J.C. Beaglehole Room (Special Materials) Collection SLCS: Selecting

This statement provides a framework for collection development and management activities within Victoria University of Wellington Library's Special Materials Collection.


The Special Materials Librarian will operate this Collection Development Policy using professional judgement, and in association with Victoria and other academics, other Library personnel especially Subject Librarians, and with the network of archivists and institutions within Wellington, New Zealand, or internationally as appropriate.

Collection area Description of collection  Future collecting level
Archives and Manuscripts  These by their nature are unique and irreplaceable. Some are discrete collections; some have ongoing accruals. Acquisition frequently involves negotiation of conditions for research access, but no acquisition should be accepted with a blanket restriction on access.  Assess on a case by case basis 
University Archives – Corporate  Developed in cooperation with Archives New Zealand, the Manager, Records Services, and the Records Management Policy. The strength of the Library’s interest in corporate administrative archives was under discussion in 2009; however note that the Library may consider items to have research value even if they are not required for retention under the Public Records Act’s General Disposal Authority. A particular example is the records of staff social groups.  Assess on a case by case basis 
University Archives – Academic 

Focus on controversial or prominent academics; those in centres of research and academic excellence; recipients of teaching awards; unpublished research papers; records which the internal life and culture of the University community. Space and staff restraints and the size of the Victoria faculty limits the volume of faculty papers that can be accessioned, and experience suggests that the research value of ‘research notes’ is relatively low, so the following criteria are suggested:

  • National or international reputation in a respective academic field
  • Record of service with Victoria and contribution to its growth and development
  • Service in a recognized area of excellence within Victoria
  • Service and contribution in community, state and national affairs
Assess on a case by case basis 
University Archives – Related Organisations  Comprehensive Collection includes all student organisations, interest groups, Victoria University Press, Wai-te-ata Press, Wai-te-ata Music Press. Comprehensive 
University Archives – Eminent Alumni  Collection includes works by eminent Victoria alumni.  Assess on a case by case basis 
University Archives – Staff Authors and publications  Includes Victoria staff publications and publications of staff prior to joining Victoria. One copy is collected, or the best Library holding.  Value is added by ensuring catalogue notes reflect staff authorship.  Comprehensive 
Literary Archives  Includes Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Alistair te Ariki Campbell, Jenny Bornholdt, and Bruce Mason  Comprehensive
International Institute of Modern Letters Authors (IIML)  Includes Bill Manhire. Comprehensive
Employment Archives  Developed from the Labour Archives Trust activity in the 1980s. Further development will be carefully considered.    Assess on a case by case basis 
Architectural Archives  Due to the format and a desire to locate in the Architecture and Design Library, resource constraints prevent proactive collection by Special Materials. However, as there is no major collecting repository in Wellington (see the University Libraries in Auckland and Christchurch), and as a major collection is already held in the Architecture and Design Library, and as this is an area of excellence for Victoria, it is recommended that the Library consider wider collection in this area, in partnership with the Subject Librarian and the School of Architecture and Design Collected Archives. Note that the establishment of the School’s Collected Archives in 2007 has affected Special Materials capacity to collect archives in this area directly.  Assess on a case by case basis 
Maps  A small historic collection is held. Maps are not actively collected by JCBR or the Library, but may be offered by SGEES Library, by UN Room, and by Architecture and Design. Consider storage and handling issues during assessment.  Assess on a case by case basis 
Printed books Printed books in one or more of the following categories should automatically come to the Rare Books collection in the J.C. Beaglehole Room. In some cases 2nd or 3rd copies may go on the open shelves on a case by case basis.  See additional criteria below.  Assess on a case by case basis 

Printed Books Criteria

Criteria Sub-criteria Sub-criteria details
Imprint Date only All items printed in or before 1820
  Country and date
  • All items printed in New Zealand before 1890
  • All items printed in Australia before 1860
  • All items printed in the Pacific Islands before 1890
  • All items printed in Canada before 1830
  • All items printed in Africa or Asia before 1860 (case by case)
  • For certain states in Australia or the USA before 1890 (see list at end)
  Special cases of printing presses or publishing houses One copy of any publication of any section of the University (two should normally be donated), including those published as part of a monograph series which is handled as a periodical.
  • The Wai-te-ata Press, Wai-te-ata Music Press, Victoria University Press
Subject Matter NZ (excluding Law) – one copy at least of:
  • All works dealing wholly or substantially with New Zealand printed before 1890
  • Works dealing wholly or substantially with NZ printed before 1920
  • All works specifically devoted to any aspect of the history of the University
  Maori material - one copy at least of:  Works in Maori or substantial works in English dealing with Maori matters, printed before 1945
  Australia and the Pacific – works printed before 1890 n/a
  Vulnerable to theft or mutilation:  Material which, because it deals with erotica or sexual behaviour (especially if illustrated), is likely to be defaced or mutilated if left on the open shelves
Illustrated works prior to about 1970 when the illustrations are a major part of the content and in an easily-removed form
Monetary value, physical format, distinctive copies  Limited and other special editions:  
  • Editions identified in the volume as being limited to (that is, no more copies manufactured than) 200, occasionally increased to 300 in certain cases
  • First editions of certain important authors (e.g. Robert Browning) subject to considerations such as edition, size, value on the second-hand market
  • Some particularly expensive works, usually fine editions or art works, case by case
  Unusual and awkward formats e.g. loose-leaf, miniature editions, ephemera  n/a
  Association copies: 
  • Copies signed or bookplated by significant persons, including to important public figures – case by case
  • Copies donated by the author when the author is a member of VICTORIA staff, or is a former student (case by case)
  • One copy of any publications of any section of the University (above)
  • Copies related to major archival collections e.g. all works by or about Bruce Mason, Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, Jenny Bornholdt, and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, whatever their format, language, place of publication or edition
Unpublished material  Only in exceptional circumstance should unpublished materials go elsewhere than the J C Beaglehole Room. Consult on case by case basis n/a


Publication dates

The following publication date criteria apply for the print collections:

Date only

  • All items printed in or before 1820

Country and date

  • All items printed in New Zealand before 1910
  • All items printed in Australia before 1860
  • All items printed in the Pacific Islands before 1890
  • All items printed in Canada before 1830
  • All items printed in Africa or Asia before 1860 (case by case)

For certain states in Australia or the USA before 1890

  • Australian States – before 1860, plus Queensland before 1870, Northern Territory before 1890
  • United States of America – the first 15 years of printing in the state per the table below

Special cases of printing presses or publishing houses

  • One copy of any publication of any section of the University (two should normally be donated to the Library)
  • One copy of all items published by the Wai-te-ata Press, Wai-te-ata Music Press, Victoria University Press

United States of America – the first 15 years of printing in the state

Alabama, 1825  Iowa, 1850  Oklahoma, 1850 
Alaska, 1880  Kansas, 1850  Oregon, 1860 
Arizona, 1865 Minnesota, 1865  South Dakota, 1870 
Arkansas, 1835 Missouri, 1825  Texas, 1825 
California, 1845  Montana, 1875 Utah, 1865 
Colorado, 1865 Nebraska, 1870  Washington, 1870 
Hawaii, 1890 (as pacific island)  Nevada, 1865   Wisconsin, 1845 
Idaho, 1855  New Mexico, 1850  Wyoming, 1875 



Format is not a major criterion, but may require additional consideration as per the table below:

Format Criteria
Archives and Manuscripts / Photographs / Ephemera  Storage should meet standard set by Archives New Zealand’s Storage Standard. Digital storage should meet standard for ‘Trusted Repository’. 
Artworks  Normally acquired as part of larger collection, e.g. Fildes – consider referral to Adam Art Gallery. 
Architectural plans / Engineering drawings  A large collection from a single firm is held in Architecture and Design Library. Future growth will require resource increase. Storage and handling issues. 
Artefacts   We could easily be awash in trophies, gowns, cricket bats and souvenir teddy bears. On the other hand there is no University Museum, considerable alumni engagement, and some artefacts may record unique information e.g. engraved trophies. Assess case by case, document items using archives system. 
Postcards  Depicting or produced by the University. 
Posters / Reproductions  Pertaining to Kelburn or other University locations. 
Oral histories Passive collection of some Departmental master tapes. Consider active collection of Victoria reminiscences, using volunteers. 
Philatelic  Stamps are not actively collected, but may come as part of archival collections. They may have monetary value and require security measures. 
Newspapers  Historic Wellington.  Actively collect Wellington ‘fringe’ and ethnic. [Need to clarify whether JCBR undertakes, or Kelburn Library]. 
Film, video  Master copies of some, viewing copies available in A-V Suite as appropriate.
Family histories (incl. mss)  Accept only where relate to prominent University figure. Offer elsewhere as appropriate. 
Digital formats  These resources have previously come as part of larger archival collections, e.g. computer magnetic tapes, floppy disks. Increasingly they include ‘born-digital’ material (e.g. ‘Turbine’; electronic files). In cases involving University archives, monitoring of Departmental storage may be required, in partnership with the Manager, Records Services.   Success in this area overall will depend on the establishment of a digital archive management system i.e. provision for storage of unprocessed original data. Improving access to this material via additional encoding is not addressed within this Statement.  Such a ‘digital library’ will require the support of the Library Technology Services. 



Special Materials are acquired by addition to an established collection, by donation, purchase or by relegation. Due to the need to respond to opportunities; for example auctions (the Bruce Mason papers), second-hand/antiquarian book catalogues (Australasian bookplates), donations, and offers subject to deadline (building demolition); allowance must be left for unplanned and significant expenditure.


The Rare Books Collection follows Library of Congress Classification where possible, with running numbers also used, e.g. Swiss Family Robinson Collection. Small collections may receive a name and running number as appropriate, e.g. the Roth Collection. The Archives and Manuscripts Collection follows archival classification guidelines.