General Selection Criteria

The existence of subject priorities thus identified does not alter the fact that all new acquisitions should be examined with the guide of selection criteria, which include not only an expansion of subject considerations but also others of equal relevance to a sound archive. The starting point of such selection criteria would be the following general statement: a recording warrants preservation if there is any reason that the loss of the recording would be regretted in the future by researchers into those fields of study covered be the Imperial War Museum. The points below should be considered a checklist of criteria in selection:

Relationship of subject matter to collection

  • Relevance of topic to Imperial War Museum’s brief. Is it correctly defined within our terms of reference or would it be better deposited at a more relevant institution. Is there an existing demand for the topic from the public and what is the nature of that demand.
  • Is the topic of lasting importance or is interest of a temporary nature. Will there be a future demand for the topic. Is the topic already covered by the collection to such a degree that all future demands made in that area can be satisfied. Is the topic in a designated priority area as in (5).

Relevance of sound medium

  • Would the subject matter be better or more securely preserved in another medium.

Rarity of Recording

  • How rare is the recording or the information contained within it. Could it be easily duplicated or reacquired at a later date or would there be a risk of permanent loss.

Secondary characteristics of the recording

  • Are the personalities heard on the recording of interest in their own right and are there available recordings of their voices of a comparative origin and background. Are social attitudes revealed in the recording, which may be of more interest than the original subject matter. What is the reputation of the author/producer of the recordings and are the recordings central as a primary source to some publication of permanent interest.

Role as a national archive

  • Is the material although outside the brief within the Imperial War Museum worthy of archival preservation until a permanent home can be found.

Minimum technical standards

  • Does the recording conform to the minimum technical standards laid down by the Imperial War Museum sound technician. (See Appendix A)

Limitations on use

  • Does copyright provision place unacceptable restrictions on the use of the material.

Selection procedures

  • Members of staff shall make every effort to secure collections of relevance to identified subject priorities.
  • When a collection is offered to the Museum a report should be prepared by the member of staff concerned reflecting an analysis of the collection using our selection criteria.
  • This report should be discussed with senior archive staff and a decision taken on whether to acquire the collection; recommend it for preservation elsewhere; or reject the collection outright. The decision should be unanimous for the third option to be taken or selection staff should almost inevitably be in breach of the general selection statement.