Collection Development Policy - Appendix E (Archives and Special Collections Policy)

A-1) University Archives & Special Collections -- Collection Management Policy

Effective Date: September 1, 2002        Date Last Revised: March 11, 2014

A-1.1) Purpose

The collection supports the teaching and research needs of the U.P.E.I. academic community in all subject areas where Prince Edward Island material is required, especially in the areas of humanities and social sciences. Specific strengths exist for History, Political Science, Public Administration, Literature in English, and Canadian Studies; in recent years, the University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian has also been working in close cooperation with the University's L.M. Montgomery Institute to develop special collections documenting the life and legacy of Lucy Maud Montgomery. In keeping with the Robertson Library’s commitment to serving the Island community at large, the University Archives & Special Collections are open to public use and support local historians, genealogists, and any others whose research needs require access to the collection.

A-1.2) Scope and Definitions 

By far the largest and most heavily-used component of the University Archives & Special Collections is the Prince Edward Island Collection, which has an institutional mandate to collection, preserve, and make available all published materials relating to Prince Edward Island. That said, the University Archives is an important and valued element of the unit's work, and selectively acquires, preserves, and makes available publications and records relating to U.P.E.I. (and its two forebears, Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan's University); the Library continues to encourage the University to establish a formalized recorded information management (RIM)-Archives program.

A-1.3) Collection Development Policy

A-1.3.1) History and Description
The Prince Edward Island Collection was established in 1971. A small number of books from the collections of St. Dunstan's University and Prince of Wales College formed the beginning of the collection. Funding of the collection was made possible by the transfer of the assets of the St. Dunstan’s University Alumni Association to the University of Prince Edward Island. The interest on this fund is now used to purchase and preserve many of the P.E.I. Collection materials. Additional funds required for P.E.I. Collection development are drawn from the Robertson Library’s Acquisitions budget.

The collection includes a book and periodical component containing more than 12,000 volumes. Over 10,000 of these are catalogued and available through the Robertson Library catalogue. Several thousand items (pamphlets, individual copies of journal and magazine articles, ephemera etc.) are contained in vertical files and are accessible only through the subject and author card catalogues, although an abortive project to provide access to the vertical file through the Library’s on-line catalogue was being revived at date of last revision. The card catalogues also provide indexing of Prince Edward Island periodicals, although efforts are now being made to develop an on-line database for this service; as an interim solution, periodical indexing is done using the Library’s on-line catalogue.

P.E.I. Collection materials have been collected on the basis of their being about P.E.I., written by Island authors, or published on P.E.I.  Materials published on P.E.I. or written by an Island resident that  have no P.E.I.-related content will be selected on a case-by-case basis, judged on the research value to the collection. Criteria will include whether the author lives or lived in the province for a substantial period (for the most part this may not include summer residents), and/or the author’s having been born or having lived here being reflected or acknowledged in their works, or whether they continue to recognize their P.E.I. ancestry and, again, whether this is reflected in their works. If an author lived here only temporarily but has made a contribution to Prince Edward Island life or letters their work will be considered for the collection. 

The collection also consists of maps and charts, some of which are framed and on display throughout the Library. A large collection of current and historical newspapers, and monographs and theses on microfilm and microfiche are currently housed in the Library’s Microforms area, adjacent to Special Collections. Archival and manuscript material is not actively collected.

The collection’s strength lies in its comprehensiveness and public access. Several other local library or archives collections duplicate some of the P.E.I. Collection’s holdings but no other collection in the province has the breadth of subject, time period coverage, and formats of materials all relating to P.E.I., or provides as many hours of public access. Unique and/or particular strengths are in local newspaper and periodical article access; theses (Honours, Masters and Doctoral) on P.E.I. topics; the extensive collection of provincial government documents and reports, including legislative materials; materials on Island authors such as Lucy Maud Montgomery; materials on the Confederation Bridge; and the collection of historical P.E.I. newspapers. The collection’s primary clientele are the students and faculty of U.P.E.I., but the collection’s mandate includes serving the larger local, national, and international research communities.

A-1.3.2) Level of Collecting
The material is collected at Level 5. This is the Comprehensive Level where “a collection in which a library endeavours as far as it is reasonably possible to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other applicable formats) in all applicable languages for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collection intensity is one that maintains a “special collection”; the aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness. Older material is retained for historical research with active preservation efforts.”

A-1.3.3) Selector
University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian
[referred to as “Prince Edward Island Collection Librarian,” 1971-1999]
    Simon Lloyd: July 1999 -
    Sharon Clark: August 1997, April 1998 - June 1999
    Nichola Cleaveland: September 1997 - April 1998   
    Frank Pigot: 1971 - June 1997

A-1.3.4) Resource sharing arrangements or limitations
P.E.I. Collection materials are designated as library use only. Materials are not loaned from the collection.  An exception to this is that materials are sometimes loaned to other institutions (Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Beaconsfield Historic House) for special displays when the material can not be obtained elsewhere but under the condition that the material can be recalled and returned in a reasonable time period (usually 24 or 48 hours). These special display loans are done on a request-by-request basis and materials will be loaned at the discretion of the P.E.I. Collections Librarian. Materials loaned on this basis must be insured by the lending institution and records must be kept of all transactions with applicable forms signed by officers of both institutions.

A-1.3.5) Chronological Coverage
All periods are collected.

A-1.3.6) Geographic Guidelines
Materials pertaining to the province of Prince Edward Island are collected as well as some
regional and national materials which incorporate significant or unique P.E.I. content. Regional may be defined as the Atlantic or Maritime region of Canada or the Atlantic coastal region including the New England states.

A-1.3.7) Languages
Primarily English with French and other languages represented. Not all editions of works translated into other languages will necessarily be collected, although a representative sampling may be acquired.

A-1.3.8) Formats
Formats include printed materials; photocopies; ephemera; maps; videocassettes; cd-roms; sound cassettes; phonograph LPs; microfilm; and microfiche. Web sites and other digital content residing on non-University servers may also be catalogued as part of the P.E.I. Collection, although existing resources do not permit the archiving of this content.

A-1.3.9) Multiple Copies
Although multiple copies are not selected according to the library’s general collection policy, the P.E.I. Collection acquires at least two (2) copies of all monograph titles, in accordance with its Preservation Policy (see Policy section A-1.4).

Up to two (2) additional copies may be acquired of a new title where an exceptionally high level of interest and use is anticipated, or, retroactively, of an older title which has attracted substantial interest and use. These copies typically will be shelved in the Library’s circulating and/or Reference collections.

A-1.3.10) Donations/Gifts
Donations to the collection are encouraged. They will be evaluated for inclusion following the Library’s donation policy, with some modifications, including:

  • Duplicates of existing P.E.I. collection titles may be accepted based on the condition of the Library’s existing copy or copies; on the uniqueness of the donated edition, or because of other qualities which may make it rare or valuable for research in the area of P.E.I. studies; or duplicates of P.E.I. Collection items may be accepted and added to the general circulating collection
  • Materials in poor condition which according to the general donation policy might not be accepted could be strongly considered for inclusion in the P.E.I. Collection if they are unique items and if it is judged that appropriate storage and conservation applications are available to make the item accessible to researchers in a reasonable amount of time and under reasonable conditions
  • Restrictions requested by the donor may result in the material not being accepted if the extent and terms of the restrictions will impose unreasonable limitations on access to the material.

 A-1.3.11) Relation to other Collections Outside of U.P.E.I.
Decisions to acquire certain materials may be influenced by the holdings and collection
policies of other provincial collections. The P.E.I. Collection holdings do overlap with that of other libraries and archives. Examples follow.

  • P.E.I. Public Archives and Records Office (PARO) maintains the essential primary records for the provincial government, courts, and commissions as well as records from the private sector deemed to have provincial significance. “Books or published materials are not generally acquired...” (PARO Acquisition Policy 1990). The P.E.I. Collection does not actively collect documents that may better fit the Archives mandate as set forth in the Archives and Records Act (Statutes of P.E.I. 2001 Cap. 28), though some such primary records available on microfilm or microfiche have been obtained and some photocopies have also been made. Donations of manuscript documents and other archival material may be considered for the P.E.I. Collection, but prospective donors of such material will normally be referred to the PARO or another archival repository with a mandate pertinent to the material’s provenance.
    The Library’s holdings of P.E.I. newspapers on microfilm almost completely duplicates that of the P.E.I. Public Archives collection. The P.E.I. Collection does acquire family history monographs and other publications relevant to genealogy, but does not attempt to duplicate the extensive genealogical resources of the P.E.I. Archives. Additional information on PARO’s services and holdings is found at their web site (
  • Confederation Centre Public Library - P.E.I. Collection duplicates some monographs, pamphlets and ephemeral material of Robertson Library’s P.E.I. Collection. The Robertson Library P.E.I. Collection is collected more broadly and extensively than CCPL. Most notably, Robertson Library’s collection contains most provincial legislative material and government documents as well as some federal government document material pertaining to P.EI. not held in CCPL’s P.E.I. Collection. CCPL does have local newspaper indexing for the time period (approximately) 1960 -1980, but this card catalogue is not available for public use, LC subject headings were not applied, and there is no automated access for staff or public. The CCPL P.E.I. collection does not materials on the sole criteria of their having been “published on P.E.I.” and is very selective concerning non-fiction works written by Prince Edward Island authors.
  • Government Services Library in the Jones Building, Kent Street, Charlottetown, is part of the provincial public library system. The library’s holdings duplicate many of the P.E.I.’s Collection’s government publications holdings (both provincial and federal). Access is through an on-line catalogue for most of the provincial reports though not all annual reports and legislative materials are catalogued. The hours of access are Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 5:00 (winter) or 8:00 - 4:00 (summer).
  • The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada- Crops and Livestock Research Centre Library, University Ave., Charlottetown, contains extensive federal government reports with research pertaining to P.E.I.. The P.E.I. Collection does not attempt to duplicate these holdings.

A-1.4) Preservation and Retention Policy

Recognizing that the P.EI. Collection has a unique and enduring significance to the mission and mandate of the Library and University and the University, the Library is committed to preserving all its resources in the best condition possible, for as long as possible. This policy introduces the practices undertaken to achieve this preservation. For detailed direction on the guidelines and procedures to be applied to P.E.I. Collection resources, consult section B.3 (Preservation Services) of this manual.

All P.E.I. Collection materials, except for microforms and other access duplicates, are kept in the secure, climate-controlled Special Collections area of the Robertson Library,  which only Library personnel may enter. Library patrons request P.E.I. Collection items for retrieval by Special Collections staff. Patrons wishing to browse the Special Collections shelves because of a particular research need may do so only if accompanied by Special Collections staff.

Although multiple copies are not selected according to the Library’s general collection development, the P.E.I. Collection acquires at least two (2) copies of all monograph titles, in accordance with its Preservation Policy (see Manual section A-1.4).

  •  The first copy is for regular in-Library use by patrons. Books, therefore, are typically re-bound in high-grade library buckram (unless the original binding is of exceptional quality), and are stamped, labelled, and security-taped in the manner of all other library books. Non-book materials may also be provided with more durable re-housing, if required
  •  The second copy is preserved in its original condition (as much as possible). It is not re-bound/re-housed, stamped, labelled, or security-taped, and is made available for use only by special request and under the direct supervision of Special Collections staff. Acid-free inserts are placed in materials at time of shelving, and are used for the call number label, bar-code label, notation of the database control number for the book in the Library’s OPAC, and Library property stamp (and book plate, where required).Custom book boxes or other containers may also be made for exceptionally valuable, rare, and/or fragile titles.

A-1.5) Further Information

Contact the Special Collections Librarian at:

Telephone - (902) 566-0536 / Telefax - (902) 628-4305

Electronic Mail -

Post - Special Collections, Robertson Library
          University of Prince Edward Island
          550 University Avenue,
          Charlottetown, PE    C1A 4P3

A-1.6) Policy Review

This policy is subject to updating and amendment on an on-going, as-needed basis, and the Special Collections Librarian shall initiate a comprehensive review of the policy every three years, in consultation with Library faculty and the University Librarian.