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Procedure: Collections

Purpose

To set out the procedures for the recognition and management of the University’s collections as defined in the Collections Policy and the ANU Collections Guidelines.

This includes Australian and non-Australian First Nations Ancestors, objects and cultural material, historical objects, art and scientific specimens or samples.

Scope

This policy applies to all collection material, including:

  • University Collections (i.e., Collections that have had a Collection Management Plan formally recognised by the ANU Collections Advisory Group and approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation. This includes First Nations Ancestors, objects and cultural material, Research Collections, Heritage Collections, Teaching Collections and Art Collections);
  • Identified Collections (i.e. material that has been identified as potentially being significant, but is awaiting formal recognition through the ANU Collections Advisory Group);
  • Orphaned or legacy research material (i.e. research material – not currently included in an identified or University collection – deposited at the University from past student or academic research. The original collector is no longer at the University in an official capacity).

Definitions

For all relevant definitions, refer to the Collections Policy.

Procedure

Recognition of collections

  1. The ANU Collections Advisory Group is responsible for reviewing the Collection Management Plan (including a Significance Assessment) for each ‘identified collection’, and determining whether the collection should be recommended for recognition as a University Collection.
  2. The granting or removal of recognition of a collection will be decided by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation), acting with advice from the ANU Collections Advisory Group.

ANU Collections Advisory Group

  1. An ANU Collections Advisory Group, chaired by the Academic Director, Research Initiatives and Infrastructure, is established as per the Group’s Terms of Reference.
  2. The Collections Advisory Group provides advice to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) and has the responsibility to:
  1. Oversee, and promote compliance with, best practice conservation and management of Collections at ANU;
  2. Advise on implementation of the ANU Collections Policy;
  3. Recommend collections to be ‘recognised’ based on their assessment of significance;
  4. Review guidelines and procedures for the conservation, management and use of the University’s collections;
  5. Inform the University of relevant actions in collections conservation and management;
  6. Provide support to those in collection management roles across ANU;
  7. Provide advice on the management of, and issues related to, orphaned or legacy research material;
  8. Encourage an environment of collaboration and shared services between collections;
  9. Monitor and review performance of ANU Colleges and Service Divisions in collection conservation and management.

Ownership and responsibility

  1. Each College is responsible for the management and funding of their University Collections, identified collections, and orphaned or legacy research material, consistent with their strategic plan and the ANU Collections Policy and Guidelines.
  2. Each Service Division is responsible for the management and funding of their University Collections, identified collections, and orphaned or legacy research material, consistent with their strategic plan and the ANU Collections Policy and Guidelines.
  3. Colleges and Service Divisions are required to engage with the ANU First Nations Portfolio on the repatriation and management of Australian First Nations Ancestors, objects, and cultural material.
  4. The Research Initiative and Infrastructure Office works with College and Service Divisions and relevant cultural authorities to ensure the respectful management and repatriation of non-Australian Ancestors, objects and cultural material.
  5. Central support and coordination is available to assist Colleges and Service Divisions with the management of University Collections, identified collections and orphaned or legacy research material. If a College or Service Division finds that it cannot meet its responsibilities for a collection, the matter is referred to the ANU Collections Advisory Group for consideration of options, taking into account resourcing requirements and opportunities for deaccession, transfer and/or disposal.
  6. An annual report on the status of collections is prepared by the Senior Collections Advisor (Research Initiatives and Infrastructure Office) and is presented to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation).

Recognition of Collections

  1. Every University Collection recognized by the ANU Collections Advisory Group is required to have a Collection Management Plan (see the Guideline for Developing a Collection Management Plan for more information). The Plan is required to include:
  1. A Statement of Significance, summarizing how and why the collection is important;
  2. an identified ANU staff member (can be academic or professional staff employed by the College or Service Division housing the Collection) who is the key stakeholder for this Collection (Collection Stakeholder). This individual would have corporate knowledge about the collection, be the conduit between central Collection staff and the College or Service Division and be the spokesperson for this collection.
  3. In some instances, the key stakeholder for the collection may also be the Collection Manager. The Collection Manager is responsible for the management of the collection and its conservation and the facilitation of collection development, as well as research, teaching and engagement projects. If this role is in addition to other duties, it is documented appropriately in the individual’s Position Description, or through a Performance and Development Review process;
  4. Due Diligence and provenance history for the collection outlining potential risks with the collection or gaps in the provenance of the items;
  5. A Collection Development Strategy and Acquisition Criteria, that aligns with the ANU Collections Acquisition Guidelines.
  6. Deaccession and Disposal Criteria that aligns with the ANU Collections Deaccession and Disposal Guidelines.
  7. a risk management and conservation plan identifying the potential risks to the conservation of the collection and the actions to be taken to minimise these risks;
  8. An activation and engagement strategy, outlining how the collection will be activated with strong focus on research, teaching and/or First Nations engagement outcomes;
  9. A resourcing strategy, outlining the area of the University that will be responsible for costs associated with the management, storage and use of the collection.
  10. an First Nations Repatriation, Object and Cultural Material Management and Engagement Strategy outlining the protocols and ethical considerations for managing collection material, including the requirement for consultation with appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons. Engagement and coordination with the ANU First Nations Portfolio is required;
  11. a Cultural Material Management and Engagement Strategy, outlining the protocols and ethical considerations for managing non-Australian cultural material within Collections;
  12. Links to relevant internal and external Code of Ethics that guides personnel working with the collection;

  1. Depending on the type or use of the collection, a Collection Management Plan may also contain (although it is not required):
  • a loans strategy – based on the ANU Collections Loans Guidelines - outlining the process for facilitating inward and outward loans and defining the required standards and documentation; and
  • a digitisation strategy, outlining a plan to digitise physical collection material to assist in preservation and/or facilitate increased access;
  • a data management strategy, outlining a plan for how to store and preserve digital collection data as well as ensure data access by identifying formats and hardware at risk of becoming obsolete;
  • a human biological material management strategy (excludes First Nations biological material as this will be covered in First Nations Repatriation, Objects and Cultural Material Management & Engagement Strategy), outlining the protocols and ethical considerations directing the management of collections that include human biological material;

Management and Activation of University Collections, identified collections and/or orphaned or legacy research material.

Every Collection (University collection, identified collections and/or orphaned or legacy research material) follows the processes outlined in the ANU Collection Guidelines. These Guidelines provide detailed information on:

  1. Acquisitions (including donations, purchases, exchanges and field collection)
  2. Deaccession and Disposal of Collection material
  3. Loans for exhibition and teaching (internal and external)
  4. Managing the use of Collections in Research
  5. Cataloguing Collections
  6. Conducting provenance research and due diligence checks into Collection material
  7. Responding to Restitution and Repatriation requests
  8. Disaster Management Planning.

Information

Printable version (PDF)
Title Collections
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_015607
Version
Purpose To set out the procedures for the recognition and management of collections of the University as defined in the Collections Policy.
Audience Affiliates, Alumni, Staff, Students
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Information Management
 
Effective Date 27 Apr 2023
Next Review Date 26 Apr 2028
 
Responsible Officer: Director, Research Initiatives and Infrastructure
Approved By: Vice-Chancellor
Contact Area Research Initiatives and Infrastructure
Authority: Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.

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