This article describes the selection process and theory behind the "great collections" approach to microfilming books. The author argues that this approach will not work for archival materials because: (1) there is no methodology to identify exceptionally strong collections; (2) archival collecting has not been the product of ongoing collaboration with subject specialists, nor are collections periodically reappraised; and (3) few archives have undertaken systematic analysis of their collections to assess their strengths and weaknesses. The author calls for the development of a selection methodology that identifies both the most endangered and the most significant documentary records in order to establish priorities for preserving them. Selection for preservation must be built into every aspect of a repository's collections management, from the initial decision to acquire a collection onwards.

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