Selection Criteria

State Library’s collections are assessed according to three broad criteria: content, usage and viability. This common approach to assessment allows a comprehensive view across all collections, allowing State Library to be deliberate and consistent in making collection decisions.
These criteria inform the full scope of collection management tasks including selection, description, preservation, storage, digitisation, access, engagement and deselection. To gauge the level of value in undertaking any content-related activity, these three criteria must be considered collectively and in conjunction with the collection’s intended purpose.
Each collection will require different factors to be taken into consideration. For example, Memory Collections, which provide a documentary record of Queensland and are preserved long-term, have less focus on high, immediate usage. An Information Collection, for example a subscription to a database, however, may need to demonstrate high levels of current usage to justify its renewal.


An assessment of content looks at beneficial or important qualities of an item or collection. The following factors may contribute to that overall assessment:

  • Level of historical significance
  • Level of cultural significance
  • Provenance
  • Uniqueness – availability of content available through other institutions
  • Representation – ability to provide new information above what is currently in the collection
  • Quality of information
  • Currency of information
  • Documentary value
  • Research value
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Recreational value

Usage is a key consideration for making decisions around State Library’s collections. The following factors contribute to determining the extent of an item’s benefit to users:

  • Level of current usage
  • Level of anticipated usage
  • Interpretive potential for engagement (physical and online)
  • Ability to meet needs of target audiences
  • Alignment with broader agendas or strategies
  • Potential for re-use and creation of new knowledge

In making any collection decision, consideration must be given to the following issues that may impact the State Library’s ability to make that item accessible. They may include:

  • Physical condition
  • Copyright status
  • Access restrictions that limit access, usage and engagement opportunities
  • Level of description required
  • Level of arrangement and ordering required
  • Preservation requirements (physical and digital)
  • Storage requirements (physical and digital)
  • Cost of acquisition and maintenance


State Library is committed to engaging users through its collections. Different approaches to engage users will apply to each collection category and be driven by the desired outcomes. This will acknowledge the varying depths of engagement possible: from users simply viewing collection items through to intensive research and re-use of the collection to create new knowledge. This engagement is also only possible when collections are discoverable and accessible to users.

Content Strategy 2017
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