General Collecting Policy

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Chronological Periods

SCRC acquires materials from all periods of history, but our focus is primarily on the 19th Century to the present.

Forms of Material

SCRC accepts manuscripts, printed materials, rare books, selected memorabilia, audio and visual formats, and electronic records.

Collection Strengths

SCRC's holdings are strongest in 19th and 20th Century materials grouped around the following subject areas: American philosophy; Southern Illinois University Carbondale archives and faculty papers; American and British expatriate authors; Theater; First Amendment freedoms; Irish literature and history; Southern Illinois area photographs; Illinois politics; and the history and culture of Southern Illinois. Rare books related to 20th Century American and British literature are also well represented.

Recent Activity

In recent years, in view of budget constraints, SCRC has focused collection efforts on materials related to Illinois politics, American philosophy, Irish literature and history, First Amendment freedoms, James Joyce, World War I, Southern Illinois history and culture, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale archives. Rare Books and Manuscript collections generally complement one another to form in-depth research collections of published and unpublished materials.

Ongoing Efforts

As a major research center for American philosophy and Southern Illinois history, SCRC will continue to collect where possible all materials that pertain to American philosophy, Illinois politics, and the history and culture of Southern Illinois, including materials written about Southern Illinois and published in Illinois.


SCRC does not generally collect the following: Materials that reflect the political, culture or social history of another region or state; or partial manuscripts and archival collections when major portions of a collection have already been deposited in another repository.

Cooperative Agreements

SCRC recognizes that other institutions collect in the same or overlapping areas and will seek similar unique resources for their own collections. Other institutions may also have prior claim on such materials or be a more appropriate repository to house them. In cases where legitimate collecting interests of SCRC and another repository directly conflict, SCRC will weigh the best interests of the scholarly community in deciding whether to pursue a collection.

Resource Sharing

SCRC shares resources with other institutions when such sharing is beneficial to researchers and when the terms and circumstances are favorable. Resources shared may include duplicate and extraneous materials from collections (if acceptable under the terms of the donor agreement); copies of materials from collections; hard‑copy finding aids; electronic versions of finding aids, collections, and items; exhibit items; professional consultation; and facilities.


Materials that do not reflect SCRC's collecting areas, that duplicate existing holdings, that relate to subjects that are no longer an SCRC priority, or that are judged not to be of enduring value may be deaccessioned. The disposition of material will be in accordance with the relevant donor agreement and the Illinois State Records Act ( Deaccessioned materials may either be offered to the donor or donor's heirs, transferred to other departments of Morris Library, offered to other, more appropriate institutions, or disposed of in accordance with the Illinois State Property Control Act and federal laws.

Collection Procedures

Deed of Gift

SCRC does not accept materials without a legal transfer of title, deed of gift, or other official acknowledgment.

Loans and Deposits

Materials loaned to or deposited with SCRC may be accepted when conditions for acceptance are favorable to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Typically, deposits are only accepted if they will lead to the future donation of the collection to the University.

Closed Collections

SCRC does not accept collections that are closed in perpetuity. Restrictions regarding access to and use of collections are accepted only when mutually agreeable to the donor and the Center.


SCRC reserves the right to deaccession any materials within its collections, subject to the terms of acquisition and the notification of the donor or heirs and in accordance with federal law and the Illinois State Records Act ( Permanent records of all deaccessioned materials will be kept in the collection file.


SCRC reserves the right to include unrestricted materials in exhibitions, in accordance with standard archival principles and practices. Loans of artifacts from SCRC collections are permitted only to legitimate educational institutions. These institutions must meet various requirements as set forth by SCRC to assure the well-being of the collections.

Revision of Policies

SCRC reserves the right to change the preceding policies as necessary.

Reviewing Collection Development Guidelines

This collecting policy is designed to meet the goals of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Morris Library, and SCRC. To determine the effectiveness of the collecting policy, staff will review the acquisitions, user records, deaccessions, collection policies of other institutions, curricular interests of the University, and research community input to detect any needed changes. Every five years the policy will be reevaluated and changed as needed to meet the continuing goals of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Morris Library, and SCRC. For a more detailed explanation of SCRC's collection development policies and procedures, click here.