the images will be stored on the Special Collections portion of V drive. These will be images that are requested frequently, such as the photographs of George Washington Carver.

  Technical Issues and Migration:

IMLS: A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections.

Created: December 2002

Revised: January 2012