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New Resource Supporting Voluntary Validation of WEST Bronze Archives

WEST is pleased to announce new Guidelines for Voluntary Validation of WEST Bronze Archives! These guidelines are the product of interviews with several WEST member institutions to research their workflows transferring materials into storage (including physical handling and record management) and are intended to help members identify workflows in their own libraries that mirror WEST’s validation standards for Silver and/or Gold Archives. These guidelines are optimally deployed for materials housed in closed-access storage.

WEST requires physical validation of materials archived at the Silver and Gold level, and does not require validation of materials archived at the Bronze level. However, WEST has learned over the years that some Bronze Archive Holders subject materials to physical validation as a matter of routine in certain standard collection management workflows, essentially making them ‘elevated by stealth’ by confirming what materials are held. These activities are highly valuable not only to the local institution but to the wider shared print community, and serve to make the WEST archives more trustworthy. 

While WEST does not require that these actions be performed or that, if taken, information about these actions be added to disclosure records, Archivers that do voluntarily validate their Bronze materials in storage are highly encouraged to record this in their disclosure records to support public understanding about the state of the WEST archives. 

The new guidelines are intended to support Archiver identification of workflows where they may be validating their Bronze materials in storage and to encourage best practices for disclosure of this valuable voluntary work.

Many thanks to the WEST members that shared their expertise to support drafting these guidelines, and to those that provided testing and feedback. Please direct any questions about these new guidelines to WEST Analyst Anna Striker (