Missouri Digital Heritage :: Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

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The Missouri Digital Heritage (MDH) website is sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of State and is co-managed by the Missouri State Archivist and the Missouri State Librarian.

The Missouri State Archives (MSA) and Missouri State Library (MOSL) work with Missouri records repositories and libraries to facilitate preservation, digitization, and access to locally held collections of historical significance. These collections will be uploaded to the MDH website as institutional and other resources (such as the federal LSTA grant program, administered by the Missouri State Library) allow.

Libraries and cultural institutions contributing content shall retain possession of the original records. Collections may reside on the MDH managed servers or remain hosted by the local institutions, with links from and to the MDH website. MDH may keep copies of digitized files for continuity of the project, but will not keep preservation files.

In order to guide the scope of digitized materials made accessible to Missourians through the MDH website, the following policy statements have been established:

Scope and Focus

The MDH project team digitizes materials of high cultural and historic value to the state of Missouri. These historical materials are generally 10 years and older unless otherwise evaluated by State Librarian and State Archivist for inclusion. The site focuses on material of interest to general and family historians, researchers and students. Material of more general interest is included as resources allow. Any physical format suitable for digitizing may be included. Items may include, but are not limited to, state and local government records, county and other published histories, personal papers, maps and photographs. MDH contains materials related to following topics:

  • Archaeology and anthropology
  • Art, architecture, literature, music and theater
  • Business, industry and agriculture
  • Cultures and communities
  • Education
  • Exploration and settlement
  • Genealogy
  • Government and politics
  • Military and conflicts
  • History
  • Recreation and tourism
  • Science and nature
  • Transportation

Special focus is given to major events and milestones affecting the residents of Missouri. Attempts are made to organize collective digitization efforts or projects in advance of the significant anniversaries of the event or events. Major new areas of recruitment will be publicized to the cultural heritage community.

Content Recruitment

Historical material will be sought for digitization by the MDH team, which includes the Digitization Consultant (DC) and Archives and Local Records staff. Such recruitment will be accomplished through pre-arranged site visits, networking and other established channels of communication, as well as by serendipitous discovery.

Content also will be added to the MDH web site through the LSTA Digitization Grant program. While the rules for awarding and managing grant projects will be managed by MOSL staff, selection priorities will dovetail where possible with those of the MDH site as a whole and will follow the general principles outlined in this document.

Content may be identified through the work of the Local Records’ field archivist team. Possible MDH content under the purview of the local records program will continue to be brought into the State Archives through established workflow. MSA staff will notify the DC of potential content for consideration.

Manuscript materials held by private citizens, or in private collections inaccessible to researchers, will be evaluated for authenticity and historical significance on a case-by-case basis. Unsolicited content contributed by outside institutions will undergo the established selection process.

Effective channels of communication between all MSA and MOSL staff involved in outreach and/or field work will be established to ensure coordination of effort.

Selection and Prioritization

The Missouri State Librarian and the Missouri State Archivist will jointly determine the appropriateness of identified collections for inclusion in MDH. They will prioritize projects based on available imaging center scanning resources and the project workloads of the Digitization Consultant, Processing Archivist, and other staff.

Materials that may be considered by some to be offensive will be reviewed before publishing on the site.


Materials mounted on the MDH website will be clearly copyright-free and in the public domain. Any exception will have the intellectual property rights and any reproduction permissions clearly stated with the image or images. The Secretary of State’s Office will be held harmless for any breach of use by the general public.


Photographs of identifiable individuals may be mounted on MDH without the written permission of the subject, provided the image would not be considered offensive or an invasion of privacy to a reasonable person.


This policy will be reviewed periodically by the Missouri State Librarian and Missouri State Archivist, and updated jointly as needed.