Collections development statement

The LSHTM Archives Service aims to make the School’s collections available for consultation and research in line with the LAS mission which is to:

To provide excellent information-related services, resources and support to the School in pursuit of its mission to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide.

The Collections Development Statement is intended to guide the acquisition, retention and disposal of archival material. This document aims to provide guidance so that consistency and continuity are achieved in the management of the archive collections. 

The Collections Development Statement is intended to sustain a developing and coherent research collection which has a strong focus on public and global health and ensures that the Archives Service is contributing to the School’s mission.


The LSHTM Archives Service was established in 2002 when the first professional archivist was employed. One of the first activities for the archivist was to survey and appraise the collections, none of which were catalogued and stored to archival standards. It was important to find out more about the administration and impact of the School and its work in order to understand the strengths of the existing collections and future collections.

Collection strengths

These include:

  • Malaria research
  • History of tropical disease such as Ebola, sleeping sickness, cholera
  • HIV/AIDS including UK and European promotional material
  • Nutrition research
  • Pioneers of tropical medicine such as Sir Ronald Ross, Sir Patrick Manson, Baron Peter Piot
  • Maps
  • Whitehall Study

The LSHTM Archives Service usually acquires material from the following sources:

  • Current staff members
  • Former staff members
  • Family members of former staff or students
  • Members of the public who hold material relating to tropical medicine or public health
  • Collections held in other repositories such as the Wellcome Library
  • Records held in the Records Management Service

All analogue and digital material is assessed in relation to the LAS Collections Management policy, this states that the Archives Service will only accept material that relates directly to the School and its history. The Archives Service is not a collecting repository and will not accept general material on the history of tropical medicine and public health. In these circumstances, staff should do their best to identify other repositories that may be best placed to accept this material for example the Wellcome Library or the institution where the individual studied.

In special cases, the accession of material relating to the history of tropical medicine and public health, which complements the existing collections, may be considered. This is at the discretion of the Archivist & Records Manager, and is subject to the limitations of space, time and resources.

The Archival Selection Criteria document is a tool used in assessing the relevance of material. This sets out how the records should be appraised in terms of providing evidence of what the institution has done and why, what it and its staff and students have achieved, and of its impact locally and in the wider world.

When deciding whether to accept a paper based collection, space and resources are taken into consideration. External funding sources funding such as the Wellcome Trust’s Research Resources in Medical History scheme or other funding initiatives are also considered at this time. The Archives Service reserves the right to decline material that cannot be accessed or preserved at reasonable cost.

Gifts of archival material

There are general conditions laid down for all donations of material:

  • All material must come from a bona fide source and should be able to demonstrate provenance
  • The donor must have the authority to gift the material
  • All material must meet the terms in the gift agreement
  • The donor must sign the gift agreement
  • There should be not unnecessary restrictions on access or availability for research
  • If there are parts of the collection that do not match the Archival Selection Criteria, these will be offered back to the depositor, offered to another institution, or disposed of. This is also the case with duplicate material.
  • There should be no stipulations on storage, conservation, preservation or cataloguing or use which do not conform to the Archives Service available resources or strategic aims.

The Archives Service does not accept accessions on deposit or loan, it only accepts gifts. This is because the Archives Service does not have the resources to appraise, catalogue, store and manage material that may be returned to the owner in the future.

The Archives Service does not have a budget to purchase archive material.

Digital material

Digital material will be collected in the same subject areas as outlined above and stored securely in an appropriate digital repository. Separate procedures for the ingest of born-digital material have been created and a draft digital preservation policy is in development. The management of born digital and digitised material is an objective for the service in the LAS Operational Plan 2017/18.

The Archives Service is committed to working with donors of digital material to facilitate its long-term preservation and to provide access for researchers.

Active collecting & subject development

The Archives Service does not, at present, actively solicit deposits of archive material, although it does respond positively to offers of material in the collecting areas as outlined above.

It is clearly not possible, due to the unique nature of archives and the generally non-routine nature of their survival, to undertake a systematic collecting process in the same way that a library might. However, there are general areas where we might seek to build upon existing strengths or develop certain subject areas.

The Archives Service will therefore continue to collect material in areas of strength, such as tropical medicine; public health; HIV/AIDS and collections related in some way to the School.

Implementation & review

This Collections Development Statement will be communicated to LAS staff, to interested parties within LSHTM, and to external agencies and others with an interest in its context on demand. It will be made available to the public via the Archives web pages.

The Collections Development Statement will be reviewed every two years by the LAS Management Team. This does not preclude earlier review should internal or external development warrant it.

Useful sources

Policies and sources of advice consulted during the drafting of this Access Statement include:

King’s College London, Archives Collection Development Policy
UCL Institute of Education Archives Collection Development Policy

Archivist & Records Manager
July 2017