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Collection Development Policy
Genealogical Forum of Oregon, Inc.
Adopted 26 November 2012

Purpose of the Policy
The purpose of the GFO Collection Development Policy is to provide guidelines for selecting, accepting, managing, and withdrawing materials, and to guide long-range planning and resource allocation.

Mission Statement
The mission of the GFO Library is to provide materials and services emphasizing methodology, historical context and genealogical information to help GFO members and visitors meet their genealogical research needs.

Within the limitations of available budget and space, the GFO Library pursues the following objectives:

  • To serve as a state and regional resource emphasizing but not geographically limited to Oregon, Pacific Northwest, and North American genealogical research, complementing the holdings of the Oregon Historical Society;
  • To provide convenient access to a broad range of current and useful historical resources for genealogical research in the most serviceable forms and formats, including print, manuscripts, maps, microforms, and electronic and online resources; materials duplicating content readily available online or otherwise may not be selected or maintained in physical formats when considerations of cost or space outweigh their convenience for the Library collection;
  • To help identify and satisfy specific research needs, based on input from Library users, through acquisition or referral.

The GFO will accept donations of materials of genealogical significance with the understanding that such materials may be added to the GFO Library collections, offered free to other interested repositories or to members, sold, traded, or discarded as deemed appropriate.

Selection Process
Based on this Policy and adopted Selection Procedures, the Library Committee has the final responsibility for selection and withdrawal of materials.


Selection Procedures
Genealogical Forum of Oregon Library
Adopted 26 November 2012

General Considerations
The GFO Library seeks within the limitations of available budget and space to collect and retain in good condition an optimal selection of high quality materials most useful for the genealogical research of the Forum membership and visitors. Quality considerations include currency or continuing usefulness, scope and applicability to varying numbers of researchers, completeness, accuracy, authoritativeness, clarity, organization, documentation, indexing, durability, and condition. Items with unique useful content will be preferred over those which may be largely duplicative of other items in the collection or of resources otherwise readily available; cost and space needs will be balanced against the usefulness and convenience of duplication in the GFO Library. Thus important multi-volume works or other materials less likely to be purchased by individual researchers because of their cost will be given special consideration, whereas resources known to be freely available on the Internet or otherwise may not be duplicated if their cost or space requirements outweigh their usefulness in this Library.

Most items of a primarily reference nature or providing specific information will not circulate from the Library and will be designated as Reserved. Those items of a more discursive or narrative nature, especially if unindexed or otherwise not organized in such a way as to enable quick location of specific information, may be allowed to circulate to members. Duplicate copies of especially useful Reserved items may also be selected for circulation as space permits.

Selected materials not suitable for shelving with the book collection may be placed in vertical files, held in storage, or digitized.

Priority of Materials
Preference is given to materials, regardless of media format, in the general order of the following categories, recognizing that items of greater scope or importance and/or of higher quality in a lower category may be preferred over some of lesser scope, importance and/or quality in a higher category. Items will be selected within each category consistent with the general considerations above.

Category A Materials
Standard resources useful for learning genealogical methodology and for organizing and pursuing research in and beyond the GFO collection, including, but not limited to:

  • Research guides and finding aids
  • Bibliographies, record inventories, directories and holdings lists of repositories with genealogical or historical collections
  • Atlases, maps, gazetteers and place name guides
  • Periodicals with genealogical content and their indexes

Category B Materials
Items essential for identifying and distinguishing specific individuals, reconstructing families and linking them from one generation to the next, including but not limited to:

  • Civil and church vital records
  • Other records related to deaths
  • Family Bible record extracts
  • Census records or their substitutes
  • Compiled genealogies
  • Local histories and collective biography
  • Military and selective service records
  • Court records
  • Land and property records
  • Tax lists
  • Passenger lists and migration records
  • Naturalization and citizenship records
  • Ethnic and national group records and histories with useful background
  • Newspaper extracts
  • City directories
  • Voting records

Category C Materials - United States only
These items assist the researcher in reconstructing families and support linkage of families, writing family histories, compiling family records, and extended research. They will seldom be purchased by the Library, but may be retained on a selective basis if donated.

  • General or social histories
  • Published collected or individual biographies, autobiographies, journals, or other accounts that contain substantial genealogical information
  • Organized genealogical collections such as collections of family group records, pedigree charts, or unpublished compiled genealogies
  • Hereditary and lineage society records of qualifying ancestors
  • Historical periodicals and their indexes

Category D Materials - Pacific Northwest only
These items, like those in Category B, while useful for supporting specific genealogical research, are less likely to be useful for large numbers of users outside their region. They will seldom be purchased by the Library, but if they pertain to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho will be selectively retained when donated.

  • Church, academic, occupational, social, organizational, and institutional histories and directories
  • Business and mercantile records
  • University, college, or school records, histories, yearbooks and alumni directories, or school district records
  • Historical fiction if particularly useful for historical background

Category E Materials
Items useful only for general background or for a very limited number of researchers. They will not be purchased by the Library but may be retained on a highly selective basis if donated.

  • Surname origin books
  • Peerage, baronage, knighthood, gentry, and royal lines
  • Heraldry
  • National and international history, religious, economic, or other specialized history with little local or individual treatment

Category F Materials
These items, because of the special skills needed to manage them or aid in their use and preservation, will not be purchased and will seldom be retained by the Library. Prospective donors who are concerned that specific items be retained may be referred to a more suitable repository for these or other materials the GFO would not choose to keep.

  • Non-English materials, excepting vital records, maps, gazetteers, finding aids, or other materials that English speakers may be able to interpret or use successfully
  • Unorganized or undocumented genealogical collections
  • Rare books
  • Items in poor condition, incomplete, or otherwise defective and not easily repaired or made suitable for the collection

Collection Maintenance
The Library staff will monitor the materials collection on an ongoing basis for replacement or discard. Damaged, worn, superseded, or outdated materials may be routinely replaced by new or better copies, by updated or expanded editions, or by otherwise superior selections with similar or broader content. Materials deemed to no longer meet the needs of the GFO membership or of the Library collection may be discarded from the collection without replacement.

You can download the GFO Collection Development Policy (PDF) here.